The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, 2015, and in May, 2016 she underwent a single mastectomy. Doctors subsequently discovered the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy, with plans to follow up the treatment with radiation. The intensive process has taken a serious toll on Shannen's health and the 45-year-old is grateful to have her spouse of five years, photographer and film producer Kurt Iswarienko, to lean on for support.
Cancer is like a book with so many pages you don't see a way to read through all of them at once. But when you take them one page at a time, a story emerges and takes shape in unexpected ways. The outcome isn't clear or easy to reckon with, but you find as you go through the journey that a clear outcome isn't the point. The journey is the thing. The people you connect with along the way are the point. It's about human energy. It's about breathing. #shannensquad #fuckcancer @theshando @annemkortright
A photo posted by Kurt Iswarienko (@kurtiswarienko) on
"I could not have gotten through this without my husband," she declares in the second part of an emotional interview with U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight, which airs on Tuesday.
"My marriage was always strong, but it's made my marriage a thousand times stronger," Shannen continues. "He's never missed a chemo. He's never missed a sick day."
The actress recalls breaking the health news to Kurt over the phone, immediately after her doctor's diagnosis, because she couldn't bear waiting until she returned home.
"I called him, which was horrible of me," she recalls. "I was in the car. I was with my mum, and the doctor called me and I'm, you know, 'I'm going to wait until I see him,' and I just couldn't. So I picked up the phone and I called him and he was like, 'Where are you?'" Kurt rushed home to comfort Doherty and she admits he was a tower of strength from the very beginning of her cancer journey. "(He) hugged me and said, 'We are going to get through this. You are going to be OK. We are going to get through this, you're strong and you're powerful and you're not going anywhere,'" she remembers. "'You have so much to do in your life. We are going to get through it as a family.'"
Thank you to these three who helped me thru an impossibly tough day and continue to be there every minute supporting and loving me. @kurtiswarienko was in Mexico working but knew he left me in good hands. @annemkortright @chriscortazzo #mamarosa I love you. #mycrew #thisisasquad
A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on
Shannen also credits her mother, Rosa, and her best friends for pulling her through the darkest of times, particularly when she became sure she would succumb to the disease.
"Initially I was like, 'I'm strong. I got this!'" she admits. "And then, as time sort of went by, I started thinking that I wasn't going to live. That was the next phase. I sat down with my husband; I remember we were in New York together, we were at this Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, and I looked at him and I said, 'You better enjoy every single second that you have with me... 'cause I'm going to be dead in five years.' He just burst out crying and was like, 'You can't say that.'"
You may also like: Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘Family cancer makes me hyper-aware of wellness’
She adds, "That phase was short, thank God. That was a short, short phase that I think my family and my friends got me through."
Shannen went public with her cancer battle a year ago, after the news of her health crisis was leaked in a lawsuit. She is currently suing her former business managers amid allegations they prevented her from spotting the disease earlier on because they failed to pay her health insurance.
© Cover Media