Brooke Burke-Charvet: Cancer Was “Shocking & Very Scary”

Dancing with the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet shocked fans with her recent cancer scare. The mom-of-four kids – daughters Neriah, 12, Sierra, 10, Rain, 6, and son Shaya, 4 – is sharing her inspirational story of recovery, saying, “It reminded me how precious life is and how scary it is that something more powerful than you can come along and change things.”

Brooke opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about partnering with Kleenex brand to fight the flu season in a “sweet and thoughtful” way. She goes on to talk about her “shocking” thyroid cancer diagnosis and how she dealt with the “very scary” news. “Research and education helps downplay that fear,” she says. Continue reading Brooke’s inspirational story of recovery, and her best advice for families dealing with serious health conditions.

CBS: Tell us about partnering up with Kleenex brand to surprise one lucky fan with a Care Pack delivery. 

BBC: “We kicked off the Kleenex brand surprise delivery campaign. I was the first celebrity messenger. It was very sweet! We knocked on someone’s door in Malibu, as he had been entered in the sweepstakes by his fiancé. All of the information is actually on the Kleenex Facebook Page.

It’s basically an opportunity to send some TLC and the gift of care. The package contains a bunch of stuff to ensure a speedy recovery: Kleenex brand products, lip balm, a cozy blanket, some great music, and hand sanitizer. What I love about it is that it is such a sweet, thoughtful gesture that you can send to someone who is under the weather and in such a tough time.

I was so excited to get involved. There will be a couple of other surprise celebrities that will deliver care packages in Atlanta and Chicago. In addition to that, Kleenex brand is doing deliveries every day around the rest of the country throughout the rest of the campaign.

I got involved, because I have been using Kleenex brand products for a while. I’ve got a Kleenex pack in the kids’ backpacks, and I’ve got them in my purse and by my bed. There has been a lot of sickness going on in my house right now. Kleenex approached me and asked if I would like to help kick off the campaign. I really like the sentiment of the campaign, so it was a win-win.”

CBS: We all love Kleenex during the cold and flu season. Has your family been hit hard this flu season?

BBC: “My 10-year-old daughter is home sick today, my 6-year-old was home sick yesterday, and my 12-year-old was out sick from basketball last week. Somehow I am surviving with a lot of hand-washing, sanitizer, and some of my own corny herbal remedies. Yeah, it’s been a tough time, and the school system out here in LA is really getting hit hard.”

CBS: We were all so shocked to hear your recent cancer news. Tell us how it felt to hear the “C” word from your doctor. How did you deal with the severity of the diagnosis? Did you fulfill some lifelong dreams? How did your family, especially your kids, react?

BBC: “It was scary to hear the news, and I think that was actually the worst part. I really want to hit home how much research and education helps downplay that fear. I educated myself, tried to be a great patient, and made a game plan. It was very shocking and very scary. Honestly, I am very lucky. It was kind of a best-case scenario for me; it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Today, I feel perfectly normal.

In regard to whether I dealt with the diagnosis by fulfilling any lifelong dreams, I kind of live my life like that anyway. I thought about that a lot. I’ve been asked about how much it really changed my life, and honestly I try not to take anything for granted. It reminded me how precious life is and how scary it is that something more powerful than you can come along and change things. I try to live every day to the fullest and I try to teach my children that as well.

Everyone in my family reacted to the diagnosis quite differently, but we all survived it pretty great.”

CBS: We saw on Modern Mom that the thyroid cancer has been removed from your body and your lymph nodes are clear, and that you have a newfound respect for life. Please elaborate on how you are getting back to your normal life. Does your condition require regular check-ups?

BBC: “I am now focused on being a very healthy and health-conscious person. This is something that I never expected to hear, so that was a bit shocking. I am focused on just being responsible. I will not really be watched closely over the next few years, as my results were so great and clean during the surgery. I’ll do some follow-ups and have my blood work checked regularly. I am feeling pretty safe at this point.

In regard to what I will be watching for on my own, I had a complete Thyroidectomy so I don’t really need to watch for anything. I just need to be responsible and make sure my blood work is checked regularly.”

CBS: What is your best advice for parents who are dealing with a serious health condition? What are some tips in talking to kids?

BBC: “My advice is to do the research, get educated, and really learn as much as you can to balance out the fear and be a responsible patient. Most importantly, you must get regular check-ups, as that is how I learned about my nodule. It was a regular routine physical, not with a specialist. Women have to have their mammograms when it’s time and we have to do yearly physicals. They are so important.

When you talk to your kids, I think you should be honest and factual. They need reassurance to know that their caretakers are okay. With my children, my message was really to be positive, teach them how to overcome something, and show them that my head was in the right place. It really depends on what you’re dealing with and how old your kids are.”

CBS: How do you and your hubby keep the romance alive? Date nights, romance? In your opinion, what is the secret to a successful marriage?

BBC: “We schedule date nights, we make our relationship a priority, and we try to have our alone time when the kids are sleeping. We make sure that we make each other feel loved. In my opinion, the secret to a successful marriage is honesty, attention, commitment, communication, and chemistry.”

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