Healing from her double mastectomy, the comedian opens up about her breast cancer battle

By Julie Jordan
Updated October 27, 2011 02:20 PM
Peter Yang

Wanda Sykes says it didn’t take her long to decide to have both breasts removed.

“I just wanted the best odds,” the comedian, 47, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I made my decision because I love life.”

Sykes was diagnosed with DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ], a noninvasive type of breast cancer, after having a breast reduction in February. “My first thought was, ‘Really? Me, breast cancer?’ I just couldn’t believe it,” she says. “But I knew this was doable.”

The comedian underwent a bilateral mastectomy in August, and spent the next month healing at home with her wife, Alex. “I was miserable. Every day I had to change the bandages and look at it, and it was not pretty at all,” says Sykes. “I just wanted my life back.”

Sykes returned to her stand-up tour a month later and says her recovery was expedited by the support of her friends and family, including Alex and their twins, 2-year-old Olivia and Lucas.

“We never hid anything from the kids. They were a huge part of my decision because I wanted to be around for them,” Sykes says. “I feel whole again, I really do. I’ve told them, ‘Mommy’s boo-boo is much better now.’ ”

For Sykes’s exclusive interview in full, pick up the Nov. 7 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday