Published September 26, 2007
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 25, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, "ON THE RECORD" HOST: Quarterback Brett Favre's last minute heroics sealed the victor for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. We were lucky to be there to watch him tie the record for the most touchdown passes ever.
After the game we spoke with Brett's biggest hero, his wife Deanna. She fought a courageous and triumphant battle with breast cancer. Her inspiring new book "Don't Bet Against Me," is in stores now.
The book not only tells you about her tough fight against breast cancer, but it also gives you an intimate look at what it is like to be married to a football star.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you nervous?
DEANNA FAVRE, WIFE OF BRETT FAVRE: A little bit.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, come on—a lot, all right, a lot.
But this is an exciting time for you. You have a great new book out.
DEANNA FAVRE: I'm really excited. It is kind of nerve wracking to have your life posted where everyone can see it.
VAN SUSTEREN: The book in some ways—it is so personal.
DEANNA FAVRE: It is very personal. It is very personal to me, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you are on the outside, you never know what someone else's life is like.
DEANNA FAVRE: I think people do view us differently, and they think that it is all glamour and how lucky we are. And we have to overcome adversity just like anyone else. There are things that go on in life that now everyone knows about it, mostly, because we do live in the public.
So people get to grieve with you or even chair through breast cancer.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which is one of the topics in here, and, from what I understand, the book was written to help other women.
DEANNA FAVRE: Yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not to feel sorry for you, but, in fact, that's not the title—
DEANNA FAVRE: It was definitely—early detection was the key for me, and I think that it is important that women are aware of their breasts and what is going on and any changes, and just to bring that awareness to women.
And another thing, there were women coming up to me after my diagnosis who were saying, "You saved my life. Because of you I went in to get an exam and they found a lump, and I had cancer. Thank you for saving my life."
And so I felt like if I could share this with more women and just really bring awareness to this disease, it would save other lives.
VAN SUSTEREN: There is never good timing for diagnosis like breast cancer. But yours seems so much worse than, I think, any other one that I have read. It came right on the heels of your younger brother dying.
DEANNA FAVRE: Yes. Four days after we buried my younger brother Casey I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I think was pretty numb, going through the whole thing. I just didn't really have a lot of time grieve for my brother before I was hit with cancer.
And I just went through a lot of depression later. I was not sure if it was because of the grieving process that I did not get to go through, or it was the cancer. But now I am here, and a lot of breast cancer women want to talk about depression too.
VAN SUSTEREN: In reading your book, you see there is such a private side. Your husband, Brett Favre, calls you at home at midday to say "How is the diagnosis?"
DEANNA FAVRE: He called me every 30 seconds. And I kept saying, "Brett, Dr. Henry said he would call me after noon time. So do not call me back until afternoon." And at five till he calls back. I said "It is not noon."
But he was pretty worried. I think he had a really bad feeling.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does it change the dynamics of your marriage to go through something like this?
DEANNA FAVRE: I remember getting in bed one night with my bald head, looking at him, saying "I bet you never thought you would sleep with a bald girl."
But he was great. He was so compassionate, so caring, so supportive, encouraging me to rest and let other people help. And he was phenomenal.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about women who do not have that, or men who have a different kind of cancer and go through this?
DEANNA FAVRE: I got many letters. And I did get a letter from a woman whose husband left her because of the breast cancer. He could not cope. I think men do handle adversity differently, and I think, fortunately for me, you see how Brett handles his adversity. He is determined to win no matter what, at any cost.
And with the breast cancer, that is how he treated it. He kept counting down the days for me. He would never talk about it coming back, or not being eradicated. It was always "We're going to get rid of this and we are going to move on with our lives."
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you ever have any doubts? There is so much they have done with treating breast cancer, but did you have any fears or doubts?
DEANNA FAVRE: I think anybody who hears that they have cancer has a little doubt. You are worried. I didn't know if we caught it early enough, I didn't know if it was anywhere else. I was definitely fearful for my life.
After the surgery, fortunately I found out that it had not gone to the lymph nodes and that it was confined just to the one area. And that was a great feeling.
But you still always wonder—"Are there other cells that have not started to grow yet somewhere else?" Anytime, I think anyone has cancer, will always have that fear.
VAN SUSTEREN: Bret Favre is next. He joins our conversation when we return.
