"MOM, why IS this happening to me?”
“Dancing with the Stars” co-host BROOKE BURKE-CHARVET asked that heartbreaking question to her mother as she revealed she was battling deadly thyroid cancer.
In an exclusive ENQUIRER interview, Brooke’s devastated mother Donna Hatounian recounted her 41-year-old daughter’s reaction to the shattering diagnosis along with her resolve to beat the cancer with the help of her devoted family.
Distraught BROOKE told her mom she couldn’t understand why the disease had struck her, saying: “I live healthy, I eat healthy, I get regular medical checkups and do everything I’m supposed to do!”
Donna had no answer but says she just told her daughter: “Honey, God has a plan for everyone, and this is His plan for you.”
The crisis began when Brooke’s doctor felt a small lump on her thyroid gland in her neck during a routine examination.
The doctor recommended that Brooke get an ultrasound to check it out, but she refused to do it for eight long months. It wasn’t until a friend told her about her own experience with thyroid cancer that Brooke decided to finally undergo the ultrasound, and that’s when the tumor was diagnosed.
One medical expert says Brooke shouldn’t have waited so long.
“She was playing Russian roulette with her life,” Dr. Richard Shames, a thyroid disease expert and author of “Thyroid Mind Power,” told The ENQUIRER.
“The sooner you remove a cancerous thyroid, the more successful the chance of recovery.”
Caught early, the disease is almost 100 percent curable. But if it invades the lymph nodes and other tissues, the survival rate plummets to 50 percent.
Brooke’s loving husband, actor/ singer David Charvet, was with her when she got the chilling diagnosis. And she decided to go public with the bombshell news in a recent video announcement.
Although the star is confident of winning her battle, her mom remains emotionally shaken by the news and was on the edge of tears as she poured out her heart to The ENQUIRER: “I’m scared for Brooke,” Donna said. “She’s handling it well in front of all of us, but I can tell she’s really tired and shaken. She works very long days, and she’s spending every minute she can with her husband and children.”
In an incredible display of courage, the mother of four plans to keep working until “DWTS” wraps on Nov. 27, even though it means postponing potentially lifesaving surgery.
“They’ve doubled up on her thyroid medication to avoid complications, and three surgeons OK’d her putting off the surgery,” her mom revealed to The ENQUIRER.
“Brooke’s first concern is for her children. She took her oldest daughter out for dinner the night before she released the video to warn her about what would be happening when the news broke. Her kids are taking the news well – probably better than I am.”
Some 56,000 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute, but fewer than 1,800 die from it.
“Brooke is being strong for us and we are being strong for her,” said her mom. “Whatever happens, we’ll get through this together.”