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Giuliana Rancic talks double mastectomy: 'It was hell'

On Oct. 17, E! News co-host and reality TV star Giuliana Rancic visited TODAY and revealed that in the midst of fertility treatments, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then she and husband Bill Rancic have remained open with her personal and medical progress.

On Friday morning, just weeks after Giuliana underwent a double mastectomy, she and Bill visited TODAY once more to look back on what she's been through so far.

"I feel great," Giuliana told TODAY host Matt Lauer. "I've 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."

Keeping a positive attitude in place has proved an important part of that recovery. In fact, Bill recalls that her upbeat outlook kicked in early, even as she headed into surgery.

"They'd given her something to relax her," he explained. "So she was cracking jokes as they were wheeling her away. I've never seen anything like it. She was in pretty good spirits."

While Giuliana also remembers asking the hospital staff if they were ready to party just before the procedure, she doesn't want to give the wrong impression. While she maintained an easy-going attitude, there was nothing easy-going about having a double mastectomy.

"It was definitely hard," she said. "I knew this was going to be a tough surgery. I in no way want to minimize it. Yes, I'm two and a half weeks out, (but) my gosh ... Up until a week and a half ago, it was hell. It was horrible."

That's because, in addition to post-surgical pain, Giuliana struggled with sickness brought on by the painkillers. To make matters worse, Bill was put in the unenviable position of having to get her up and out of bed while she suffered.

"Well the doctor gave me strict orders and said, 'By 3 o'clock you have to have her walking around or at least up by the bed.' And we just did it slowly," he recalled. "She was not happy with me, but we did it. As soon as she got up and started taking her first couple of steps, she was walking around the hallways of the hospital."

That's when he saw his wife's positive approach kick in again.

"She wanted to set the record," Bill said. "She went up to one of the nurses and said, 'What's the record for the most laps around the ward in the hospital?'"

"It was two, and I did two and a half," Giuliana was quick to add.

Now the couple looks forward to the new year, and putting the past behind them, though they'll likely continue to share the details of Giuliana's health with the public. That's because they believe it serves a purpose beyond them.  

"She wanted to turn the negative into a positive," Bill explained. "I think the response — the number of people who've said, 'I went 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're turning this negative into an incredible positive. "

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