People Magazine’s coverage of Giuliana Rancic‘s difficult decision to opt for a bilateral mastectomy is pissing me off. At first I thought it was her. I was a little angry, not that she had come to this heart wrenching decision, but that it was news. Then I realized it wasn’t the poor woman I was upset with, it was that it is news. When I go to People Magazine for uplifting gossip, I’m looking for something juicy, like Lindsey was arrested (again) or Snooki was drunk (again), I’m not looking for a piece of my own life. Giuliana Rancic’s decision is one that I believe will cause women to prematurely have their breasts removed, when perhaps it isn’t the best decision for their particular cancer.
“Who are you to talk?,” you might ask me, and you’d be right to question my persnicketiness. I, who had her own breasts removed when faced with the same disease, who AM I to say that her publicizing her cancer could do more harm than good? It’s like this– Breast Cancer is a pussy fighter. I’ve said it again and again. Just because Giuliana chooses to have her perky pirates walk their last plank doesn’t mean every woman with Breast Cancer can do the same. Some women CAN’T get away with just surgery, as she can. I feel very fortunate that I was able to avoid radiation and chemotherapy with the decision to amputate my festering cancer-factories. But just because I can doesn’t mean you can, do you get it?
Christina Applegate, Wanda Sykes, now Giuliana Rancic, are lucky to be part of the “caught you early, you dirty dog of a disease” club. But Edie Falco, G-d bless her, was in the throws of Carmela Soprano when The Guys in the White Van caught her, and she chose to stay under the wire. She went through chemo and lost her hair, and no one was the wiser.
In some ways, I respect Edie Falco’s decision to keep it to herself more than I do the decision for surgery. Now, don’t get me wrong, publicity is great if it keeps women from getting Cancer. But it also glamorizes a surgery that is quite horrific. The Hollywood type of woman will have little belly fat to do a flap transplant, so most likely, these women will choose to reconstruct with implants. I hope to G-d someone tells them that breast reconstruction is NOT the same as a boob job. Giuliana needs to know that she will loose all feeling in her breasts if she chooses implant reconstruction. If the cancer spread to her lymph nodes, which my latest read indicated not, her surgery will be easier, but if it has, she will never be able to carry a Cartier-bejeweled handbag on the red carpet again. I know she says she isn’t defined by her breasts, but she will find she IS defined by her lack of breasts–she will become a ‘Cancer Patient.” For the rest of her life. Even though she wont have to go for check ups and mammograms every few months or so, she will have to have MRIs occasionally to make sure her implants are not leaking and killing her. It is a fair tradeoff though–she will get to live longer, hopefully.
So, now I know I’m not mad at poor Giuliana Rancic. I am mad, however, at the attention her version of the story is getting. Every day, women are faced with the same difficult decision–so please–read her story, get inspired by it, but don’t cut off your t-shirt taters unless you’ve thought it through good and long. Remember, a mastectomy is NOT a boob job, and even the best plastic surgeon can’t improve on what G-d gives us. I will be praying for Giuliana on December 13, when People says she is scheduled for surgery. She will need all the prayers she can get.