‘Real Housewives’ Vicki Gunvalson: I never realized cancer was painful

Written by By Landon Barrett, CNN

“Real Housewives of Orange County” alum Vicki Gunvalson suffered an uncomfortable secret.

After doctors discovered she had stage-three breast cancer — cancer spreading into lymph nodes and lymph nodes — she had to decide if she wanted a lumpectomy or whether to undergo a double mastectomy, and, if so, what she would have done with her breasts afterwards.

Vicki gunvalson. Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images North America

She chose double mastectomy and after surgery she says she was brought face-to-face with her choice.

“I wanted to make the best decision for me, and my mother and my wife,” she said. “And I felt extremely guilty because you know, we put ourselves on TV, and people watch that and they’re thinking oh, I have one of those anyway.”

Adding to her guilt, she added, “I’m not standing there and holding my breasts with a little trophy that I don’t really look like in real life.

“So that was really hard, even though I felt confident in who I was and I know that I wouldn’t have changed anything. In many ways I still wouldn’t have done anything differently.”

All of these personal details came to light during an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, in which Gunvalson also claims she “had second thoughts” when thinking about her boys.

“I would have thought that they needed me in this so I didn’t want to deny myself the right to be a mom and to be with my children,” she said.

“I never really thought about my kids that I could have the opportunity to spend my life with them… I was trying to take on that and the reality of how it is: You always want more.”

It was at the end of this process that Gunvalson says she felt she understood herself better, given her experience with cancer.

“I honestly don’t think I realized what that’s all about until I had it,” she told Cosmopolitan. “I used to have so many times where I would have to fall to the ground, and I would be fighting so hard, and I would wind up in the next hospital.

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