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Doctors' Notes

‘Basketball Wives LA’ Star Brandi Maxiell Opens Up

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 

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As one of the stars of the hit reality TV show Basketball Wives LA, Brandi Maxiell has really made a name for herself on and off the screen. While we have had a tiny peek into her life as a wife, mother, and successful entrepreneur, we’ve also witnessed a major health challenge she overcame. We caught up with Brandi for Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month as she shares her story of perseverance to help bring awareness to ovarian cancer.

JET: Was it a big transition for you to become a reality star?

Brandi Maxiell: Yes. It’s weird and it’s different. I‘m happy that I did it. I wanted to branch out and do my own thing and last year was my year to tell my story, be independent and do my own thing.

JET: What was life like for you leading up to your diagnosis of ovarian cancer?

BM: My life was amazing. I had just graduated college, my husband was playing basketball, and we were living a dream. Then with the cancer diagnosis, you immediately think of death. It was a horrible experience for me, but at the same time I’m so blessed to be cured and to have gone through that time in my life because it made me smarter, more mature, and see life in a different way.

JET: Ovarian cancer unfortunately is one of those cancers that there is no screening test for and is often found at very advanced stages. Were you having many symptoms or was it found by accident?

BM: I was very fortunate to have all of the symptoms. I had the bloating, frequent bathroom trips, and stomach pain. I really had every symptom that there was so I was very blessed. I have no cancer in my family at all, so it really came as a surprise.

JET: What did you know, if anything, about ovarian cancer at the time of your diagnosis? Did you have a lot of resources that you leaned on as a young woman fighting this battle?

BM: I read everything I could on ovarian cancer and did all the research I could for the disease. I didn’t know about it at all before. What I would tell women is that in the end, I think you really have to listen to your body, go with your gut, and go with a doctor that you trust.

JET: You’ve been very open about your health challenges on the show. What was it like opening up such a personal aspect of your life to the world?

BM: It was very difficult and only the second time that I’ve done it. I didn’t know how I would be viewed. I didn’t want to be viewed as a victim. But I got a lot of positive feedback from other women and the love and support that I have from the fans and the viewers has been amazing.

JET: What can we expect from Brandi Maxiell moving forward?

BM: I’m going on a tour doing speaking engagements talking about my story. So you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from me.

It’s a health thing … we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!