Brandi Maxiell is this season's newest addition to Basketball Wives: LA, but she's been through enough in her life to stay above the petty drama of her co-stars. In 2007, when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age twenty-four. She discusses beating the odds and dealing with the pettiness of the other ladies of BBW: LA, save for friend Malaysia Pargo.
Speaking to Life & Style, Brandi shares, “When I was diagnosed, I had just graduated from college and I was engaged, so I thought I was going to come to Detroit [where she was living at the time], live with my fiancé and I thought I was going to have a lifetime of fun. Literally three weeks of me living in Detroit, I started to feel all these symptoms and my life went for a turn.”
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Having no family history of cancer, Brandi was beyond shocked by the news, undergoing weeks of chemotherapy as treatment. She reveals, “Besides the losing of the hair, I was so sick! You know, it’s like poison going through my body, so I couldn’t move. I was so weak. My mom thought I was so bad. She had to cover up mirrors in my house because I couldn’t look at myself. I was like, ‘Who is this person?’ I lost so much weight."
Brandi continues, “I was just devastated. I just wanted to shave my hair off at the beginning because I knew it was going to come out. I think the hardest thing about it all was losing my hair because when a woman loses her hair, you lose who you are as a woman. I lost every inch of hair like my eyebrows, my nose hair — everything."
Upon learning of her diagnosis, Brandi admits, "I remember going to the cancer clinics and looking around and thinking, 'We all look the same. No matter if you're black, white, Chinese, Korean – when you have chemo, your hair falls out, you lose weight, you look sick, everyone looks alike. We are just different shades of colors," adding, “When I thought of cancer, I thought it was a death sentence…I just felt like my life was over."
However, Brandi does credit her cancer for a positive life change, explaining, “I think me having cancer brought me closer to God because I think I was kind of losing my way a little bit."
Brandi also expresses her gratitude to her now husband, saying, “He visited me every week in Dallas [she was there during treatement]…he shaved his hair off and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Those are like the moments I remember."
Of her induction into BBW:LA, Brandi tells the magazine, "The downside of the show is dealing with these catty women. I didn’t like that because it brought me down occasionally to their level. I know on a reality show like you have to have drama, you have to have something to keep it interesting, but this was a struggle to just deal with how to balance it all—try to tell my story and then deal with bitter women. It was a struggle and my life is so much more important to me."
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