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ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday that his girlfriend, food TV star Sandra Lee, is expected to leave the hospital in a couple of days after being rushed there in pain Tuesday night.
Lee's spokeswoman has said the 49-year-old entrepreneur and author has been fighting an infection stemming from her double mastectomy operation on May 19.
"She is. . . she will be. . . fine," Cuomo told NY1 Friday. "Her spirits are good. She has a very 'up' personality and that is helpful. She is optimistic ... she's tough and she's a fighter."ColumnOfficial: Cuomo's girlfriend fights infectionStorySandra Lee publicly thanks doctorsStorySandra Lee home after breast cancer surgery
Physicians on Thursday were trying to identify and combat the infection, Lee's spokeswoman said.
Cuomo said he will take time off to care for Lee at home. He has spent much of the time since Tuesday night at her hospital bedside.
Cuomo praised Lee for going public with her decision to have surgery when the early stages of breast cancer were detected and to urge women to get screened for cancer.
"They wouldn't have had a test if not for Sandy," Cuomo said. "I think she did a great public service."
Cuomo said he knows he works too much, a trait he attributes to his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died earlier this year. "But on this, I made a point of spending time in the hospital," Cuomo said. "Family first."
"It is really a tough, tough and long road," he said of Lee's recovery from breast cancer. "I have tremendous respect for the women who have dealt with this and I am going to get very involved in the issue itself."
Cuomo, 57, and Lee have been together for 10 years. They share her Westchester County house where Cuomo's daughters split time with their mother, Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of slain Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.