Giuliani Rancic: my mastectomy was “hell. It was horrible.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic went back to work last Tuesday just two weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. It wasn’t easy for her at all. The reality star told The Today Show in an interview on Friday that she feels great now, but that the immediate post-op recovery period was “hell” and that it was “horrible.”

“I knew this was going to be a tough surgery, but I in no way want to minimize it,” Giuliana told Matt Lauer during an interview on NBC’s the “Today” show on Friday. “Yes, I’m two and a half weeks out, but up until a week and a half ago it was hell. It was horrible.”

The 37-year-old E! TV host also revealed she suffered from an unforeseen complication that made the recovery process even more difficult – she was unable to tolerate morphine, the pain medication used to manage her post-surgery pain.

“I went into surgery at 4 PM and got out around 9:30 PM,” she told Matt. “By 4 AM I had to get off the morphine because I was so sick and I thought to myself, ‘[If you throw up] you have to engage all of your chest muscles,’ and I just had my chest operated on.”

Though she’s “feeling great” now, Giuliana still relies on husband Bill Rancic to help her accomplish everyday tasks while she continues to recover.

“I can’t really turn much to put my seatbelt on,” she said. “He has to help me get in and out of bed, get dressed…it’s a lot of limited mobility and pain.”


Toward the end of that interview, Matt asked Giuliana’s husband Bill if he was afraid that she was pushing herself too hard after having surgery. He said “We don’t do anything without the doctor’s approval. This is something that she was intent on doing. She wanted to turn the negative into a positive. The response and the number of people who said ‘I went in and got my first mammogram…’ it’s worth it if you can save one life during this process.” As I mentioned in an earlier story, I did get an appointment with an OB/GYN to look at my tatas. She did a sonogram of my breast tissue and said that everything looks fine and that it wasn’t necessary for me to get a mammogram at this point. I honestly would not have made that appointment if it wasn’t for Giuliana’s story.

In a way I don’t think Giuliana is painting a realistic picture of this process at all. Even if she’s saying that the post op recovery was “horrible,” we’re seeing her looking perfect on TV two weeks later. I would like to see her take more time before going back to work. If she wasn’t such a motivated go-getter, she might not be as open with the press about her cancer battle, though. She’s definitely helped raise awareness of a disease that affects so many women.

Giuliana is shown interviewing Angelina Jolie on 12-5-11 and with Bill on 9-8-11. Credit:

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

31 Responses to “Giuliani Rancic: my mastectomy was “hell. It was horrible.””

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. HH says:

    Never really thought much of her (especially in the wake of her tweet battles with LeAnn Rimes) but this is inspiring. I hope she makes a speedy recovery

  2. tooey says:

    I do give her credit for raising awareness. However, just once I’d like to see a prominent woman come out and say, you know, I’m going to just take care of me for a little while. I’m going to stay home and recover physically and emotionally. I think this back to work two weeks post-surgery just plays into the Superwoman myth that too many women buy into anyway. No matter how much “good” you are doing, sometimes it’s ok to just focus on yourself. Now would seem to be one of those times.

    • DoMaJoReMc says:

      Amen to that! \O/

    • orion70 says:

      I do agree, but each woman has to decide for themselves what is right for them. There is no “right” way to do cancer.

      I think sometimes there is a bit of pressure to be the inspirational cancer patient, no matter who you are.

      (FWIW, I’m about six months out post-active treatment (surgery, chemo and radiation) and I’m still not back to work. I will add that I’m extremely fortunate to have a employer-supported proram that allows me to do that. )

      • wow says:

        Yes exactly – and some people are the type who just can’t stay at home and rest… People recover in different ways, and sometimes working – for some people – is best .

    • taxi says:

      Moira Tierney.

  3. Jayna says:

    People, she went back on a very slow week that just on those type of shows recaps the year, etc. She hardly was on and didn’t do much. Just announcing things. Definitely not a full workweek for her. Y mom was like her. A type personality who needed to be up doing something after cancer treatment. She told me she felt better focusing on something else.

  4. JudyK says:

    Love her, love them as a couple. Admire her courage and upbeat attitude and him for his support and encouragement. They obviously have a deep love for each other, which is heart warming, inspirational, and life affirming to watch.

  5. TG says:

    I have always liked her and I like her show with Bill also. I don’t ever look at Twitter and the few times when I see tweets by celebs on other websites I am mystified that people give a crap about twitter. How the heck cares about what you are allegedly cooking for dinner. Of course reading about that she-man leanne rymes is hilarious though. So Twitter is good for some things it seems if not just to show us how stupid celebs can be.

    I understand her need to get back to work this is not like a pregnancy where celebs have all the help and tummy tucks, etc and then make the rest of us feel like crap. I am lucky and have not ever been ill with something like cancer but I find her story inspiring and wish her and anyone going thru something like this all the best. And as a woman I will always be supportive of others going thru breast cancer treatment.

  6. Girl says:

    Prayers for her. I can imagine trying to barf post-op having just been operated on in that same area. All those stitches and I think she had implants/reconstruction at the same time? Fucking ouch! Even with pain meds. It can be really rough anyway trying to stay ahead of that kind of pain especially when you have to look for an alternative.

  7. The Original Mia says:

    I had a mastectomy with reconstruction and I didn’t go back to work 2 months. The chest pain was manageable, but I found it difficult to walk upright (they used my back muscles to reconstruct). I didn’t leave the house, except for doctor’s visits for weeks. I have no idea how she managed to go to work. I applaud her, but that was probably a bit too much, too soon.

    • orion70 says:

      It all depends on what type of job you do and what your personal recovery is like. I went back to work 5 weeks after a large lumpectomy/partial mastecomy whatever you want to call it, but that was a lot to do with where I worked.

