By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For 30 years, Ukee Washington has sat at the desk at different times during the day with one of our own — Pat Ciarrocchi. It’s been five years since she was here delivering the news — good times and tough times, she always told it like it was and she did it from the heart. Tonight is no different.

When Pat Ciarrocchi told a story, people listened and learned. The story now is about her own brain surgery.

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Read Pat’s personal account here.

“I can’t tell how happy I am to see you,” Ciarrocchi told Ukee Washington.

The feeling is mutual. Ciarrocchi had a “muffling feeling” in her right ear looked at six years ago.

“And I thought maybe it had something to do with the earpiece that we would wear on the air,” she recalls.

It did not. The feeling she originally felt was different, so further tests and more imaging were done. She received a phone call at home with the news.

“The neuroradiologist, that would be the doc who read your MRI scan, thinks you have a brain tumor,” Ciarrocchi said. “How could that be possible?”

No headaches, no cognitive issues, but still no time to waste.

Renowned University of Pennsylvania brain surgeon Dr. Donald O’Rourke led the surgery team of 10 doctors all working as one.

“And Ukee, I have to tell you, it was dramatic surgery. I didn’t suffer — suffering belongs to the people who have cared for those with COVID, for the families who had to say goodbye through a window. I had dramatic surgery but I didn’t suffer,” Ciarrocchi said.

“And I’m happy to say on October 22, six days after surgery, I learned that I did not have cancer, that this growth was benign. That brought me to my knees, that brought tears to my eyes,” she said.

“Over 99% of what I operate on is a malignancy brain cancer and most of the lesions we find in the substance of the brain in someone in their 60s is what we call malignant glioma,” Dr. O’Rourke said.

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Ciarrocchi’s lesion was successfully removed before it had any chance of dangerous development.

“And the most extreme form of glioma is a glioblastoma,” O’Rourke said.

Glioblastoma took the life of people like Beau Biden, Tug McGraw and Darren Daulton.

“So we wanted to be proactive,” O’Rourke said.

“I wanted to share my story because of the way that this growth in my brain was revealed. I feel like it’s important for all of us, especially for those of us at a certain age to pay attention to what our body is telling us,” Ciarrocchi said.

“Did your faith waiver a little bit or did it strengthen?” Washington asked.

“I can tell you with complete sincerity that I felt that the way that this was found, that it was an indication that there was more to do in my life,” Ciarrocchi said.

A life that now includes an incredible friendship with a certain surgeon and his team, and an even deeper love for her personal team members in the clubhouse.

“I couldn’t have gone through this without the man who is the rock in my life and that’s my husband, David,” Ciarrocchi said.

Pat and I would joke and say, that I was her TV husband and we both know that in our business, great storytelling is a gift. But being able to tell your own story is a true blessing as we continue to listen and learn.

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The doctor told Pat there’s zero chance of the lesion coming back because it didn’t have the cell makeup to do so.

Ukee Washington