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“Today” show contributor Jill Martin opened up about her battle with breast cancer and how her recovery is going after she underwent a double mastectomy weeks after being diagnosed in mid-July.
The 47-year-old lifestyle contributor on the morning show said she’s doing “okay” physically after the surgery while noting that emotionally she’s been on a “roller coaster,” calling the last six weeks “earth-shattering.”
“I had an aggressive tumor removed, and my surgeon, Dr. Elisa Port, removed 18 lymph nodes, one of which was cancerous,” Martin wrote in a personal essay.
“They actually test the nodes in real time, so I found out the results of the biopsy when I woke up from the four-hour surgery,” she added. “There is always a small possibility that cancerous cells could have escaped, so the rest of the meeting was dedicated to planning out my long road ahead, and what the doctor suggests I do to prevent this insidious disease from coming back.”
NEW: After an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis and a mastectomy, TODAY contributor Jill Martin shares an update on what’s happening next: “I want to share this journey real-time.” https://t.co/HUzkxBGxdK pic.twitter.com/zmxZff8DKo
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 7, 2023
The NBC morning show contributor also thanked those who have shared their support after she revealed her breast cancer diagnosis, which she said was not detected from those annual checkups but instead from genetic testing. She tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, the gene linked to a significantly higher possibility of developing ovarian or breast cancer, People magazine noted.
“I received so many DMs, texts, emails, and calls,” Martin wrote. “Strangers came up to me on the street saying, “‘Can I please add you to my prayer list?’ or, ‘I am going to get tested because of your story.’ I didn’t realize how important genetic testing was on both the mother and the father’s side of the family.”
She talked about how the hardest thing has been watching her family “Watch me go through this. It shakes a family and a household. The past three weeks have felt like a lifetime.”
Martin said this week she will meet with her doctor to learn what’s next in this process. She said she already knows she will have a full hysterectomy to “decrease the risk of ovarian cancer” due to “fibroid issues in the past” and said she’ll have to “take anti-hormonal drugs for 5 years.”
“I will most likely need chemotherapy because of the aggressiveness of the tumor,” Martin wrote. “That is the part that hit me the hardest — the idea of chemo.”
The host admitted that she’s “still in a state of shock” because everything has happened so fast, but she’s “choosing to fight.”
“Cancer has knocked me down. It has,” she added. “I used to jump out of bed every day to begin work, but now every day is a choice. Do I feel like staying under the covers and crying? Yes. Every day. But I did that when I first started recovery … and little by little, like today, I am choosing to get up. I am choosing to fight.”