"I was scared I was going to lose her."
After keeping her diagnosis a secret for five years, Harry Connick Jr.’s wife Jill Goodacre is finally ready to talk about her fight against breast cancer. In a new interview with People, Goodacre, 53, recounts the exact moment she discovered she was in for the battle of her life.
Back in October 2012, Goodacre, like clockwork, went in for her routine mammogram. At first, the results of her mammogram were clear and showed no signs of cancer. However, after taking another look at the ultrasound, her doctors detected an abnormality. As a result, she had to have a biopsy.
"Jill was told that she has dense breasts, [and] it was recommended that she also have an ultrasound following the mammogram," Kate Coyne, the executive editor of People magazine, told ABC News. "The technician saw something that didn't look good."
According to People, when the biopsy results came back, the Louisiana native and his wife learned that she had stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. Goodacre’s immediate treatment would involve a lumpectomy (surgery to remove the tumor), radiation, and the medication Tamoxifen, which is a pill used to treat early-stage breast cancer.
"I was scared I was going to lose her [Goodacre], absolutely," Connick Jr., 50, told the magazine. "I wasn’t going to let her see that, but I was. I know from losing my mom [from ovarian cancer when he was 13] that the worst can happen. She’s my best friend, and I really don’t know what I would do without her."
Fortunately, Connick Jr. doesn’t have to worry about that as of now because his wife is in remission.
"All I wanted to do was grow old with you and have as many years as possible as I could with you," Connick Jr. told his wife during an episode of Harry, which airs on Thursday, October 26, on FOX.
Yet despite the good news that Goodacre’s cancer is in remission, the couple wasn’t prepared to reveal her positive prognosis until they reached the five-year milestone this month.
"It wasn’t like we were superstitious, like if we said something about being in the clear we’d somehow jinx it," Goodacre said. "But we wanted to be well on the other side of things before we told everybody. The doctors all say that after the five-year mark, things look optimistic, so we’re starting to feel pretty good."
Goodacre added, "If I'd only had a mammogram and walked away for the next year, things could have turned out so differently for me."
Still, the model and mother of three, is coping with the fear of recurrence and the cancer possibly returning.
"It’s not something that’s just going to go away like it never happened," Goodacre explained. "I’ll always be a little nervous, always having to get checked, always hoping it doesn’t come back."
With her Grammy-winning husband and three daughters by her side, Goodacre found the strength to battle her breast cancer diagnosis. Today, she hopes by sharing her story she can inspire others who are undergoing treatment.
To learn more about recommended screening tests for breast cancer, dense breasts, and the causes of false-negative results, please visit cancer.org.