Would you take such aggressive action if you were diagnosed?
Samantha Harris recently learned that she has breast cancer, but she's going to take it lying down. Well, technically she is, but only for long enough to undergo a double mastectomy. So she's metaphorically not taking it lying down.
The Entertainment Tonight correspondent and former Dancing With the Stars co-host recently sat down with ET's Brooke Anderson to talk about what it was like to be diagnosed, how it changes her mothering, and her plans for the future.
The 40-year-old entertainment reporter decided to undergo the drastic surgery instead of opting for a second lumpectomy with radiation. She's not going to take any chances! The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday April 9.
It's been a journey to get to that decision point though. In fact, Harris admits she didn't even understand she'd be diagnosed at first.
"The realization sort of overtook me, my eyes started to well up from tears when I was trying to keep myself calm because I thought the most important thing --- was that I needed to focus and listen to what they were saying," she said. "I went back for the results of the pathology and I was by myself because there was nothing to worry about or so I thought."
"It's not like in the movies where they sit you down across a table in their office and say, 'Well, you have cancer ... it was these wonderful surgeons [who] started drawing diagrams and talking as I was on the exam table listening to what they were saying, it dawned on me without them coming right out to say it."
But she soon realized she needed to "take control" of the illness for the sake of her family. She has two daughters with husband Michael Hess.
My daughters are three and six. All they're concerned about is to have mommy active, [to] be able to hold them, hug them, kiss them, be there, be present for everything. Having lost my dad when he was just 50, I was lucky because I was 22 and I'd had him through my whole adolescence.
No matter how positive of a diagnosis as I have, it doesn't keep the demons of fear from taking over your mind and your thought process and thinking about the girls and thinking about [how] my dad wasn't able to walk me down the aisle. I will be here to plan my daughters weddings and they better like the dress I pick.
Is that the mama lion spirit or what? It's true though, as moms, our children and our families lend us the strength and courage to get through some really difficult situations -- even cancer. I admire Harris for not messing around with this. She knows that being there to watch her girls grow up is more important than saving her breasts. Besides, once she pulls through, there's nothing wrong with reconstructive surgery to make them even better.
She has a great attitude about this, and is appreciative of all the support and well wishes. On Wednesday, she tweeted, "Thks for the well wishes, kindness & support. It means so much to me & my family! It's a tough road but I'm here to stand up & fight cancer."
Would you opt for the more difficult surgery if it meant you had a better chance at seeing your kids grow up?