The actress recalled, "Kurt was crying, saying, 'Please don’t leave me.' I looked at him and thought, 'I can’t do this to him'. So I dug deep, gathered everything up, and charged forward again."
"I've always wanted a kid," Shannen Doherty said.
But no matter how desperately you want something, fate might not have it in store for you.
For Doherty, breast cancer not only changed her entire life, but it also changed her ability to start a family. The treatment resulted in the actress experiencing menopause instantly, because of which she couldn't bear a child the conventional way.
But apart from the physical barriers, her emotions and fears are also what's stopping the former Beverly Hills 90210 star from having a child with her husband of eight years, Kurt Iswarienko.
"We’re having conversations about an egg donor, maybe adoption. But there’s fear there. Am I going to last five years? Ten years?" she told Health. "I certainly wouldn’t want my 10-year-old burying a mother. I’ve always wanted a kid. But maybe I’m supposed to mother in a different way."
It was in 2015 that the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer. And life hasn't been the same ever since. But she has remained candid and honest during every step of the way, showing people the heartbreaking moments as well as the little joys that pushed her on.
Through her cancer treatment and recovery, it's not the chemo or the radiation or the even the pain that was tough for her to handle. "The unknown is always the scariest part," the 48-year-old told ET. "...Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it's the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love."
What she saw through her cancer battle was that it not only changed her, but also changed life for everyone in her life.
"For anybody to think that the only person altered by cancer is the person with cancer is incredibly wrong," she told People. "Cancer alters the people in your life. And it’s shaped both of us. We look at life very differently now."
Cancer especially changed her relationship with her loving husband and "solidified" their marriage. "Kurt and I have a much deeper appreciation for each other now," she said.
The actress, who went into remission in 2018, also added, "It’s not that our marriage wasn’t good before. But we were definitely going through some growing pains. We would lock horns on things, and instead of resolving it, we wouldn’t speak for a couple of days" but now, "we don’t let a night go by mad at each other. The last time we had a big argument was pre-cancer."
The way her husband made her feel loved and cherished filled her with the strength she needed to keep fighting on. She said, "He was my rock in every way possible, and he made sure I knew how much he loved and valued me. We have a much deeper appreciation [for each other] now, and a much larger capacity for forgiveness."
Doherty recalled a painful moment during treatment where she felt extremely ill from chemo and people were worried about her organs shutting down. "One time, I couldn’t lift my head, I couldn’t suck on an ice cube, I was done," she said. "And Kurt was crying, saying, 'Please don’t leave me.' I looked at him and thought, 'I can’t do this to him'. So I dug deep, gathered everything up, and charged forward again. Kurt and I got through one of the worst things a couple can go through, and we came out stronger."
For better, for worse; in sickness and in health, Doherty and Iswarienko found that "those vows have never meant more than they do now."
Doherty came out from the other end of cancer without the ability to conceive a child the traditional way with her husband, but she also came out sharing a stronger bond with her husband and more in tune with her vulnerable side.
"Cancer has in a strange way done some amazing things for me," she said. "It's allowed me to be more me, like much more in touch with who I am, and much more vulnerable and the person that I always was..."
To forgive herself when she stumbles is one of the biggest ways that cancer changed her. "As brutal as it was, cancer was a gift. It opened me up, it taught me about myself, and it changed me as a human being forever," the actress added. "...I felt more feminine and vulnerable than I’ve felt in my entire life. I was always used to being the strong one, and during that time period, every wall I’d built up in my life came down... It’s OK to stumble."