TODAY   |  December 30, 2011

Rancic ‘great’ after surgery, but ‘still a ways to go’

TV host Giuliana Rancic and husband Bill tell TODAY’s Matt Lauer that Giuliana feels better than expected after her double mastectomy on Dec. 13, but that the surgery was “hell.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> morning on "today's update" giuliana rancic 's bat well breast cancer . we've been following her progress since she first announced her diagnosis on this program. we'll catch up with ghoul ya-ya and husband bill but first a little bit more of that irstory. for years she's been a familiar face to fans who followed her on television as a co-anchor on e! news.

>> they save their biggest secrets for us.

>> and gracing the red carpets for major hollywood events. giuliana rancic 's infectious smiles caught the attention of season one inwinner of "apprenti "apprentice" bill rancic .

>> you're hired.

>> the two were married and chronicled their lives together on the style network reality show " giuliana and bill." on the show the couple shared their struggle to have a family while undergoing fertility treatments, giuliana learned something stunning about her health, something she revealed here on "today" in october.

>> i have early stages of breast cancer .

>> reporter: giuliana underwent a double lumpectomy but earlier this month came the news more treatment was needed.

>> i'm going to go ahead and move forward with a double mastectomy. all it came down to was just choosing to live and not looking over my shoulder.

>> reporter: two weeks after undergoing a double mastectomy, giuliana and bill were out greeting fans at an event in santa monica , california, and on tuesday, giuliana returned to her post on e! news.

>> ed so go to be back. thank you for your love, your support, your prayers, means the world to me so thank you so much.

>> giuliana and bill rancic , easiest question how do you feel?

>> great. i got to be honest, i feel great considering it has only been about two and a half weeks but i still have a ways to go as far as the recovery.

>> i think people have really appreciated your openness, your honesty through this process, especially in interviews here. i'm curious the morning of the surgery, the day of the surgery what was your emotional state ? what was the question, the last question you wanted to ask the surgeon before you went in for the procedure.

>> oh, gosh, when i was going into the procedure i was acting so crazy.

>> they had given her something to relax her so she was cracking jokes with them as they're wheeling her away. i've never seen anything like it so she was in pretty good spirits.

>> i was but went in i said are we having a party? i was trying to have a good attitude.

>> surgery is over, i know the first day where from what i've read was tough.

>> oh, yeah.

>> and again since you've been so open and honest, take me through a little bit of that.

>> it was definitely hard. i knew this was going to be a tough surgery but i in no way want to minimize it. i'm two and a half weeks out but up until a week and a half ago it was hell. it was horrible.

>> you were on morphine. you were sick to your stomach

>> absolutely.

>> pain still even though you were on morphine.

>> sure.

>> and you were afraid not to get too graphic you were afraid to throw up because you felt it would hurt.

>> absolutely. and it did. you know, what happened was i went into surgery at about 4:00 p.m . i got out about 9:30 p.m ., and by 4:00 a.m ., i had to get off the morphine because i was so sick, and i thought to myself, either i have to deal with the pain from the surgery, or i'm going to have to throw up, and the last thing i wanted to do was throw up, considering i had just had my chest operated on and you have to engage all your chest muscles.

>> exactly.

>> so it was not good.

>> you have been there physically and emotionally. you are cheerleader number one, but there's no faster way to become the worst husband in the world trying to force your wife to get up and walk on the first few days after surgery which is what the doctors require. what was she like?

>> the doctors gave me strict orders and said at 3:00 you have to have her walking around and up out of bed. she was not happy with me. as soon as she took the first couple of steps she was walking around the hallways of the hospital and wanted to set the record, she went up to one of the nurses, what's the record for the most laps around the ward in the hospital.

>> it was two and i did two and a half.

>> i was watching the tape of you back on e! news, gesturing with your arms. how much mobility and flexibility, how much soreness?

>> i realized on our flight i can't turn much to put my seat belt on for instance. bill still has to help me. he has to help me get in and out of bed and i can't put my arms above my head. people have to help me get dressed so it's limited mobility, a lot of pain but.

>> back to work in two weeks and maybe i should ask you this question, not giuliana . are you ever worried in her effort to be so strong and to set such a good example for other people, other women across the country, that she's pushing this too hard?

>> well we don't do anything without the doctor's approval, and i think this is something that she was, you know, intent on doing. she wanted to turn the negative into a positive and i think the response and the number of people who said i went in and got my first mammogram or my wife got her first mammogram, it's worth it. if you can save one life through this process you turn the negative into an incredible positive

>> to be honest, matt, i had a goal to go back towork this week. if i couldn't have made it --

>> you wouldn't have forced yourself.

>> no, i would have gone the next week or the week after but it is a goal and helps you recover quicker. it was having that light at the end of the tunnel , the date i wanted to get back to work helped me heal quicker.

>> you'll be in times square tomorrow night for new year's eve, something you wanted to do as well.

>> yeah, uh-huh.

>> first of all let's get rid of 2011 for your family and look forward to 2012 .

>> we are excited, hosting the nivia kiss stage at times square and not looking back. as soon as 2012 comes in we're moving full steam ahead.

>> we need a good year, matt.