Keeping the faith
Giuliana Rancics successful battle against infertility and breast cancer was made possible by an unwavering faith in the good days to come.
Stricken by infertility, miscarriage and breast cancer, Giuliana Rancic had every reason to give in to her fears. Instead, she emerged stronger than ever.
We’ve all heard them well-worn clichés like “Bad news comes in twos/threes” and “Bad things happen to good people” that come up when talking about someones repeated misfortune.
For Giuliana Rancic, those words became much more than sympathetic banter. They formed a harsh reality the hugely popular “E! News” co-host could never have predicted when she and husband Bill began trying to conceive a child at the beginning of 2009. A successful attempt at in vitro fertilization (IVF) in March 2010 resulted in a miscarriage nine weeks later; another IVF transfer in November did not result in a pregnancy. The devastating setbacks didn’t seem real to the then-35-year-old Rancic.
“When it first happened to me, like a lot of women, I was so shocked,” Rancic says. “I was young and healthy, and I didn’t understand why I was having trouble getting pregnant. It was heartbreaking. There was a period of time where I felt broken. I thought, Whats wrong with me?”
Already reeling from the two failed efforts to get pregnant, Rancic would be hit with yet another crushing blow. While preparing for her third round of IVF in September 2011, her doctor directed her to undergo a mammogram. A cancerous tumor was discovered, and, in an instant, becoming pregnant was secondary to treating a life-threatening condition. Despite catching the cancer early, a double lumpectomy wasnt able to remove all the cancer, and she eventually underwent a double mastectomy in December 2011 in hopes of completely ridding herself of the disease. But physically and mentally, her struggles with health were taking their toll.
“It was tough. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” she says. “I was hopeful and positive every day, but I was mainly just trying to keep my eye on the prize. When you’re going through something like breast cancer especially, it’s very easy to think, ‘It’s over, my life is over,’ and you can’t really think straight. Youre not rational.”
Bill was her rock through the whole process, keeping her grounded and working with her doctors during the times she didn’t feel able to cope with everything she was facing. He was also by her side when they made the call to speak openly about her infertility, the miscarriage and eventually her fight against breast cancer on their reality documentary show, “Giuliana & Bill.”
“It was a very difficult decision to go public with something so incredibly private,” she says. “I realized that I had an amazing opportunity to share my story and to help other couples and women feel less alone in their journey. If I’m gonna go through something tough, I might as well try to look at the bright side and try to find something positive in the negative and help people with it. Were incredibly proud that we used our show to tackle important issues. This was one of those things.”
Along with Rancics strong faith and a lot of prayer, her family and friends formed a huge part of her support system. www.Brightpink.org , a national nonprofit organization focused on the risk reduction and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer, was founded by her friend Lindsay Avner, who had also undergone a double mastectomy. Avner proved to be a great source of information for Rancic. As her physical and mental recovery progressed, she was able to return to work and made the decision with Bill to try and get pregnant again.
After consulting with their fertility doctor, the choice was made to pursue a gestational surrogate to carry their child. The happy couple announced in April 2012 that their surrogate was pregnant, and they took the opportunity to again shine light on a subject that is rarely discussed. “For us, surrogacy was a great option,” she says. “We were very blessed to be able to go down that road. That was a topic that had a stigma attached to it and not a topic often seen on television. In retrospect, looking back Im thrilled that I did it.”
On Aug. 29, 2012, Edward Duke Rancic was welcomed into the world, and all the struggles Giuliana and Bill had undergone became worth the heartache. “The baby is incredible, wonderful,” she says. “We have such a good time being a family. It’s taken our marriage to another place. Bill and I are more of a unit now and feel like were stronger than ever.”
With the new addition to the family, free time is hard to come by. But when Rancic is able to pull herself away from Duke, she likes to sketch designs for her fashion line, G by Giuliana (Rancic has also co-hosted Fashion Police since 2010). Purchases of a necklace she designed in 2012 raised $3 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In partnership with www.Brightpink.org , she has also established Fab-U-Wish, an initiative that grants a dream wish to women who are currently undergoing or have received treatment in the past 12 months for breast and ovarian cancer. Helping support women who are going through what she endured is something Rancic holds dear.
Gathering her own inner strength wasnt always easy for Rancic, but faith and gratitude got her through the darkest times. “Even though I was struggling, I still never forgot how incredible my life was,” she says. “You have to keep in the back of your mind that because of all you’re going through, you’re going to come out of this a better person, a stronger person, and that will help you throughout the rest of your life. I have realized through the last four to five years that the more I envisioned good things, the more positive I remained and the more good comes to me.”
Which brings us to one final cliché, one that Rancics fans would be thrilled to toss her way good things come to those who wait.