Erin Andrews is talking about how she handled her emotional well-being during her journey with cervical cancer in 2016, saying she could have responded to it in a healthier way.
“I didn’t really handle it which is probably the best way I could have,” said the Fox Sports broadcaster in an interview for Selena Gomez’s newsletter Wondermind when considering the diagnosis. “I only know a really small group of people. And I didn’t even know my coworkers, who are really like family to me.”
Before going public with the news of her health journey in January 2017, Andrews remained tight-lipped about what she was doing. And instead of allowing herself to heal from the emotional and physical toll of the doctor’s visits and surgeries that resulted, she relied heavily on the few people who experienced the situation to be strong on her son as she tries to continue with her life as usual.
“When it all happened, I went into the state of mind I was in week three of the football season, [and because Fox was covering] the Super Bowl that year, I didn’t want to deal with it mentally at all. Because, for me, doing football – and I was also hosting Dancing with the Stars at the time – it was too important to me,” she explained. “I was so obsessed with not losing a game, not showing any weakness in it, and not losing anything. Dancing with the Stars. So I kind of got my family and friends to deal with it, even though I was going through the surgeries.”
In a piece for Sports Illustrated who documented her experience with the diagnosis and the surgeries that eventually allowed her to be cancer-free, Andrews recalled that he emphasized the importance of being able to do her job while rotating her into her first operating room. “I’m not watching any football games at home. This is [Fox’s] A Super Bowl year, and I don’t miss the Super Bowl,” she said at the time. And five days after that surgery, she worked the sidelines of the Packers-Cowboys game at Lambeau Field.
Ultimately, the weakness she feared people would see when she revealed the truth of her situation was a clear sign of Andrews’ strength. She even had the opportunity to help others become more aware of their cervical health.
“I knew it when we told that story [of my diagnosis], it was going to blow up, and then the morning it was released, it was on every morning show. When they were reporting [on the] With the morning shows, they linked the numbers and stats on how many women are suffering from cervical cancer and why it is so important to get checked. I pride myself on being vocal about it, even though it’s your reproductive system, it’s your vagina. Who wants to talk about that in public?” she shared with him Wondermind. “I work in a field where it’s a ton of men, and I had a lot of people coming up to me just to thank me because they went and told their mothers, their aunts, their sisters, their wives, their cousins go check.”
Even after that experience, Andrews admitted that she finds it difficult to maintain a balance between her professional and personal work. She also had difficulty prioritizing her mental health or finding ways to relieve her anxiety.
“I tend to hoard it when I start thinking about something that worries me,” she said. “I’m not one to sit there and be like, ‘You know what? I usually beat him to death [laughs]. That goes for a lot of things in my life. So I’m trying to work hard on breathing positive and letting the negativity out.”
And while the 44-year-old’s goal is to learn to “not take my feelings away,” she chooses to take advantage of what she knows will make her happy.
“I try to work on my breathing. This is something I started last year. I’ll turn on a meditation app and try to relax like that. [And] if it’s not the middle of the night, how do I try to work on my mental health every day [is] working out,” she said. “It really helps my mental health. I mean, my husband always says you can tell when I’ve worked out ’cause my mood has improved. It is similar to the Legally blonde comment on happy people.”
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