The 45-year-old actress – who had a single mastectomy in May – admitted she is worried about the future because so much is “unknown”.
- She said: “The unknown is always the scariest part. Is the chemo going to work? Is the radiation going to work? You know, am I going to have to go through this again, or am I going to get secondary cancer?
“Everything else is manageable. Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it’s the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love.”
But Doherty has found amazing support from her team of doctors, including the surgeon who performed her mastectomy.
“He didn’t want me to wake up with absolutely nothing,” she recalls. “It was very important to him that I didn’t have that experience, and so, he put an expander in, so I have a tiny something there. It’s cute and sometimes we fill it up and make it bigger, and sometimes we reduce it.”
- “I’m being so personal right now,” she acknowledges. “But I think a lot of women can probably go, ‘Yeah, I’ve been through that.’ It’s great though, you get to pick out what size you want.”
Still, Doherty did have an emotional reaction to getting fitted for a new bra.
“It was traumatic and horrible, and I didn’t think anything of it at the time, then my mom went with me and I broke down crying in the dressing room and ran out,” she recalls, now able to laugh about it. “And then sat in the car crying.”
Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015, and has undergone three out of eight rounds of chemotherapy so far. One of the more difficult experiences has been losing her iconic hair — the long dark locks and blunt bangs she has sported since her Brenda Walsh days.
Thankfully the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress has the support of her mom, best friends, and her husband of five years, Kurt Iswarienko. With their help she was able to turn a heartbreaking moment into an inspiring one when she shared photos of herself shaving her head earlier this month.
Doherty, who wears scarves over her head — some personally sent to her by designer Diane von Furstenberg — also candidly describes her intense battle with the disease.
“I am in bed and it is a rush to the bathroom,” she says about her after-chemo experience. “It’s, you know, you’re throwing up every single second. After my first treatment I lost 10 pounds, instantly. You’re throwing up and the last thing you want to do is be in a car. You don’t want to be moved, you can’t eat. But my husband has to, you know, pick me up. He puts me in the car, he buckles me in, and he drives me to my oncologist and they hook me up to an IV and I get hydrated. … There’s nothing going in my body, it’s all going out.”
Doherty admits to being self-conscious about her appearance. Though, above all, she hopes to inspire others fighting cancer.