Usually on the morning talk shows to demonstrate her latest recipe, Sandra Lee sat down this morning as a guest with a more serious story. The celebrity chef and author revealed with Good Morning America on Thursday that she is battling breast cancer.
The 48-year-old told GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts, who is herself a breast cancer survivor, about the moment she got the news while doing a photo shoot for the Most Beautiful issue of People magazine on March 27.
"I walked off the set, and 20 minutes later my doctor called and told me I had breast cancer," she said. "I didn't even cry, I was stunned … You know, and that's just how fast life turns. It turns on a dime."
The lifestyle mogul said she luckily caught the cancer early, had a lumpectomy and is preparing for another surgery. "When the lumpectomy was done, they did not have clean margins. And so I went back to my radiologist," she said.
Her doctors also recommended that she have a mastectomy. "And so I said, 'OK. If I'm going to have a mastectomy, am I supposed to just get one done?' Both the radiologist and the doctor said, 'You're a ticking time bomb.' And they both said, 'You need — I would just get them both done,'" Sandra added.
When asked whom she told the sad news to first, Sandra revealed it was her sister followed by her partner, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "After I called my sister, he was the next call. I think he was as stunned as I was." She went on to say her beau has been "extremely supportive" adding, "he's going to be in the operating room with me."
In a statement released Tuesday by the governor’s office, Andrew Cuomo said he was "devastated," but thankful the cancer was detected early.
"A situation like this quickly puts life in the proper perspective and reminds one of what’s truly important. To that end, I expect to take some personal time because I want to be with Sandy to support her in any way I can as she handles the trauma of her operation and the pain of the recovery,” he said. “For those of you familiar with Sandy’s life story it will not surprise you that she has met this latest challenge with determination, resolve and grace."
During the interview, Sandra encouraged women to get early screenings. "I'm 48 years old. I've got — I've got a couple years till 50 ... If I would have waited, I probably wouldn't even be sitting here," she said. "Girls in their 20s and their 30s just have to know. And I don't want women to wait. And that's why I'm talking … If it saves one person, and makes one more person go get a mammogram, and if they're sitting down right now watching this, don't watch this TV. Go pick your phone up, and call your doctor and get your rear end in there and get a mammogram right now."