Rene Syler Oprah Video: Why She Had Her Breasts Removed

by Paula Neal Mooney

"Why I Cut Off My Breasts"

That was the intriguing title of an Oprah show about Rene Syler, a CBS "The Early Show" co-anchor -- who I didn't even know was fired without warning Dec. 1.

Looks like those steps were ordered by the Lord, however.

Rene Syler had her CBS finale on Dec. 22 then underwent a bilateral mastectomy Jan. 9, followed by reconstructive breast surgery. Her final operation was March 8.

But the so-called controversial thing about 44-year-old Rene's case was that she didn't have cancer...yet.

"Only God can judge me..."
Watching the video of Rene Syler on Oprah, at first I was as judgmental as Job's friends over Rene's decision to have her breasts removed as a preemptive measure to cancer.

If only she trusted God more and didn't live with the fear of getting cancer, I thought to myself.

But learning more about how Rene Syler suffered for five years through cancer scares, abnormal mammograms, painful biopsies and lumpectomies -- mostly in the same breast that left her with mostly chest wall on her left side -- I grew more compassionate.

Both Rene Syler's mother and father had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she knew she could be next.

How dare I judge Rene, I realized, remembering that I wanted plastic surgery for reasons of vanity, not because of threats to my life.

Rene Syler's mastectomy
Oprah's show followed Rene Syler -- as she wanted them to -- throughout the night before her surgery to right before she went under the knife -- crying and asking her husband if she was doing the right thing.

"You're in good hands," her husband said. "You're in God's hands."

Rene Syler's New Book, New Breasts
Rene Syler chronicles her mastectomy in her new book, Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting, which includes the chapter, "Double Whammy, or How to Lose Your Breasts and Your Job in Five Short Weeks."

Ultimately, Rene Syler did an amazing thing and gave the ultimate sacrifice, giving up her breasts to be blessed with a longer life -- time to be a wife and mother to her two children.

I'm glad Rene is happy now. She beamed: "I have teenage breasts now!"

Oprah used the back of her hand to test how perky Rene's new breast implants are. And oh wonderful of wonderful of goals for a woman: Rene Syler says she never has to wear a bra any longer.

But most wonderfully, Rene feels healthy and born anew.

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zaki said…
Wow...interesting life story. Yea...we should be more grateful that we're healthy.
Luckily she had a great attitude and determination....
Wow, wonderful story, when I first heard about the story I thought frankly she had gone crazy, however seeing what she has gone trough I definately understand why she did what she did.
Laura said…
I have actually known some other women who have done this very thing because of the family history of breast cancer. They felt it was just a matter of time before they got it. Cancer is such an awful disease! My heart certainly goes out to Rene.

Off-topic, but I got your comment on my blog about e-mail. Are you still having trouble with subscription link? From my end, it looks like it is working. Can you e-mail me with the errors you are getting? (Sorry to go off topic like this.)
James said…
Paula, I saw a part of this broadcast, facinating TV, I hate Oprah shows but this one on Renee was very compelling. I wondered about her husband, I did not see him on the show.
JA Huber said…
I heard about this but didn't get to see it. Thanks for posting. Ms. Syler is a strong woman, but having known women who lost their lives to breast cancer, I understand why she did it.
kweenkong said…
Thanks so much for posting this! I liked Rene on CBS and never really knew all of what was going on with her. It's really cool that she has 2 teens. That I didn't know either :-)
KWiz said…
Rene Syler is such a beautiful woman, and like you, I did not know she was fired from CBS's "The Early Show." But thank you for posting this, Paula. Indeed, we see people as visible as she and think they have no problems when, yet, they go through the same trials and tribulations as we all do. And thankfully, she took a proactive approach to her illness. How incredibly brave of her to have the surgery, and how incredibly brave of her to share it on Oprah.

Thank you again, Paula, for such wonderful reporting!

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