On Sunday CNN will broadcast Martina: My Toughest Opponent, a documentary about tennis champion Martina Navratilova’s recent battle with cancer. Of course Navratilova isn’t the only gay celebrity to have a recent health scare. We looked into hers and four other medical cases to learn more how celebrities manage with their lives and those of loved ones on the line.
WHAT HAPPENED: During a mammogram, Navratilova learned that she had a noninvasive form of cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Basically, they found that a cancerous tumor had formed in the milk duct of one of her breasts. Before then, the 53-year-old tennis champ had routinely missed her mammograms.
HOW DID SHE HANDLE IT?: She had the cancer removed in a surgical lumpectomy. In a lumpectomy, the doctor locates the tumor via ultrasound and then removes it with an electric scapel. Afterwards, Navratilova spent some time in recovery and also underwent radiation treatment to eradicate any cancerous cells remaining in her body.
HOW DID IT TURN OUT?: So far so good. Luckily, DCIS has a 95 percent survival rate so Navratilova’s chances are good. Plus, doctors chose to do a non-invasive lumpectomy (compared to a masectomy) to preserve Navratilova’s breast and minimize her physical and emotional trauma — so Martina and the girls might make it through OK.
WHAT HAPPENED: Weeks after birth, Aiken’s child Parker suffered from pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes severe vomiting in the first few months of life. Aiken said, “[Parker] had been gassy for weeks and then he started throwing up. Jaymes [Foster, the baby’s mother] and I were trying to be calm, rational parents, so we didn’t call the doctors too much, but it just got to a point where he was vomiting everything. He was starting to get dehydrated.”
HOW DID THEY HANDLE IT?: Because the biggest danger for infants with pyloric stenosis is dehydration and lack of electrolytes, Parker most likely got rehydrated via IV fluids before undergoing a laparoscopic plotomyotomy (basically, they opened up the passage between his stomach and intestines to help him digest properly). The procedure typically makes one small incision above the navel and results in a short hospital stay.
HOW DID IT TURN OUT?: According to Aiken, “I was a little worried, like ‘I don’t think they’re going to let me in the hospital at two or three in the morning’. Then I thought, ‘Wait a second, I’m the father! Of course they’ll let me in’. It was the first moment when I thought, ‘I’m actually this child’s father!’ I was like, wait a second, this is my responsibility, I need to take care of this child, and he can’t ask questions for himself. It was a reality check, like this is the real deal.” Aiken says Parker is now on the road to recovery, adding, “He’s fine, healthy and doing well!”
WHAT HAPPENED: The Will and Grace star’s partner, interior designer David Phoenix, got diagnosed with stage four cancer, meaning that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body making full recovery even more difficult.
HOW DID SEAN HANDLE IT?: A friend claims that Sean came out as a result of Mr. Phoenix’s illness. “Sean realized that life is too short for regrets. He says David is his soul mate, and he’s finally ready to share his joy with the world. They live a life of domestic bliss together in Los Angeles.”
HOW DID IT TURN OUT?: According to Decorati, “[Phoenix] took time off to treat [the cancer] and beat it… he’s been cancer-free for more than a year, looks better than ever, and throughout this whole ordeal kept his business fully running and staffed. Every project was completed during that time…”
WHAT HAPPENED: After several trips into rehab for drug and alcohol addiction and nonstop work on his fashion line in America and Europe, Jacobs had 21 percent body fat and serious digestive problems. His stomach often hurt and he spent a lot of time on the toilet. His doctor suggested removing his colon.
HOW DID HE HANDLE IT?: Jacobs finally decided to see a nuritionist who put him on a strict diet of no caffeine, no sugar, no white flour, no dairy from a cow, with açaí every morning, goji, noni, mangosteen, omega-3, wheatgrass, shots with ginger, and an extensive list of other organic and homeopathic foods.
HOW DID IT TURN OUT?: Jacobs said, “When I started to feel better, and when my stomach wasn’t hurting, and when I wasn’t on the toilet all day, and when I could look at myself in the mirror, and when I went from 21 percent body fat to 5 percent body fat and I had muscle, I was like, This is great!
“When guys started looking at me and asking me out on dates, I felt way better about myself. So it was hard to keep my clothes on, actually. And whenever I was asked to take my clothes off, I was like, ‘Sure! I haven’t worked out for three years to keep this all under wraps.’ Everything changed. I cut my hair, I got contact lenses, I started to groom and get manicures and pedicures. I started to get my hair cut every two weeks.”
Oh Marc, you fabulous queen.
WHAT HAPPENED: Earlier this year Tequila claimed she was pregnant either from an in vitrio fertilization clinic or from a rapper named Game. According to reputable news source TMZ Tila then posted the following late night Tweets on her page:
“I just woke up in the middle of the night cuz im having these intense sharp pains in my belly.”
Several minutes later, Tila added, “Something is definitely wrong. The hospital gave me a list of symptoms & this is one of them.”
Then she wrote several suicidal messages: “I told my friend I would just kill myself if anything ever happened.”
HOW DID SHE HANDLE IT?: After tweeting that she had talked with her doctor and didn’t want to go to the hospital, she mentioned that she would sleep it off before boarding a 22-hour flight to Australia (kinda like the brave Sarah Palin who flew from Texas to Alaska moments after her water broke). Soon afterwards, Tequila mentioned her plans to adopt a Russian baby.
HOW DID IT TURN OUT?: She later confirmed on The Howard Stern Show that she miscarried the baby in question. One should remember though that the most friended woman on MySpace is seriously unstable and has repeatedly lied about being pregnant. So while her claims about the miscarriages of her other unborn children might deserve pity, they should also be chased with several shots of well-deserved skepticism.