brightcove.createExperiences(); Angela “Big Ang” Raiola is tearfully opening up about her devastating stage 4 cancer diagnosis for the first time – and revealing the shocking news that she has split from her husband Neil Murphy.
“I felt like he never stepped up to the plate, so I was done with it,” the Mob Wives star said on The Dr. Oz Show on Tuesday. “Now, it’s too late. I would rather be by myself. I would rather be alone.”
Well, not entirely alone – Raiola, 55, has two children, six grandchildren and a big extended family including her sister Janine Detore, who brings her to every doctor appointment.
“If it wasn’t for them, how would I get through this?” she told Dr. Mehmet Oz.
On Tuesday, Raiola said doctors have given her a dire prognosis: She has a 30 percent chance of survival.
“It’s shocking what happened,” she said. “First I thought I was cancer-free. I was gonna have a big celebration and then a month later I was stage 4.”
Raiola – a lifelong smoker and the niece of a late New York crime boss – underwent multiple surgeries to remove a lemon-sized tumor that doctors discovered in April. By October, she was told she’d beaten the disease and, besides a scar from ear-to-ear that she hides with a scarf, was healthy.
Then, physicians found a mass in her left lung, which they removed a week later.
“They say you’re cancer-free, you beat it twice, what’s the odds?” she recalled. “I’m like, oh God, I’m a lucky person.”
But during a check-up appointment in December, the reality personality learned the cancer had returned, spreading to her brain and right lung.
“I was completely devastated. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I feel like I went deaf,” she said, crying. “I was like, oh, this is going too fast for me. Now I’m just hysterical.”
Raiola underwent chemotherapy, but the treatment didn’t work, and her tumors appear to be growing in size. So now, she is beginning immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system rather than chemicals to fight diseases, according to the American Cancer Society.
It’s a change that Raiola, who counts four bald spots on her head and numberous sores on her skin after only just beginning chemo, welcomes.
“It’s destroying me,” she said. “I can’t even believe what I look like.”