Erin Andrews was in the operating room of a Los Angeles hospital on Oct. 11, about to undergo surgery for cervical cancer that had been discovered only a few weeks earlier during a routine checkup, when she told her oncologist, "I'm not missing the Super Bowl." Days later, she flew to Green Bay to film a segment for Fox Sports, then stood to watch an entire football game. "Let's just say the doctor didn't recommend that," Andrews tells Sports Illustrated's MMQB, for the first time revealing the illness that she kept secret even from colleagues for fear they would treat her differently. "Throughout my career, all I've ever wanted is to just fit in," she says. And "sports were my escape."
Andrews had another surgery on Nov. 1 before she was told she wouldn't require radiation or chemotherapy. That meant that she could indeed attend the Super Bowl, which she'll cover for Fox Sports on Feb. 5. "I gazed out the window and quietly wept," Andrews' dad says. "Such an incredible weight had been lifted off her shoulders." Andrews—who says friends helped convince her of her own strength to beat the disease—has more to look forward to than just football, though. Earlier this month she revealed her boyfriend, Jarrett Stoll, proposed at Disneyland in December. "He did it right there at dinner at Disneyland," she said, per Us Weekly. "I was bawling like a child."