Maura Tierney, who played Dr. Abby Lockhart for 10 years on ER, was terrified when it came to her own health battle.
Maura Tierney, 45, told Parade about the day she found a lump in her breast, “I was so, so scared of going to the doctor. I felt something, and my boyfriend at the time made me go. He said, ‘You’ve got to take care of this,’ because I was afraid. That’s one thing I will say: Don’t be afraid to go to the damn doctor. Just go!”
In June 2009, Tierney was diagnosed with breast cancer, which forced the actress to leave NBC’s show, Parenthood. But even then, she said, she never had a “why me” moment.
“I was so lucky, I had insurance, I found a great team of doctors at UCLA, and I could afford not to work while I was getting treated. From the beginning my doctor told me, ‘You’re going to be okay,’ and I chose to believe him. So there was always that in my head.”
Of course, it was still a challenge, especially when Tierney learned that the cancer was more aggressive than they thought. According to her doctor, a pathologist from a decade ago might have missed it altogether. “He said they would have patted me on the head and told me, ‘You’re cured,’ and I would have died of breast cancer.”
Through her battle, Tierney has certainly gained a new perspective on life.
“There is one thing I’ve learned for sure. It’s a life-changing thing to be in a position of needing help and being so lucky as to get it. And to feel like that’s okay. You can’t just take care of everybody else all the time. That’s almost as perspective-changing as the illness. For someone like me, that was kind of tough.”
Even though she is still in treatment, Tierney is set to play a prosecutor on the ABC legal drama, The Whole Truth.