      But even in general, I was too afraid of even simple things like someone bumping into my chest.

    • taxi says:

      They didn’t use her back muscles. Yours was a more debilitating surgery.

  8. Shiloh says:

    working probably helps her to focus on something other than the pain/her illness. i think some people really just need that outlet, and she probably isn’t the type of person who likes to “relax” for too long. i know i’m like that. i just want to always stay on the go. i hope she has a speedy recovery and is finally able to conceive a child. she seems like a good person and kudos to her husband for really being there for her.

    • Justaposter says:

      Exactly Shiloh. When cancer throws a monkey wrench into your life you crave normal so badly. Anything to help bridge the life before cancer with the life with cancer.

      CB, “realistic” vairies for so many people. 2 weeks after I had my right kidney removed due to cancer, I felt like hell, but slap on some makeup on me, a person couldn’t even tell I had major surgery or dealing with cancer.

      @ The orginial Mia.. wishing you and everyone else who have survived cancer lots of love and a lifetime of great health!

      • bc says:

        Exactly what I was going to say. I haven’t had a mastectomy, but I did have a breast reduction. That was SUPER painful, so I can’t imagine the physical pain she experienced. Even in all that pain, all you want is to go back to normal and just be able to do what you used to do.

      • orion70 says:

        I would hazard a guess that even in the midst of chemo, unless someone took a close look at me while I was out, no one would have been the wiser that I was sick. I wore my wig every time I left the house, as well as make-up. Even when I went for treatments, I wore makeup and didn’t just go in my PJ’s.

        That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel like hell at the time though. All outward appearances and all that.

        I wanted very much for normalcy, but that didn’t include work for me. It wouldn’t have been a distraction, just a stress.

  9. abcd says:

    I think it’s wonderful that she is being so open about the process. She’s doing a brave, good thing by being so transparent about her treatments for her breast cancer.

    FYI ladies, mammography as a screening tool for breast cancer is recommended beginning at the age of 40. This is for women who have NO symptoms (lump, thickness, abnormal discharge, etc.)

    If at ANY age you notice a lump or other change in your breast, its best to go straight to your Dr. or OB/Gyn and have them check it out. They may well want to start with less invasive tests (sonogram, ultrasound, etc.) before determining whether or not you need a mammogram.

  10. whatevs says:

    i feel horrid about her breast cancer and wish her a speedy full recovery. that said, she always brings my eating disorder demons back. whenever i see her photos i want to be thinner than her. the e.d. demons never quite left me i guess. it’s been all these years yet when i see her thinness i envy her

  11. Belle Epoch says:

    I’m sorry she got cancer, but she has some very strange ideas about health.

    The doctor told her to gain 10 pounds to get pregnant, and she refused. She preferred months of hormone shots for IVF instead. The hormones MAY have contributed to her cancer (estrogen is known to cause cancer). It was her OB her told her to get a mammogram before continuing with still more hormone shots.

    I resent the fact that she did a magazine cover saying she was “fighting for her life.” Early stage cancer is unfortunate, but her life was not in danger. What about the women who have stage 4 cancer who really ARE fighting for their lives? Playing the drama queen was insensitive, to say the least.

    Before her surgery, she gave out mixed messages about whether losing her breasts did not define her as a woman, or whether she was happy to be getting the bigger boobs her husband asked for. A double mastectomy with breast reconstructions is not a boob job! This was not sensitive to all the other women who have scars where their breasts should be.

    They both made a HUGE deal out of the fact that she would be well enough to work on New Year’s, so she pretty much had to put in an appearance. She is surely on painkillers, and probably still has drains and bandages and other issues that make getting dressed and moving around difficult. I wish she would let women know the whole truth instead of playing Wonder Woman.

    I’m sure further down the road she will give yet another interview. I hope everything works out for her.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      Beautifully stated, and a perfect summation. I wish her no ill-will, and I truly hope she recovers fully, but she should have had a sensitivity implant as well.

      I hope she’s thanking her lucky stars that she & her husband (who seems like a very loving man) have the money/insurance that this was discovered before it went on to become 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) stage cancer.

      Many women (like myself) don’t have health insurance or the money to pay for regular health care & exams. For women in that position, early detection is rare and that has deadly consequences.

      • abq hippie says:

        I agree with both statements above. I feel like she wants to be this super woman at all times. It seems to me that her body is asking for a break and she keeps seeing it as an opportunity to be in the limelight and make money. Can’t she just relax? Take the time off and let her body be? Recover. Heal. Your career isn’t all there is to life. This whole idea of not gaining weight for her career, come on. Who is she kidding? She’s a reality figure and tv host.

        She will continue with these health issues until she realizes that her health (eating) is much more important than being thin and on tv.

  12. Kim says:

    God bless her. One of my best friends just went thru this and i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy. I wish her a speedy recovery and a great 2012.

  13. The Original Mia says:

    Well said.

  14. dena says:

    maybe I read too much Hollyweird gossip, but I think she pulled a stunt just so she could get implants.

  15. GT says:

    Exactly, I could not imagine nor do I ever hope I have to.

  16. funnygirl_2 says:

    I don’t understand why people are saying she should “relax”, if she was at home in bed she’d only be thinking about the cancer and feeling bad. She’s just getting on with things, whats her other alternative?

    And she does need to be thin and look glamourous for her job. She could hardly interview skinny celebs if she was overweight. Hollywood is ruthless; if she took too much time off to recuperate they might replace her with someone younger/thinner/hotter. Oh and I liked how she gave her actual diet too. She’s just telling it as it is. No one likes the truth. Hope she has a better 2012 and remains in good health 🙂