Canadian TV personality Jillian Barberie is getting candid about her health struggles and recovery process after she was diagnosed with breast cancer that spread to her lymph nodes.
Opening up her home to ET Canada’s Keshia Chante, the 52-year-old mom of two went from a mammogram and breast cancer diagnosis to a double mastectomy in a two-week span.
“My sister flew in from Canada,” a tearful Barberie says. “It’s just hard when you don’t have family and they’re in another country, but my sister, Dawn, she came from Canada and she stayed with me for three weeks, and she looked after me. And I’m so blessed as she helped me recover cause I have two kids and I’m outnumbered. And she was able to just help me get around and cook for the kids, and be here for them and recover from my double mastectomy which they said was the most important thing to recover because chemo is an a**-kicker.”
For the Burlington, Ont.-native, losing her hair following chemotherapy was a big change.
“It’s a little jarring to get used to yourself without hair,” she says. “And I did it very quickly, I let my kids shave my head because my hair was literally coming out in strands after 2 chemo treatments.”
But, Barberie is rocking a wig with such style, she has Keshia impressed.
“I’ve been mostly bald. This is the first time I’ve put a wig on,” she explains, shocking Keshia. “I’m always bald! I go to the radio station bald, I don’t care. But for ‘Entertainment Tonight Canada’ I was like I want to get glamorous for Canada.”
Through it all, Barberie hasn’t lost her sense of humour and positive outlook.
“You know it’s funny. I took a collage of pictures of me when I did all those men’s magazines. Now I regret that I didn’t do Playboy . I mean Playboy asked me for four years in a row and I said ‘no’. Like a moron!” she jokes after her mastectomy. “I wish I would have now. It’s my one stupid regret in life.”
She continues: “I swear because then I would have proof that they were so pretty and real. But no, honestly I took a collage of all these men’s magazines and I was like, ‘Thanks for serving me well, you breastfed two babies, it’s time to say goodbye’, and I kind of just… you know when you have like that old boyfriend and all the bad things he did, and you write it down, and you burn it? It was kind of like that it was like bye boobs, and I’m done with you and you were great for me and you served me well, but it’s time to move on. And so the actual operation was fine. The recovery was you know I’m not going to lie. It was cumbersome.”
Though the road ahead is filled with more chemo for Barberie, she’s thankful for the support of her children, Ruby and Rocco.
“The kids have been so supportive,” the star says, getting emotional. “I don’t even… I think if I didn’t have that, it would be really hard because everyone is in Canada. So I’m so fortunate that my kids are so sensitive and so kind and loving.”
“I do chemo until June, and then I start radiation in July. And then I’m done. So my first day of chemo was on my son’s birthday, and my last day is on my daughter’s birthday,” she says of her treatment timeline.
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