Since going public in a prerecorded interview with Good Morning America co-host and fellow breast cancer survivor, Robin Roberts, with her battle against breast cancer on May 12, 2015, celebrity chef Sandra Lee has struggled with post-surgery complications. On Aug. 4, she was admitted to the hospital because of pain and fluid buildup around the site of her double mastectomy. Long time boyfriend and current governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, departed Billy Joel’s farewell concert at the soon-to-be-closed Nassau Coliseum to join his significant other immediately after he was informed of the situation.
The Food Network star remained in the hospital until Friday. She was allowed to return to the Westchester County house she shares with Cuomo and his two daughters while still on a heavy dose of antibiotics and under close monitoring, but her respite may be short-lived. Doctors announced that she will need to return to the hospital early next week for review and possibly another surgery. However, the first thing that must occur is that her infection must be identified and treated so that it no longer poses a threat.
The chef’s post-mastectomy journey has not been easy. As it is for every patient, surgery was only the first step in her struggle to free herself from the disease
The exact cause of the infection that the chef contracted has not been publicly released. Dr. Julian Kim, division chief of surgical oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, speculates that an infection may have developed near one of Lee’s breast implants, which were put in as part of her reconstructive surgery following the double mastectomy. An infection similar to Lee’s occurs in two to five percent of women after breast cancer surgery, according to Kim.
The cookbook author has other medical conditions that make her battle with breast cancer harder than it would be for a woman who does not struggle with similar disorders. She was diagnosed with lupus anticoagulant, an autoimmune condition that causes her to be more likely to develop blood clots than the average person, before she was diagnosed with cancer. “With cancer, it’s not always the cancer, it’s the side issues that can kill you — that’s why you can’t assume it’s the mastectomy,” an unnamed friend said.
In spite of her difficulties, Gov. Cuomo remarked that Lee’s upbeat personality and positivity has helped her cope with the ups and downs she has faced since her diagnosis. “She’s optimistic and she’s tough and she’s a fighter,” he added. Cuomo said that has cleared his schedule so that he can continue to be available to provide whatever support Lee needs in her continuing battle with breast cancer.
By Martina Robinson
Guardian Liberty Voice: Sandra Lee Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Daily News: Sandra Lee, Girlfriend of Andrew Cuomo, Heads Home from Hospital But Could Need More Surgery
New York Post: Sandra Lee rushed to Hospital
MyCentralOregon.com: Sandra Lee Highlights Post-Mastectomy Difficulties
Radar Online: Sandra Lee Terrified That Preexisting Condition Adding To Troubles Amid Breast Cancer Battle — Latest Details In Celeb Chef’s Health Crisis
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In-line Image Courtesy of Andrew Dallos’s Flickr Page