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Shannen Doherty says of cancer battle: 'I'm lucky to be alive'

Shannen Doherty attends the Fox Summer TCA All-Star

Shannen Doherty attends the Fox Summer TCA All-Star Party on Aug. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez

Shannen Doherty, who's in remission from breast cancer, says she tempers her return to the world of "Beverly Hills, 90210" with the reality that cancer recovery is tenuous.

"I think the funny thing with cancer and people's perception is that once you're no longer on chemo or radiation that you are fine" Doherty, 48, told People TV. "And you bounce back and 'Hey, you can work 16, 18 hours a day!' And what they don't realize is that your body's been through something so incredibly difficult that your body never fully bounces back."

She added separately to People magazine, "I don't think you're ever on the other side" of cancer. "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." Work on "BH90210," the recent meta-reboot of the 1990-2000 Fox high-school drama on which she starred for the first four years, "has taken a toll," she conceded. "I'm exhausted. And I'm really terrible with self-care. When I'm at work, I have a tunnel-vision mentality."

Doherty revealed in August 2015 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier that year. Treatment followed, including a mastectomy in May 2016. She has since had reconstructive breast surgery. In July 2016, Doherty posted Instagram photos of her mother and a friend shaving her head, following hair loss from chemotherapy.

During treatment, she recalled to People TV, "I had dropped down to, like, 91 pounds and I couldn't keep anything in my body." On one particularly bad day, "My mom rushed me to my doctor and they literally had to physically pick me up out of the car, put me in a wheelchair, take me into the doctor's office, again lift me up, put me in a bed and hook me up to [an] IV for hours because I was so dehydrated and they were worried my organs were going to start shutting down. That was the low point," she said.

She also recalled how issues on the set of the original show had helped brand her as its resident diva. "I was misunderstood," she told People TV, adding, "Somebody had a problem with me being late. Perhaps they didn't know … I was late because my dad was in the hospital. I wasn't sharing the fact that my dad was super sick, so I would just go to the hospital and deal with things. … So it was just a general large misunderstanding. And I'm not saying it was all a misunderstanding, I'm just saying there was a large portion that was a misunderstanding."

Of her life today, she told the magazine, "I'm trying to figure out how to accept who I am now," adding that, "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."


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