This battle takes a lot out of a person, emotionally and physically, but this actress still has some fighting spirit.
90210 actress Shannen Doherty has been fighting cancer for some time now and for a while, it was in remission, but the battle is long from over. She revealed recently that her breast cancer was back and it was Stage IV.
"It's going to come out in a matter of days or a week that -- I'm stage four. So my cancer came back. And that's why I'm here," Doherty told ABC News' Amy Robach in an interview that aired Tuesday on Good Morning America. "I don't think I've processed it. It's a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways... I definitely have days where I say why me. And then I go, well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this? None of us do. But I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how -- how am I going to tell my mom, my husband."
She was first diagnosed in March 2015 and has not shied away from sharing her battle scars with anyone since then. She went into remission in 2017 but it was back in 2019. However, this time she did not want to draw attention to herself and went back to work on the set of the 90210 reboot, which was shot a few months after her former co-star and friend Luke Perry passed away.
"It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first," said Doherty, according to People. "It was really, like, shocking."
She said she chose to do the reboot to honor Perry and to show that nobody's life is over once they get the diagnosis. "People with stage four can work, too. Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do," she said, according to Time.
The 48-year-old Charmed star, who is married to celebrity photographer Kurt Iswarienko, had spoken about how her disease affected their relationship. "Cancer solidified us," Doherty, who has been married since 2011 to Iswarienko, told People. "Kurt and I have a much deeper appreciation for each other now."
Reflecting on her relationship she said, "It’s not that our marriage wasn’t good before. But we were definitely going through some growing pains. We would lock horns on things, and instead of resolving it, we wouldn’t speak for a couple of days." They no longer let a "night go by mad at each other," said she in August 2019. "The last time we had a big argument was pre-cancer."
The North Shore actress has come to realize that cancer changes everyone it touches, directly and indirectly. "For anybody to think that the only person altered by cancer is the person with cancer is incredibly wrong," she said. "Cancer alters the people in your life. And it’s shaped both of us. We look at life very differently now."
Having a supportive partner makes things easier, which is crucial during this hard battle. One of the biggest challenges people have to overcome can be facing themselves and their new body post-surgery. Doherty had eschewed the traditional breast reconstruction after a mastectomy and opted for DIEP flap, an innovative breast reconstruction using your own skin and tissue, according to Health.com.
Her cancer had spread to the lymph nodes and the doctors had to remove a lot under her armpit. "I could almost feel my rib cage, and it was really bothering me," she told Health.com.
Slowly, the Mallrats actress realized that she doesn't need to be a "sexy little vixen." "How Kurt sees me really helps me be a better person. He was always like, 'I’ve never seen someone handle something so difficult with so much grace. You’re so strong.' And I figured out, it’s a quiet strength. And that is far sexier and appealing than I had before," she told People.
Now, it's not physical appearance but strength which she finds sexy. "For me now, sexy is strength. Sexy is vulnerability. Sexy is compassion. Sexy is grace. Why should I care so much about the physical shell?" she told Health.com.
And her husband, her "rock" was crucial in coming to this realization. "Kurt and I look at each other with such profound respect now. He was my rock in every way possible, and he made sure I knew how much he loved and valued me. We have a much deeper appreciation [for each other] now, and a much larger capacity for forgiveness," said the Charmed actress.
We wish her all the best in the long battle with cancer.