It has been six years since Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb was declared "cancer free," and in a personal essay for Today.com, the 49-year-old shares how she came to accept her body after undergoing surgery.
"When I think about surviving cancer and dealing with body image after the fact, I realize now: You can’t really prepare yourself for it, for how you are going to feel," the journalist writes.
And Hoda's procedures were particularly extensive. To remove the breast cancer, she underwent an eight-hour surgery, which included a mastectomy and reconstruction. The anchor explains there were two distinct emotions after post-operation.
"There’s the 'OMG, they got it' reaction and you are just so happy they got the cancer," expresses Hoda. "You are so grateful, and you think, 'I don’t care what my body looks like, I am just happy to be here.'"
But there is also a more depressing side. "I’d be lying if I didn’t say there is...a window of time where you don’t even want to look at yourself," admits the pretty brunette. "It’s jarring."
Though she feels "about 90%" when it comes to her health, Hoda reveals she still struggles with the way clothes look at times. "The actual scars are there… that’s forever a part of me," she says.
"Ultimately, I don’t think there is an ‘ah-ha’ moment where you think, 'I’m back!'" the Oklahoma-native writes. "You gradually learn to accept your body after cancer."
Her best advice to those currently battling cancer: "If you are worried about how you look and how you feel, just take the focus off yourself. Turn the spotlight somewhere else and in the process, you’ll realize that you feel so much better."