Working Through Cancer
- Seventy-year-old FOX News personality Jeanine Pirro has been through a lot when it comes to cancer after facing the disease herself and losing her mother to pancreatic cancer. Most recently, she shared that she’d received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the request of her cancer doctor.
- When Pirro underwent chemotherapy for the disease, she kept working and hosted her show.
- Some people find that working during cancer, or soon after treatment, can bring a sense of normalcy to their lives during a cancer journey.
The 70-year-old TV personality has been through a lot when it comes to cancer. And most recently, she shared that she’d received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the request of her cancer doctor.Read More
“We’ve got to learn to live with COVID. We know what it is and we know what we have to do.” Judge Jeanine joined @TheFive yesterday and talked about the new COVID strain in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/0EadNlpGB9
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) December 2, 2021
“I’m gonna say this openly,” she said during a conversation on Fox talk show The Five. “I had COVID, and my cancer doctor – I had cancer – he said to me you’ve got to get the vaccine. You’ve got to get both of them. So, I did. I did what he told me to do.”
Pirro and Her Mother’s Cancer Battles
Pirro shared that she previously fought cancer during a 2017 Justice with Judge Jeanine segment.
“In 2012, I was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t talk about it. You didn’t know about it. I just did my show every weekend.”
And not only was Pirro determined to keep her cancer battle private, she was also intent on working throughout her treatment.
“As the chemotherapy treatments progressed, I was on air talking to you without my eyebrows, eyelashes and wearing a wig,” she said.
But that was not the only time Pirro would have cancer significantly impact her life. She was also touched by the disease when her mother had a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. She passed away at the age of 90 in 2019.
“She was my muse, my hero,” Pirro said of her mother in an obituary. “I have lost my best friend. My mother stood up for the victim, for the abused, before it was vogue. She was a great influence on me and everyone around her. She took care of the people who couldn’t take care of themselves… She taught me how to fight for the underdog.”
Working through Cancer Treatment
A cancer diagnosis can change your life. But how you proceed to go about your days during treatment is entirely up to you. For some people like Pirro, it’s crucial for them or really important to them to keep working. Whether that be for financial reasons, a sense of normalcy or simply because you like what you do, it’s important to try to make a work schedule that suits you during treatment if you want to continue working. And it’s also important for you to know there are people out there to help you navigate the process of not working if that’s your preferred option.
Laurie Ostacher, a social worker at Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, previously spoke to SurvivorNet about how she helps people figure out their working situation after a cancer diagnosis.
“Some women choose to continue working [through cancer] because working is a significant part of their identity, they enjoy the job, and there’s flexibility built in,” she explained. “I help folks think about whether it makes sense to work… If you really don’t want to but are worried you’re not going to be able to make ends meet, then I’ll sit down and help them figure out, you know, with your disability insurance, would this be possible?”
Ostacher also shared the questions she might pose to people in order to help them think about how their work life might look while fighting cancer.
“For women who choose to work, I help them think about what types of conversations do you need to have with their employer? How much information do you want to share with him or her? What type of work schedule seems like it might work for you? Where might you need more flexibility?” she said.
No matter what, it’s important to do what’s right for you and seek out valuable resources like Ostacher if you need help deciding on the right course of action when it comes to working during a cancer battle.
Keeping a Cancer Battle Private
A person’s health is a private matter, and a cancer battle is arguably even more private. This is why some people, like Pirro, choose to keep their health struggles out of the spotlight.
People like actress Kelly Preston, who was married to actor John Travolta, also kept her cancer battle a secret; she died of breast cancer at age 57 last summer. Her death was a surprise to many as her cancer diagnosis was widely unknown to the public.
On announcing her death, Travolta, now 67, noted at the time that he – like his late wife – would opt for a quiet, private road ahead as he began to grieve his wife. The actor posted to Instagram: “I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal.”
Actor Stanley Tucci also recently revealed for the first time that he privately fought tongue cancer three years ago. And actress Helen McCroy, wife to actor Damien Lewis, passed away in April at age 52 after a private battle with cancer.
People have different reasons for whether they share the news of their cancer diagnosis. For Marquina Iliev-Piselli, she says that sharing the news can be a burden.
“Deciding when and who to tell became quite a burden,” she previously told SurvivorNet. “So you have to relive your story over and over again.”
This alone is reason enough for people to keep their cancer diagnosis under wraps, but, in the end, the decision is up to the person diagnosed with the disease. And it’s important to remember that there’s no right way to deal with cancer; everyone handles it differently.