Comedienne Wanda Sykes broke down and suffered a "panic attack" following her double mastectomy surgery in August (11) after realising the seriousness of her breast cancer battle.
The Curb Your Enthusiasm star revealed all about her secret health crisis during an interview on America's The Ellen DeGeneres Show last month (Sep11), when she opened up about how doctors detected the disease as she prepared for breast reduction surgery earlier this year (11).
She opted for a bilateral mastectomy over the summer to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, and Sykes is now on the road to recovery.
But she admits she didn't really come to terms with the cancer news until she woke up from surgery.
She tells People magazine, "When they wheeled me into the O.R. (operating room), I really was at peace. They did the bilateral mastectomy and put in skin expanders at the same time, so when I woke up, my chest was just on fire. After being in the recovery room for several hours, I had a panic attack. I'm anaemic, so they were having trouble drawing my blood. They were about to stick me (with the needle) again, and all of a sudden I couldn't breathe. Everything that had happened just hit me at that moment. It was too much. I just sobbed."
Sykes' struggled with depression when she returned home to recover and looking at her surgery scars didn't help: "Back home I was miserable. Every day I had to change the bandages and look at it, and it was not pretty at all. I was getting mad, depressed; I went through this range of emotions. I kept asking, 'When am I going to feel like myself again?' I wanted my life back.
"Then I had to have another smaller surgery to remove dead tissue, but a few days later, when the doctor took the bandages off, it looked pretty good. That seemed to kick-start everything, and then I started to feel better too."
Now the actress, who has two-year-old twins with her wife Alex, is preparing for one more operation to get her figure back - and she can finally laugh about her ordeal.
She says, "When I have my last surgery, he'll take out the expanders and put in the implants. I'm debating if I want to stay this size or go a little bigger. Maybe get huge stripper boobs, just to make a statement! Nah, a nice C (cup) works for me...
"I made my decision (for the double mastectomy) because I love life and I know I'm blessed. The kids are also a huge part because you want to be around for them. My scars? I barely see them. I feel whole; I really do. Because every day, I get to say, 'There's no cancer'. I'm healthy, and that's beautiful."