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Sandra Lee Is ‘Finally’ Finishing Breast Reconstruction 4 Years After Mastectomy Complications

Julie Mazziotta
Sandra Lee Is ‘Finally’ Finishing Breast Reconstruction 4 Years After Mastectomy Complications

Almost five years since her diagnosis and four years since a “grueling” double mastectomy, Sandra Lee is finally getting her fresh start.

The celebrity chef and lifestyle expert has started on a series of surgeries to reconstruct her breasts, which was put on hold after she developed an infection from her 2015 double mastectomy.

A source tells PEOPLE that Lee was just four days removed from her first breast reconstruction surgery when she attended Entertainment Weekly’s Pre-SAG Awards Party on Saturday.

“It was just four days after a seven-hour, intense surgery,” the source said.

Lee has two more surgeries scheduled in 2020.

The bestselling author has also lost 25 lbs. and has “never felt better,” the source added.

Lee opted to undergo a double mastectomy in May 2015, soon after publicly revealing that she had been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. She initially shared that the surgery had gone well, but that August, she was rushed to the hospital with a mastectomy-related infection.

“I did my very best to avoid this (when I tell you I did everything, I mean everything – modern, Eastern and holistic) but infection is an incredible monster,” Lee shared at the time.

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Lee started on reconstructive surgery in 2016, telling PEOPLE then that it was a difficult process.

“It’s a really intense thing, having that operation,” she said in June 2016. “Being put out, it’s lights out. You go, ‘Oh God, please sweet Lord, take care of me while I’m here.’ ”

She’s now finishing that reconstructive process because she wanted to let her body fully heal before putting it through additional surgeries, the source says. Lee also expressed guilt over her ability to afford breast reconstruction and early cancer screenings when so many others cannot.

“Early diagnosis just gives you the opportunity to be the most aggressive that you can be,” she told PEOPLE in Oct. 2018. “It’s the best treatment.”