The Examiner

Love Helps Chappaqua Couple Cope With Breast Cancer

We are part of The Trust Project
Jeanette Cueva and husband David Krakow have grown even closer following Jeanette's successful battle against breast cancer.
Jeanette Cueva and husband David Krakow have grown even closer following Jeanette’s successful battle against breast cancer.

Jeanette Cueva and her husband David Krakow have always been a close couple. But even the closest relationships can be strained when a potentially life-threatening event abruptly alters plans.

In September 2011, while working late one evening, Cueva was contacted by her radiologist that she had been diagnosed with Stage 1 ductal cell breast cancer. It was a shock to the Chappaqua couple and their family that came with little warning.

“My life literally flashed before my eyes,” Cueva said. “I immediately thought of my family, and as a mom I worried about not being around to experience my children growing up. The mere thought of not being able to grow old with David was absolutely devastating.”

Cueva, now 54, had gone for routine mammograms, and although the doctors thought they detected something, they concluded it was probably nothing. Still, the diagnosis blindsided the family.

“When Jeanette called from her office with the news, I was in complete shock and my stomach was in knots,” Krakow said. “Jeanette was always so healthy; we couldn’t believe this was happening.”

Instead of faltering, Cueva and Krakow rallied to support each other and their two children, Isabella, who turns 16 this week, and Max, now 12.

To a significant degree, they credit their professional background–both are psychiatrists–with helping them deal with the upheaval. Since they had similar schedules that allowed them to go to all appointments together. The closeness they showed as a couple beforehand, didn’t waver with the jarring news.

“We went to every appointment together because that’s how we’ve always lived our lives. We have been a team since day one, and cancer didn’t change that,” Krakow said.

Cueva had surgery, then daily radiation treatments every morning for about two months after the children went off to school and before she headed to work. She and her husband shared the responsibility of getting the kids ready each day and they tried to keep the routine as normal as possible.

“We made the decision together not to tell the kids when I was getting treatment to protect them emotionally and we didn’t want them to be scared,” Cueva said. “It was important for all of us to just keep going.”

As a testament to their strength as a family, last year the couple was one of several people featured by The Estée Lauder Companies’ annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, founded more than 20 years ago by the late Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder. Each year the campaign includes videotaped messages that brings people together with stories of love, gratitude, support and strength and a brochure and press kit that also highlights each story.

The campaign has raised more than $53 million to support global research, education and medical services with nearly $42 million funding 166 Breast Cancer Research Foundation research projects worldwide since its inception.

Cueva said it was initially difficult to relive that experience for the video, but it turned out to be therapeutic.

“Thinking back to the moment we found out I had breast cancer is always hard, and I’m sure you can see me holding back tears while we were filming,” she said. “Being a part of this project and sharing my story was a beautiful experience for me, and one that I don’t often get in my line of work. I spend a lot of time listening to others’ stories and know how therapeutic it can be to share.”

But the chance it provided for the couple to talk to each other was special for them and turned out to help both.

“I was reminded through the process, and continue to be, of David’s amazing, unwavering support,” said Cueva, whose long-term prognosis is excellent.

“I would say that what was really important for me was the fact that I didn’t have to deal with it alone and had David by my side every step of the way. Open and honest communication is the best way to move forward after a diagnosis.”

For more information about The Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, visit




We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.