Erin Andrews reveals how cervical cancer battle actually strengthened her relationship (Exclusive)
Now almost two-and-a-half-years later and cancer free, the sportscaster is opening up about her highs and lows, her family's support and how this journey strengthened her relationship with her husband, hockey pro Jarrett Stroll.
"I get really emotional about it," Andrews, 40, told ET's Deidre Behar earlier this week. "My family has been through so much with everything that I've been through in my life, and it's just like, they need a break. My husband, that was a lot to deal with, and I don't really like dealing with the things like this in my life. I want to talk about next year's Super Bowl and Dancing With the Stars and the fall season, and everything like that. It's a lot but, to be honest with you, it could've been a lot worse and it could've gone a different way. So thankfully it didn't and thankfully I went and got tested."
Andrews was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September of 2016. She didn't share the devastating news until five months later, in January, when she opened up about keeping her diagnosis a secret.
'"Uh, what?' That was what went through my mind," she recalled about learning of her diagnosis. "It was football season and when you hear from your doctor on a Saturday it's not good. It's like, 'Oh boy what's this text coming in?' I think a whole numbness went all over my body. I couldn't feel my arms for a hot second, I ran out of the conference room I was in, took the call, got my family on it, and I was just like, 'What are you saying?' I do remember saying that to my gyno at the time, saying, 'What am I supposed to tell my family?'"
"[My] initial [reaction was] shock, fear, crying, [thinking], 'Does this mean I'm not going to work this year?' We had the Super Bowl that year, I want to do the Super Bowl, I have Dancing With the Stars.' But then it went into problem solving. How do we fix this? How do we take care of this and fast?," she said.
Even while having two surgeries, Andrews was determined to get right back to work. Her family was always there right by her side, making sure that she was healthy and not overworking herself.
"The coolest part about it is, my husband is an athlete and I love the fact that he's so competitive, and he thinks of it as an athlete. As I remember, I'm on the couch and my first surgery didn't go well," she retold the story. "I was just bawling my brains out and I had to get on a red eye flight that night to Green Bay because I wasn't going to miss my sit-down interview with Jordy Nelson, and I wasn't going to miss Dallas at Green Bay. I was screaming, crying, and I remember my husband being like, 'It's OK babe, we got this. We're going to beat this. We got this.'"
"He just went into competitive mode, which I love so much about him," she continued. "I think if anything it got us stronger. He went to a lot of doctors' meeting, saw a lot of diagrams and sat there. And this is a guy who cares about winning face-offs and winning penalty kills and so forth, and he was like, 'We got this, we got this.' It made conversations about having babies very real and candid for him and our life and everything. So he was amazing."
While the couple is holding off on expanding their family at this moment, they are planning to have kids in the future. Meanwhile, Andrews expressed that "it feels great" to be cancer free, but she still gets worried about what could happen in the future.
"The thought of going for my six-month checkup is very frightening," she admitted. "But what feels better about the whole thing is [that] now I've decided to be public about the whole thing and decided to share my story. I'm a voice for a disease, for a cancer, that wasn't being talked about at all."
As far as what she's learned about herself through this difficult process doesn’t actually pertain to herself, instead, she learned how "amazing" the people around her are.
"I'll get choked up about this, [the people around me] they're so amazing," she emotionally stated. "Even the men in my life that I just work with, they're my coworkers and they're big, strong, retired football players. I'll be on the field during pregame and guys will come up to me and be like, 'How are you feeling, you good?' [They'll say] 'my mom got tested' or 'my mom just did this.'"
Now, more than ever, Andrews encourages all women to go to the doctor, get a Pap test and HPV test to screen for cervical cancer.
"The message we want to get out to women is: They have to go get tested," she firmly stated. "The stats are insane and they're shocking, and they don't need to be this way. But every two hours a female dies of cervical cancer. We've got to change that."