Just days after announcing that lumpectomy surgery hadn’t eliminated her early-stage breast cancer, Giuliana Rancic underwent a double mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction.
Husband Bill Rancic tweeted on Wednesday, “Thanks 4 all the well wishes & prayers. G’s surgery went well and the dr’s were pleased with the outcome. She is awake & cracking jokes!”
Giuliana herself found the energy to answer a few tweets from fans who sent their support. To one, she wrote, “thank u for the prayers. They are truly appreciated more than ever. :)” To another, she said, “my family and I thank you. Lots of love to u too!”
After much discussion both with her doctors and her husband, Giuliana opted for the surgery because it would lower her chances of recurrence to less than 1 percent. The alternative – another lumpectomy, followed by radiation and hormone therapy – would have put those odds much higher. It also would have forced the Rancics to put off their dream of getting pregnant.
This particular part of her breast cancer challenge is over, but she still has a long road ahead of her. We offer her some advice from experts:
- Realize that physical healing will take a while. Mastectomy is a serious surgery, and recovery isn’t quick. You’ll probably be tired for a few weeks, and it’s natural to have pain, numbness and discomfort. You’ll also need to do regular exercises to maintain the flexibility in your arms.
- So will emotional healing. Having a reconstruction may help reduce the initial shock of losing your breasts, but you’ll still need time to come to terms with the loss – and with the reality of being a young woman fighting a serious disease.
- Ask for help. It’s easy to fall into the “superwoman” trap and try to do too much too soon. Let Bill take over whatever household chores you normally do – and offer an occasional massage or cup of tea, too.
- Don’t feel you have to be cheery all the time. Anger and depression are absolutely normal – especially in young women, who don’t expect to have to cope with a life-threatening disease. If you’re having a bad day, say so. Vent to Bill, to a close friend or to a journal.
- Keep speaking out. Every year, 70,000 men and women ages 15 to 39 are diagnosed with breast cancer. Young survivors often feel unheard. You can help them find a voice.
- Look ahead. Bill has said that having this surgery before the New Year is significant because it means you can make a fresh start in 2012 – “no looking over her shoulder, no worries. We’re going to start living life.” Here’s a toast to new beginnings – including, hopefully, the family you’ve been yearning to start.
[Photo: Pacific Coast News]