TODAY   |  October 06, 2013

Robin Quivers opens up about cancer battle

Robin Quivers is best known as Howard Stern’s partner-in-crime, a position she’s had for over 30 years. But now she’s out with a new book, which touches on her diet and lifestyle through her battle with cancer. TODAY’s Erica Hill and Lester Holt interview Quivers.

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

>> after a 17-month absence from the radio studio while she battled cancer, robin made her triumphant return this week. it was a day howard worried might never come.

>> there was a time i really did think i was going to lose you permanently. and i'll tell you what, this is a pretty remarkable day. that you are here triumphant and cured. i mean, i never would have predicted this.

>> robin describes her health struggles, past and present , in her new book, the vegucation of robin.

>> i've got to change the name of the book. because -- it's the veg-cation of robin.

>> sorry. you're here to correct us.

>> it's okay. i have to tell everyone the name of the book.

>> more reason to keep promoting it then. think of it that way. we just saw a clip of your first day back in the studio after seven months. you're feeling great.

>> yeah.

>> what an emotional day that must have been for you.

>> well, we have had a lot of emotional days over this 17 months. it's not an easy thing to put your friends and loved ones through, when you're going through something like this. they worry more about you than you worry about yourself. and they struggle more, because they feel helpless. and there's really nothing they can do but stand by.

>> let's turn the clock back. it was spring of 2012 . you just finished writing the book.

>> yeah.

>> doctors find this mass --

>> in my pelvis.

>> turned out to be endometrial cancer and a very difficult road ahead. what was your attitude at that point?

>> well, things happened so fast. from the diagnosis to surgery was about ten days. and in that ten days, there's lots of tests being done and you are finding out various things and maybe not much of anything at all. and you don't know what to think. and then when you go into surgery, they say just hope for a long surgery, because we really don't know how this is going to turn out. so --

>> comforting.

>> yeah, so i was sort of in the middle of it all, and you know, howard and others were actually aware that it was such a serious and dire situation.

>> he really -- i mean, you two are very close, as we know.

>> yeah.

>> work together for more than 30 years.

>> he really in many ways was your rock.

>> oh, my goodness. the first person i called was howard after i got home and i needed a doctor, i was looking for a recommendation from beth, maybe. and he then said, "oh, my goodness, robin, what reing with going to do?" and he helped me put together my medical team. he was -- they were there after every appointment saying, what happened, what do we do next, what do we need now. and then at a certain point he just took over and said i'm getting you the best. you're going to have everything you need. and i just sat there for the first time in my life and let people take care of me. and he was the first among them.

>> and it's not uncommon for people in the public light to live their illness as publicly. you kept it secret. and you were kind of calling into the show.

>> well, i was on an isd line at home. they set up a special line for me so i could do the show from home.

>> and you never explained why you weren't in the studio.

>> not really. because we do a comedy show and you don't want to be sitting there thinking is she going to be all right while trying to make you laugh. so we decided we don't know how the story is going to turn out. i want to get on the air for four hours every day.

>> two days --

>> two-and-a-half three days.

>> that long of a period.

>> you have some sick leave coming to you.

>> lester is going to make sure you get it. you credit a lot of what happened the way your body was able to handle this and fight it to the fact that you're a vegan.

>> yes. i had a lot of problems before this. you know, right around the time of 9/11, i wasn't feeling very well at all. i didn't have a lot of strength or stamina or energy. all i did was work and sleep. and i thought, if i had been in that building that day, i wouldn't have been able to make it out on my own. and i thought, that's a terrible way to live. that's no way to go out in life. and so i went on this journey to find out what was going on. and i eventually discovered how i felt had something to do with the way i was eating. and i eventually discovered the best way for me to eat was to be vegan. and all of those things that i was struggling with went away. i went from not being able to walk a block to running a marathon. so it was a wonderful transformation.

>> right.

>> and because i was so strong, i think it helped me through the surgery, the treatment, everything.

>> and you read about all of that in the book. it's nice to have you with us this morning. glad to see you feeling so well. robin quivers , thanks.