Diem Brown is trying to stay positive after her cancer has spread to her liver and lymph nodes. Diem was about to get surgery for the excruciating pain in her kidneys when doctors told her the cancer she had in her colon and stomach had metastasized.
“That was a shocker to me,” Brown told People. “I was blown away.” However, Brown said she’s determined to beat the cancer and one day have children even though an emergency hysterectomy in August 2014 has rendered her incapable of ever getting pregnant.
Diem said some people have called her selfish because she still dreams of motherhood, but she said this is ridiculous, as all her genetic tests revealed she’s not genetically predisposed to cancer.
“This seems to really rile some people up and paint me as selfish,” said Brown. “I have done all of the genetic [marker] tests for cancer, and each one of those tests came back negative. Cancer was never in my genes.”
Diem, 32, is battling cancer for the third time. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2014 after having battled ovarian cancer in 2003 and again in 2012. Brown underwent two separate surgeries on Aug. 17.
While the surgeries removed the cancer from her colon, tumors still remain in her stomach lining and have now spread to her liver and lymph nodes. Brown underwent another round of chemotherapy on Oct. 21.
The usually upbeat Diem admits she has been battling severe depression as a result of her chronic pain, exhaustion and nausea. “It was such a dark, dark, dark, dark place,” she said. “I was just a zombie. I’ve never had a reaction to chemo the way I just had with this one.”
Brown said medical marijuana has relieved her crippling pain. She was initially skeptical of the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana, but said it has dramatically relieved her pain and helped her gain a few pounds following her recent 25-pound weight loss.
Diem first became famous after appearing on MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 (at age 23) and underwent surgery to have an ovary and part of her fallopian tube removed. The procedure caused her to go into early menopause. Brown can no longer get pregnant despite freezing her eggs in 2012.
Brown’s cancer battles are especially shocking because she has always been a workout fanatic who exercised daily and followed a healthy diet. She is an avid runner and athlete, and was a top competitor on the various MTV Challenges she participated in over the years.
Despite the long road ahead, Brown insists she won’t give in to negativity and is determined to beat her cancer. “I’m going to have a family and get married,” said Diem. “It’s something that’s really important to me, because it means a long-term future.”