“One Life to Live” star Kassie DePaiva is opening up about her previous health struggles, including back-to-back cancer diagnoses.
DePaiva revealed on a recent episode of the “Dishing with Digest” podcast that shortly after she was diagnosed with leukemia, she received a diagnosis for breast cancer.
She said that she was initially diagnosed in July 2016 with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, according to Mayo Clinic.
DePaiva called her initial diagnosis a “very surreal moment.” She said she was sitting on a chairlift when she felt “two knots” under her arm, but that they weren’t painful.
“I had to go back the next day to California, but I called and set up an appointment with my doctor and said, ‘OK, I’m coming back in July, can you fit me in because I feel like I’ve got these little knots. I just want to make sure everything’s okay,’” she explained. “Well, did a biopsy and the rest is history.”
The 62-year-old said at the time, breast cancer was ruled out of her initial diagnosis, adding, “But I did get breast cancer a year later. I laugh, like, ‘Can you believe it?’ But I had a lumpectomy and everything was clear.”
A lumpectomy is a type of breast-conserving surgery and involves the targeted removal of cancerous or abnormal tissue, according to Mayo Clinic. Only a portion of the breast is removed, compared to a mastectomy, which involves removing all breast tissue.
“Right now as it stands, I’m cancer-free and happy,” DePaiva said.
The soap opera star also reflected on her cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, and how she felt after the fact.
“I was explaining how chemo was just so awful for your body and how it’s not day-to-day, it’s minute-to-minute,” she said. “You think, ‘OK, I’m going to be good’ and then you get up and all of a sudden your body eliminates, or you faint, or you throw up. It’s just yucky.”
She added, “When you just think, ‘This is never going to end,’ and then it does and you go, ‘Did I go through that? I cannot believe it.’ And that’s kind of where I am now — I can’t believe the journey, but I’m grateful.”
DePaiva shared her leukemia diagnosis publicly in August 2016 on her blog, posting at the time that she had spent six weeks in the hospital and had three more months of treatment ahead of her.
“My prognosis is good, I will not likely need a stem cell/bone marrow transplant, and we expect a complete cure,” she wrote in part. “I consider this just a bump in the road.”
At the time, DePaiva was starring in “Days of Our Lives,” adding for fans, “Although I’m unable to be ‘camera ready’ now…my goal is (to) get back to stirring up trouble in Salem soon.”
The most recent update on her blog was made in November 2017, sharing an update on her cancer journey and her return to the iconic soap opera.
“My bone marrow biopsies continue to come back clear and blood work normal,” she said. “Every 4 months I have to have a bone marrow biopsy and every 6 weeks blood work done as a precaution to make sure I’m still in remission.”