VAN SUSTEREN: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre has fought battles on the football field for 17 years now. But those battles pale in comparison to the fight his wife Deanna faced in October, 2004, when she learned she had breast cancer.
Brett and Deanna reflected on her triumphant battle.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you come to these games, is your heart in your stomach all the time, wondering what is going to happen?
DEANNA FAVRE: I am a nervous wreck watching the whole game. I am still nervous right now at halftime. Of course, The score is tied again.
But not just—the Ws and the Ls are not the whole thing for me. It is about him staying healthy and not being injured.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, Brett, I am sorry you missed the game up here today.
BRETT FAVRE, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: That had to look pretty good, I guess.
VAN SUSTEREN: It looked really good up here.
BRETT FAVRE: It looked good from where I was standing.
VAN SUSTEREN: It was a great game.
BRETT FAVRE: We needed that—that was great.
VAN SUSTEREN: Needed it? You are three and zero. So, you didn't need it, you have two other victories. It wasn't like you were going in there with two losses.
BRETT FAVRE: Two years ago we were four and 12, last year we were eight and eight, and we played well at the end of the year. But there has been question marks about us. And people, I do not know if they think we are for real. And I have it questioned myself, but we are three and zero.
VAN SUSTEREN: So have you now convinced yourself?
BRETT FAVRE: This week, yes. We still have 13 left, but it is a good start.
VAN SUSTEREN: It is interesting reading the new book is that how different your lives can look from the outside than what they are from the inside.
BRETT FAVRE: You probably go through the same thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess. But, or lack of a better word, your lives are normal. You have a very unusual job, extremely unusual, which to do exceedingly well. But in many ways you go through the same adversity—you go through the terrible tragedy of a loss of family members and cancer and everything else.
BRETT FAVRE: Kids in school, pets, everyday life. Every day is not perfect. You have your bad days and good days just like anyone else. You do not want to talk to people sometimes. It is normal outside of what I do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you love her?
DEANNA FAVRE: I want to hear this too.
BRETT FAVRE: You should have told me I was going to get this question.
DEANNA FAVRE: I didn't know.
VAN SUSTEREN: She is going to get it too, though, don't worry. She has time to think about it, though.
BRETT FAVRE: I tell people all the time—we actually knew each other back in kindergarten. And we used to play football together. She was a tomboy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was she any good?
BRETT FAVRE: She was good, yes. She is marginal at catching a football. But she was good at softball and baseball.
DEANNA FAVRE: Softball and basketball.
BRETT FAVRE: Softball and basketball, yes.
But I tell people the honeymoon is over. I do not mean that in a negative way. When we got married we had already been through everything, seen everything, and it just finalized things.
But she was there. I tell people she was there way before my first touchdown pass. And that has never—she is proud of me, but that has never been what it was about.
And you realize in tough times, which we both had our share of, who is on your side. And she has always been there.
VAN SUSTEREN: I told you I would ask you the same question, but you have had time to think about it, though. Why do you love him so much?
BRETT FAVRE: That is a long list.
DEANNA FAVRE: There are many areas. He is funny. I got to watch him in high school in different situations, and his mother was a special education teacher, and I saw him with those kids, and he is very compassionate and incredible with those kids. There were like his best friend.
There was one in particular too that was the bat boy for a team, and Brett—for Ronnie(ph) to travel, someone had to be his roommate. And Brett always volunteered to be his roommate.
Ronnie is probably in his 60s now, but I always loved that about him, he has always been compassionate. And there is a lot of things, but that always stuck out.
VAN SUSTEREN: While, thank you both. It is always fun to come to Green Bay.
BRETT FAVRE: It sure made this interview easier that we won.
VAN SUSTEREN: It is always more fun to win.
And I was teasing all your relatives that you guys all talk funny — this Mississippi stuff.
DEANNA FAVRE: We think you talk funny.
BRETT FAVRE: Yes, we have been working on that too. We did not want to come across like the Beverly hillbillies. No "Yahoos" and "Gollys."
VAN SUSTEREN: Actually, we cheese heads are a pretty sophisticated group. Do you have a cheese head
BRETT FAVRE: No.
DEANNA FAVRE: We do have a couple of cheese heads.
BRETT FAVRE: We do?
DEANNA FAVRE: Yes.
BRETT FAVRE: Oh — yes, we do.
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