Shannen Doherty on cancer: ‘Your body never fully bounces back, I’m critical of myself’

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I saw the Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot, and I didn’t love it or hate it. It was a fun distraction for an hour. It was late summer mind candy with a heavy dose of nostalgia, for which I am a complete sucker. Without revealing anything, Shannen Doherty’s character was an amusing commentary about her rumored contentious relationships with castmates.

Shannen sat down for an interview with People to chat about her recovery journey after being diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago:

Following a painful and terrifying battle with breast cancer, Shannen Doherty is now in remission. But the actress, who currently stars on BH90210, the buzzy reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210, says her recovery is a daily process.

“I don’t think you’re ever on the other side [of cancer],” Doherty, 47, tells PEOPLE. “I don’t think about the fact that I’m in remission. I look at it like I’m lucky to be alive every minute, every second of the day.”

“I really took good care of myself, and I came out of it in as good of condition I think somebody [in my situation] could be in,” says Doherty. “But the funny thing with cancer is that once you’re no longer on chemo or radiation, people think you’re fine, that you bounce back. But what they don’t realize is that your body has been through something so incredibly difficult that your body never fully bounces back.”

Shannen said that the long hours spent filming are grueling and that they’ve left her exhausted and have taken a toll on her. She also talked about the process of learning to accept her body:

“I’m trying to figure out how to accept who I am now,” says Doherty. “I’m never going to be the size I used to be. Some of my meds that I’m on keep zapping the collagen out of me, so I’m never going to have a wrinkle-free face. I’m critical of myself. But there are some things you can’t fight.”

[From People]

Shannen also said she’s “really terrible with self-care,” and that she has a “tunnel vision mentality” at work. I can definitely identify with that. When I was writing my dissertation, I forgot about just about everything else and was awful about taking care of myself; I am still paying for that in various ways. For one thing, my sleeping pattern is still wonky: I went from being a night owl to a late-late-late night owl, and it’s been really difficult to try to switch back to something resembling a typical sleep/wake schedule.

I feel for Shannen; I can’t imagine how stressful it is to be both recovering from cancer and doing it in image-obsessed Hollywood. It sounds like she’s figured out, logically, that what she looks like doesn’t determine her worth or value as a person. Focusing on her recovery one day at a time is what matters. But it also sounds like she’s still working on internalizing that and believing it. I hope that she eventually reaches the place where she fully accepts herself for who she is now.

Note by Celebitchy: I understand where Shannen is coming from and I feel for her. She looks incredible to me.
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photos credit: Backgrid and WENN

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16 Responses to “Shannen Doherty on cancer: ‘Your body never fully bounces back, I’m critical of myself’”

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  1. Digital Unicorn says:

    I love Shannon, have always been a fan. Am glad she’s doing well and its good that she is speaking out about the effects treatments like this can have you on.

    • Seraphina says:

      I too have always been a fan, not on 90210 but on Little House and then Charmed. I’m watching Charmed right now actually. She must have gone through so much and to be back at it speaks volumes. I wish her well and hope she stays well.

  2. Pineapple says:

    I have loved her since Charmed. What a fantastic, honest outlook on life. I would love to tell her … Shannen, as we age, no one is 100% happy with what is going on. You are not alone love. You are not alone. Lots of us are on medication with side effects. You go girl!! So many people have to “pace” their energy.

  3. Ladiabla says:

    It’s a strange thing, when my Auntie was in remission, I thought she looked more beautiful than I’d ever seen her look before. Her hair had turned white, but she had the most incredible dark eyes, and the contrast was stunning. She just shone. We lost her in 2009, but I still remember how lovely she was then. Missing her this morning.

    It’s important to know about all the after effects of treatment, so I’m glad Shannen is taking about it. I wish her continued success in her recovery. I think she looks amazing too.

  4. Spicecake38 says:

    I like Shannen ,she looks beautiful.She is someone I haven’t payed much attention to after 90210 until she talked about having Crohn’s disease and then her breast cancer battle. I have Crohn’s and so many secondary complications from it,and then there was the breast cancer last year.Your body does go through so much and treatments,meds,plus the natural thing we fight called aging can be a tough combo.
    Especially after breast cancer reconstruction,it’s hard to accept your new body,reconstructed breasts look good while standing still,but moving around they look and feel weird.I have been working out again and plan to keep going ,to get back to my best body possible,but,the body has forever changed in appearance and in how you fight off infection,and the exhaustion can come from nowhere and last for days.I wish Shannen well.

  5. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I really appreciate her sharing her experiences. I’ve always had a soft spot for her. She looks great and I love her tee and slacks combo as it’s similar to something I’d wear.

    Also, Quimby, you have been a great addition to the site!

  6. Olivia says:

    As a survivor I totally agree with Shannen, 8 years after chemo, radiation, Herceptin and 7 years on tamoxifen my body is not back to it’s old self. My surgeries all resulted in an infection of one type or another, if I get a cold or the flu I am off my feet for days, and I too feel like I am “dry” all the time.
    Don’t get me wrong I am happy to be alive, my cancer left untreated would have killed me but the adjustment to life after intense treatment is a difficult one. There are the physical things I listed above and the worry that it could come back, cause even with all that treatment the cancer survived.
    I love that someone with star power is speaking out about how hard it is, so those going through treatment now know that it will get better but there will be a new normal when you are done.

    • Kitten says:

      Worrying about it coming back must be a special kind of hell. I’m glad to hear you got through chemo and are doing ok, Olivia.
      Hang in there.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I too am a survivor. I agree with all she said and also add my complete hypochondria since the all clear.
      She shines bright and I hope she has great days ahead

    • Marjorie says:

      Olivia – I had almost the same treatment as you, starting 8 years ago, and today I am cancer free. Let’s have a cup of tea together to celebrate!

      Shannen is pretty spot-on in her comments. Also she looks great – healthy, real, fabulous.

  7. Kitten says:

    Oh man that must be SO hard. I always appreciate when celebs are open about the realities of struggling with something as personal and devastating as cancer. When I was a teenager, I always wanted to look like Rene from Mallrats. Shannen is still beautiful IMO.

  8. Steph says:

    Not to be mean to the other girls, but Shannen looks the best and most natural out of the ladies. It was painful to look at Tori Spellings face and see what she’s done to it, bc she looks like she’s wearing a mask of herself. I think it’s just that she is the least amount of plastic and it makes her look more fresh.

    • Darla says:

      I thought Jennie looked good, but yeah, Tori is a mess. She needs to lay off the filters. Tiffani looks the best by far and that’s probably why Tori and Jennie didn’t want her back, lol

  9. Angie says:

    Chemo stays in your body a long time. My skin looked so off for years. And just all kinds of other things. Chemo is necessary poison. It has a bug cost.

  10. Carol says:

    Sending hugs to all of you who are survivors of your own battle or of the battle a loved one is or was fighting.

  11. IMUCU says:

    I also get tunnel vision when working on a big project and my self care declines. I’m in nursing school and it has taken a toll on my body, along with trying to deal with more lupus flare-ups bc of the stress. My biggest self care activity I can do is rest/sleep A LOT bc my body insists on it if I don’t. Unfortunately my diet & exercise routines have fluctuated a lot in the last year since I’ve been in school…but, thankfully, if all continues to go well, I will be done in December and can get back to my past routines. And I like the new BH90210, it’s silly fun midweek!