Giuliana Rancic: "I Made a Choice to Live"

After her double mastectomy, the E! host tells iVillage exclusively why she's glad she took her health into her own hands

Just six weeks after her double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Giuliana Rancic is making strides to reclaim her life.

Though the E! News host -- who revealed she had breast cancer in October -- has jumped back into work and is hitting the award-season red carpet, she admits that the first week following her surgery (which she elected to do after a double lumpectomy failed to eliminate the cancer) felt like she’d been “hit by a truck. It’s emotionally draining, it’s physically draining, it’s psychologically draining,” she tells iVillage. “I would never have been believed that in five weeks I would feel so good.”

The TV host, 37, has been grateful for the support of her husband Bill Rancic and the fans who’ve reached out to her -- and have in turn inspired her. When iVillage sat down with her at a Glade Expressions event she hosted in New York City recently, she spoke honestly about her recovery, where she is on her quest to have children and why she’s thankful for the decision she made to take her life into her hands.

Have you been amazed about the outpouring of support since you were diagnosed with breast cancer?
I had no idea going into this that people would be as supportive as they were, and it warms my heart. It’s really nice to see that people have reached out and care and have told me about their own stories and that they’ve gotten mammograms due to my story. I actually know of a few cases of women who found out through my story that they had breast cancer. They’re all in their 30s and you know as much as that breaks my heart, they assured me that they’re happy that they found it early. They have a tough road ahead of them but thank God they caught it early. It makes me happy that I shared my story.

You’re doing a service for a lot of people by sharing your story.
Aw, thank you. I’m happy to do it.

What was the toughest part of the breast-cancer diagnosis and the mastectomy?
I think all of it. Obviously, the toughest part of the diagnosis is hearing you have it. Things get a little better from there because that’s your lowest point. The first week after the (mastectomy) was pretty awful. But you turn a corner after about a week and every day you start getting better and you start seeing hope. You have hope, whereas that first week you’re just going, “Oh my god, what happened to me? I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.” It’s emotionally draining, it’s physically draining, it’s psychologically draining. But that was five weeks ago and I already feel much better today. It’s incredible. I would never have been believed that in five weeks I would feel so good.

Did this bring up any body issues after what you went through with the mastectomy? And how did you cope with it?
You know, it’s funny. Before the mastectomy, I thought to myself, “Okay, I’m not going to like my body as much as I did before but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for my health. You know, I want to be around.” But I look in the mirror and I see the scars and I kind of see the surgery and it’s really easy to fall into like a sad place. But I think to myself, “Wow, I took my health into my own hands. I made a major decision to just survive and live and be healthy.” And these scars will always remind me of that and I feel empowered by my scars. I do, I really do. And people will tell me when they saw me at the Globes or they’ll see me at events, “You look better now than you did before surgery.” (Laughs.)

I just feel like I did a really good thing, you know what I mean? I made a choice that wasn’t based on vanity I took my health into my own hands. I just made a choice to live and I’m so happy that I made that choice. I don’t regret it at all, I’m really happy I did it.

Talk to me about Bill, and what his support has meant for you.
Five weeks after my surgery I’m in a really good place and I don’t think I would be in this place if it weren’t for Bill. Bill went above and beyond his call of duty of being a husband. The best thing I think Bill did and what more husbands need to do is he would ask me, “Do you need anything?” and I would say no and then he’d ask me again and I’d say no and he’d ask me again. I think that’s important because women are the ones who are used to kind of putting the Band-Aid on the kid’s knee or taking care of our husbands. “Oh, honey, you feel sick. Let me go out and get you medicine.” It’s really hard for us to say, “I feel sick. Take care of me.” A lot of times the husband will ask one time and you say “I’m fine” and they walk away. But Bill was very good at really driving home the fact that I want to help you, I’m here for you and let me take care of you.

Where are you in the process...
With kids? As Bill says, one marathon at a time. You know, we’re trying to get through this marathon. Do we want kids one day? Absolutely. How we’re going to get them we’re not sure yet. But yeah, we want kids. We’ll have little Rancics one day, for sure. But right now, to be honest, we’re not doing anything with the kid stuff. We’re just trying to focus on really getting past this all, getting back to work and just kind of trying to move on from it a little bit.

Serena Kappes is iVillage's Entertainment Editorial Director. Follow her on Twitter: @serenakappes

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