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Report: Rep. Mell Recovering After Breast Cancer Surgery

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State Rep. Deb Mell lives near an uncompleted building project. (CBS)

State Rep. Deb Mell lives near an uncompleted building project. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois State Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) has undergone surgery to for breast cancer and is now recovering, according to published reports Tuesday.

The Chicago Phoenix reports Mell is recovering from a bilateral mastectomy at the University of Chicago Medicine. She underwent immediate reconstruction after the mastectomy, and is awaiting a second reconstructive surgery, the Phoenix reported.

Mell’s surgeon, Dr. Nora Jaskowiak, says the lawmaker is “out of the woods,” and is “expected to do very well,” the Phoenix reported. Since the cancer is not in Mell’s lymph nodes and the tissue around the excised tumor is not cancerous, Mell is believed to be cancer free, Jaskowiak said in the Phoenix report.

Mell’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43. The state lawmaker says after learning from her mother’s experience, and speaking with other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and with her wife, Christin, she decided to go ahead with the surgery, the Phoenix reported.

Mell was first elected to office in 2008. She is the daughter of longtime Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), and she is the sister-in-law of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. She regularly attended Blagojevich’s trials, sitting next to her sister, Patti, to provide comfort.

She was also a co-sponsor of the legislation that legalized same-sex civil unions in Illinois, and has also co-sponsored pending legislation to legalize gay marriage in Illinois.

Mell married her own longtime partner, Christin Baker, in Iowa last year.

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