Celebrity

Shannen Doherty Opens Up About Her 10-Hour Surgery And Coping With Cancer

Three years ago, Beverly Hills 90210 alum Shannen Doherty's life changed forever. The actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015, but it wasn't until August of that year that she shared the devastating news with the world.

"Yes, I have breast cancer, and I am currently undergoing treatment," she said. "I am continuing to eat right, exercise and stay very positive about my life. I am thankful to my family, friends and doctors for their support and, of course, my fans who have stood by me."

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Ever since, Doherty has been very open and candid about her fight against the horrible disease. She often used social media, including Instagram, to update her fans on her journey, including everything from her coping mechanisms, to getting a mastectomy, and shaving her head after two rounds of chemotherapy.

"After my second treatment, my hair was really matted, like in dreadlocks. And I went to try and brush it out, and it just fell out," she recalled. "I just remember holding onto huge clumps of my hair in my hands and just running to my mom crying, like, 'My hair, my hair, my hair, my hair.'"

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Despite being scared, the ever so brave Doherty later shared photos of her head shaved off.

"We did stages. We did a pixie," she said. "And then we did a mohawk, which was my favorite look. And then finally we had to get the shaver thing and just buzz it off."

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The Charmed star's intense battle continued for two years, and thankfully, she was able to emerge as a winner.

On April 28, 2017, she took to Instagram to announce that the cancer has officially gone into remission.

"Moments. They happen. Today was and is a moment. What does remission mean? I heard that word and have no idea how to react," she captioned a photo of her sitting on the ground, face buried in the crook of her arm, presumably overwhelmed with the news. "Good news? YES. Overwhelming. YES. Now more waiting," wrote Doherty in an Instagram post.

She continued, "In the meantime, decisions. Reconstruction which is several surgeries. Decision on taking a pill for the next five years that comes with its own set of problems and side effects. I am blessed, I know that. But for now.... remission. I'm going to just breathe. #cancerslayer"

The 46-year-old started making more public appearances in the months that followed and even returned to work not too long after.

A few months ago, fans became a bit concerned after Doherty revealed that her tumor test came back "elevated," but she has since reassured them that she's still in remission.

In fact, she recently shared an update about her reconstructive surgery and how she's coping with the long recovery process.

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In an emotional Instagram post, the actress said she had the 10-hour surgery back in May and has struggled with insecurities about her body since.

"Prior to having my diep stacked reconstructive surgery, I was required to gain weight to stretch my skin. I did. I stopped working out and ate. I gained the 7 pounds required,” Doherty wrote on Instagram. “I’ve felt heavy, unattractive and I’ve beaten myself up often about it until I’m reminded to cut myself some slack."

With a great support system, Doherty was able to bounce back from a low point. She has gone back to her fitness routine, which involves a lot of dancing, an activity she wasn't allowed to do during the early days of recovery.

In the video she posted, she's seen dancing with her mom, Rosa Doherty and celebrity trainer Jäm Malibu.

And it begins again... prior to having my diep stacked reconstructive surgery, I was required to gain weight to stretch my skin. I did. I stopped working out and ate. I gained the 7 pounds required. My 10 hour surgery was May 11 and I’ve been healing since. No workouts. At all. I’ve felt heavy, unattractive and I’ve beaten myself up often about it until I’m reminded to cut myself some slack. I’ve tried to limit my exposure for fear of another nasty daily mail type article. I’ve been unfair to myself because my beauty is so much more about me inside and how this cancer journey has shaped me. It’s ok to just relax and heal. Block out the superficial noise and focus on getting better. With that being said, it’s also important to know when it’s time to get back at it. Today was that time. With my mom and my good friend Michelle by my side, we danced. We played tennis. And I’m now sore which feels so good. Thank you Neda. My first day back was perfect and I feel wonderful. Love u. And love my girls who pushed me today. @jammalibu @themamarosa @mishyangnyc

A post shared by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on

“It’s OK to just relax and heal. Block out the superficial noise and focus on getting better,” wrote Doherty. “With that being said, it’s also important to know when it’s time to get back at it. Today was that time."

This isn't the first time that Doherty has opened up about how dance has helped her get through the hard times. While going through radiation treatments, she shared a few clips of her dancing with her mom and Malibu.

"No matter how tired I am, have to keep moving," she wrote in one of the captions.

Doherty admitted that although she was hard on herself, the cancer has actually changed her outlook on life.

“I’ve been unfair to myself because my beauty is so much more about me inside and how this cancer journey has shaped me.”

What a beautiful message! Doherty is such a fighter and it's amazing to see how far she's come.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.