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Surviving Thyroid Cancer: Sofia Vergara's Story

How this actress and mom faced a health scare early in her career.

Talking to Kids About Cancer continued...

Your life isn't going to be turned upside down. Let your children know they will still go to school and soccer practice and so forth as usual -- but maybe Grandma or the neighbor will take them sometimes instead of Mom or Dad. "Keeping the schedule as much like before as possible is key to your child feeling safe," Singer explains.

Here's what might happen. Tell your child ahead of time about side effects like hair loss or nausea. "If your hair's going to fall out, that is probably above and beyond the most important thing for them to know," says Singer, who gave a presentation to her son's fourth-grade class while wearing a headscarf.

Above all, she says, resist the temptation to shield your children from what's happening. "Kids of all ages can sense when something is not quite right. They will fill in the blanks with something that's far worse than the truth."

Sofia Vergara's Health Tips

And how does this talented actress take care of her own mind and body? Here are her pointers.

Take charge of your health. "When I was diagnosed, I was really ignorant about what thyroid cancer meant and what living without a thyroid would be like," she says. She hit the books and learned everything she could about living the rest of her life with hypothyroidism. No matter what your health situation is, knowledge is power, she says.

Don't miss your checkups. "Your body changes as your life changes," Vergara says. "Check in with your doctor and make sure everything's OK." For women, thyroid problems -- underactive or overactive -- often crop up after menopause or pregnancy, so those are key times to get checked, she notes.

Get outside motivation. Have trouble getting off the couch and into the gym? Make an appointment with a trainer, or a friend who won't let you bail. "If I'm alone, I sabotage myself," Vergara says. "Instead of doing 10 reps, I do seven. If I have somebody there telling me what to do, I do it."

Treat yourself -- in moderation. She's a well-known sweets fan. "Right now in my purse I have Swedish fish and some candy that I bought in China when I was there recently. I cherish them because I know I'm going to run out soon!" she says. "Sometimes I'll even suck on a sugar cube. But I don't eat desserts every single day, and I eat lots of fruits and vegetables."

Make time for yourself. "I don't get very many days to myself," Vergara admits. "But I try to make sure I find time to have lunches with my girlfriends and go shopping -- do the simple things that girls like to do."

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Reviewed on June 01, 2013

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