JETmag.com caught up with Dr. Jacqueline Walters, of Bravo’s latest reality series, Married to Medicine. Here she chats about surviving breast cancer twice, and why she’s big on health and fitness.
Was there ever a point where you had apprehension about joining Married to Medicine, considering that you are an esteemed medical professional?
For me there was, mostly because of time and the unpredictability of it. I was really concerned about time because I’m really busy.
What made you decide to just go ahead and do it?
It was Simone, Dr. Whitmore. We’re friends. Simone and I, believe it or not had a practice together, and that relationship didn’t work. We’re still friends today, we just maintained the friendship [outside of business]. Obviously we have a professional relationship where we were typically at the hospital on the same day but we also had that pick up the phone and call and ask, “What do you think?”
So, what can viewers expect from the show?
You’re going to have some comedy, you’re going to have some serious life issues. I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor, so we’ll definitely deal with that. We kind of get into some of the medical terminology; we’ll get you into the operating room and you’ll see the challenges that marriages encounter due to medicine. And you know how girlfriends can get. We have love hate relationships where we can sometimes be frenemies. You’ll get to experience everything that life brings.
Going back to you surviving breast cancer twice, how did you discover that you had it and how did you end up getting over the hump?
With the initial diagnosis, I was actually pregnant. I was all excited about it and then had a loss but I think we have a little less sympathy for things that happen to us in medicine because we sometimes feel like it’s no big deal, and so I decided to have my screening and I did and got the phone call that so many women get and I really didn’t think it was anything. I said, I’ll do the rescreening, no big deal. I got a biopsy done and got the dreaded diagnosis. And when this doctor said this to me I really thought he was talking about one of my patient’s results, so I asked the question again and said, “No I’m trying to get my results.” And he read them and from there we through, chemo, radiation and then four years later I got my second diagnosis.
For clarification purposes, you meant you had a miscarriage when you said you suffered a loss, right?
Yes. I think it was a godsend in that I probably would have gone through 40 weeks of pregnancy and never had that mammogram done.
What advice do you have for women who are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis in terms of healing and recovery?
I started a foundation called 50 Shades of Pink, because I really want women to know that if you look good—if you work on the physical outside appearance, because the doctors will definitely take care of the inside, but if you look good you’ll feel good, so I’m really into staying positive and looking good. It’s a fight and my motto has been you cannot fight with tears in your eyes. Get a good cry out because you will cry but don’t let that consume you.
What role did you family and friends play in your recovery?
My family and friends probably did more in keeping me at home because I really wanted to get out of the house and go to work. They’ve been very supportive in my decision but most of the time they wanted me to slow down, but as far as getting me chemo I had friends who would take me there, we had food made at the house, my colleagues took my calls and I couldn’t have done it with out them. My office staff was wonderful and the patients.
And is the cancer why you’re now really into clean eating and fitness?
I always wanted to exercise and look good but yeah, with cancer twice I think I have no choice.
What’s your diet like?
I’m a real fruits and vegetables person, and protein. But Friday is my junk day. I can have banana pudding. I can have cheesecake. Fridays and Saturdays are my cheat days but Sunday through Thursday, I’m back on plan.
What are you favorite types of workouts to do?
I have trainers that I’ve been working with for eight years so we do different body parts. We do arms, we do lower body, cardio. I was a runner for a long time but after the double mastectomy it’s been hard to run. It hurts a little bit, so I do aerobics, weights and cardio.
What kind of psychological toll did having a double mastectomy take on you?
I never let it get me down. I’m gonna be honest. The vanity, yes, I think I cried so much about what am I gonna look like after a double mastectomy but once we got past the whole it’s gonna look ok and plastic [surgery], I was ok because I had counseled so many patients before me. This is the means of extending your life so I had to live by my own rules.
Over all, what can viewers expect to see on Married to Medicine?
I’m hoping they take away from me that if you work hard you can play hard. And if you look good you can feel good and great stuff will come. As far as what to expect you’re going to see how medicine can change lives. We got the good, bad and ugly. We’ve got stressers that’s key in every woman’s life but you’ll see how we handle it a little bit different. I think everybody will see that yeah, we’re women but we definitely handle our stress different. I want everybody to tune in and know that being married to medicine has it’s positives at some points and it has it’s negatives.