The 'Beverly Hills, 90210' alum tells her her radiation-oncologist Dr. Amin Mirhadi that she was “petrified” radiation would “change who I am”
Shannen Doherty says she was afraid radiation might change her personality, sharing that she worried that she would come out of treatment a different person.
While welcoming her radiation-oncologist, Dr. Amin Mirhadi, to her Let's Be Clear podcast on Monday, Doherty, said, “radiation can be a very scary thing, especially when it's to your brain, of course.”
She added, “I was petrified” and wondered, “‘Is it going to change who I am?’ That was, as you know, a big concern of mine.”
The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 52, added that she asked her doctor, “Are you going to zap something? Am I not going to think as quickly?”
Doherty also said that she joked with her doctor about a desired side effect of the surgery — she hoped he would “touch the part of the brain that made me speak eight fluent languages.”
“He ignored me,” she deadpanned.
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She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Since then, Doherty — who underwent brain surgery and radiation last January — been open about her health journey. In a November PEOPLE cover story, the former Charmed star revealed that the cancer had spread to her bones — and she’s looking to “squeeze out another 3 to 5 years of life” while living with Stage 4 cancer.
She’s talked about the highs and lows of her journey, and on Monday’s podcast, she revealed that her doctor gave her a photo of her “brain opened up.”
Doherty says “probably once a month — I'm going to really sound strange right now — I look at the picture.”
“He knows I'm like a weird nerd that way, and I look at it,” said Doherty, who didn’t keep the photo to herself.
“I got home [and] I showed it to as many people as I possibly could,” she said. “Some were horrified by it and some enjoyed it like I do.”
It's part of Doherty's mission to "live each day in as much of a positive manner, with a lot of hope" as she can — an attitude that Dr. Mirhadi says can indeed have a physical impact.
"When you're not as stressed out and anxious you're not releasing as much cortisol which can have an effect," he said.
And too much cortisol, often called the "stress hormone," can have a negative effect on the body, the Cleveland Clinic explains.
Doherty explained her attitude toward life, saying, "Listen, I can die today. I could die in 20 years. I could die walking outside of my house and ,you know, a tree falling on me or a bus hitting me or whatever. Or I can die of cancer."
"I can do is live each day in in as much of a positive manner with a lot of hope as I can and embrace it and be like, 'Wow, you know, I get to wake up again.'"
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