TODAY   |  October 25, 2012

Hoda celebrates 5 years of being cancer free

TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb take a look back at Hoda’s journey to health and healing after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and Dr. Erin Dupree and Dr. Freya Schnabel discuss the importance of early protection.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> many times on our show hoda shared her story and thoughts as a breast cancer survivor. today is a monumental moment. it's been five years since there's been any evidence of cancer. so let's take you back to 2007 when hoda was first diagnosed and treated.

>> okay. now we're rolling. in exactly one week from today at this exact moment, i will be laid out. in a week i'm going to have my surgery. my mastectomy.

>> you're watching a video diary hoda kotb never imagined she would make.

>> today was not a good today.

>> not in her wildest dreams . we think we are invincible till we realize we are not.

>> i just assumed i'm pretty healthy. i have my act together. it's not going to be me. it's going to be somebody else, not me.

>> the phone call came last february as she was talking to an nbc intern in her office. just days before her doctor had found three lumps in her left breast and now suddenly a hospital was on the line.

>> he said is cancer. you have breast cancer . everything else he said, ann, i didn't hear. i didn't hear what he said. you have breast cancer . that was it. that was it. this intern, i won't forget, she was looking at me and she goes, should i leave? and i said, yeah. and she said, can i hug you? i said, yeah. she didn't even know what was going on so she hugged me. a kid. a kid. i don't even remember her name but i won't forget what she did. god, i needed it.

>> many more hugs came from friends and colleagues, and most importantly from hoda's mom sami and sister hola who rushed to new york to be by her side.

>> when you think about your body and i don't think about mine often really, but suddenly i was forced to. i've never been that attached to my breasts. i don't really identify with -- that's not my thing.

>> your hair's your thing.

>> my hair's my thing.

>> good afternoon.

>> kotb.

>> i only had one choice. you couldn't take out the lumps without ruining the whole breast. you hato get rid of the whole thing. gives me the heaves just thinking about it. i think knowing you're not going to be the same as you were. knowing when you look in the mirror, you're never going to be whole. pretty much ready for this thing to happen. according to my watch it's a long time since we got here. here is my quote for the day, let's flush this toilet. i'm ready to go. hello. ready to go. forward. forward. forward. i wrote forward. get through things. get through it. forward. it's the best word.

>> it's hopeful.

>> right. it's hopeful. tomorrow, right? forward.

>> not the cancer that makes you write forward, it's who you are.

>> yes, yeah. you're right. i am glad it is over. it is out of me. it is over.

>> people ask me how to describe. cancer survivors know how to live. they know what they are not going to put up with any more. cancer survivors have clarity.

>> what i get from this whole horrible ordeal i get you can't scare me.

>> any way, here is dr. erin dupuis, as well as the director of breast surgery at nyu clinical cancer center. you found hoda's lump and you took off her breast and saved her life. the two of you. i love you ladies.

>> can i say thank you, by the way? you know what? here's what's funny, it's been a long time since that, but when i look at you two you rarely get to see someone who saved your life. so thanks. i love you, too.

>> because i was slack and lame early and i didn't do all the checking i went to erin like you guys at home do for a regular check-up. she said let me do a breast exam and said i feel something. oh, no you don't. that's a nothing. what made you tell me to go to check that? what was weird about the thing you felt? a lot of people have breasts that are dense.

>> well, it was a couple of things. one, there were masses there. i don't take that lightly as a physician. a mass is a mass is a mass until you know exactly what it is. the other thing was my connection with you in the office and knowing that you have a lot going on in your life and that women like that don't always rush to get that mammogram and make that appointment right away. it's one thing that can get put off. it should never be put off. i said that to you.

>> she said to me, i want you back here in a week or two with the results. i thought, oh, she is very pushy. erin dupuis.

>> did you try to make excuses for her?

>> that what i do i'm busy. when looking for a breast cancer surgeon, people have been through it or know someone who has, finding you was a gift from god. i took my mom's hands right before sgery and said would you take care of me.

>> i'm glad to be part of the team.

>> a lot of people don't -- look, you see so many people like me who are going through what i'm going through. if you were to say something to folks at home who are putting things off, what would be your message?

>> people put things off like mammograms and other tts because they are fearful. the big fear is always what will happen if they find something. then i have to go down the rabbit hole and it's about the doctors and the medicine and the hospitals and the surgeries. that's not entirely untrue. there is truth to that, but, but, for the majority of women who go to get those mammograms and get those screening tests, when it turns out to be okay, the reassurance just takes away so much anxiety that by itself is tremendous positive. on the other hand,arly detection saves lives. that is not a question any more. and allows people to have less obnoxious treatment.

>> you have to find a great surgeon that is a-1 number one like i did with freya. so thank you again so much for coming.

>> thank you all so much.

>> and for being here and celebrating.

>> thank you so much.