Brooke Burke: How I Told My Kids I Have Thyroid Cancer
As Brooke Burke-Charvet prepares to undergo thyroid cancer surgery this week, she's also had to help her family get ready.
Burke-Charvet and husband David Charvet are parents to daughter Rain, 5, and son Shaya, 4. The Dancing With the Stars co-host also has two children from her previous marriage to plastic surgeon Garth Fisher, daughter Neriah, 12, and Sierra, 10. Sharing her cancer diagnosis with her children was no easy task.
"I decided not to tell my children about my diagnosis for as long as I possibly could because I didn't want them to worry," Burke-Charvet, 41, wrote on her Modern Mom blog Wednesday, Dec. 5. "I know that my younger ones still don't have a great concept of time and I didn't want them to be anxious, worried and asking 1,000 questions."
Daughters Neriah and Sierra were the first to learn of their mother's diagnosis and reacted in very different ways. "She was really scared and concerned," Burke-Charvet wrote of daughter Neriah. "She cried, and her biggest fear was if I was going to be ok."
But Sierra was "very factual and scientific." Burke-Charvet recalled her saying, "'Ok, Mommy so you're going to get the lump removed, so that's a good thing.'" And she "left it at that and never brought my surgery up again."
Her youngest children didn't take the news as well. "Children process things so differently," Burke-Charvet explained. She wrote that her son saying "I don't want Mommy to die" is "the stuff that breaks my heart and scares me."
Though telling her children was challenging, Burke-Charvet says she's now ready to have her surgery.
"So I've stocked the house up, I've done all my grocery shopping, I've made a few meals and the fridge is stocked with leftovers. I've organized all my children's schedules and downloaded a few books," she said. "I've packed my bag; I'm pretty much prepared and ready . . . with a lot of faith, a hopeful mind and the intent to have a speedy recovery."
"I'm not afraid anymore," she added. "I think I've been dealing with it so much the past couple months that now I'm ready to just get it done and put this behind me. My only need is being ok for my husband and my children so they don't have to go through any pain and making this as easy as possible for them."