Published May 31, 2013
LOS ANGELES – Diem Brown, 28, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time in her young life last year. But that hasn’t stopped the optimistic television personality, and MedGift founder, from embarking on her seventh MTV “Challenge,” a hard-core reality elimination competition involving body-pushing feats and daredevil adventures.
“I wanted to do this particular show because this last year has felt so uncertain. Going through ovarian cancer twice, I have played a crazy gambling game. I was told in January after a test showed signs of cancer spreading to my liver that seeing 2013 was not that likely,” Brown told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column in an exclusive interview just days after returning from the intense filming for 'Challenge: Rivals ll.' “Hearing those words, hearing you have an expiration date, changes you. Thank God there ended up being no spread of cancer, I’m here today happy and healthy as ever.”
Yet the last thing her family and medical team were ready to hear was that the ambitious reality sensation, who has bravely chronicled her hair loss and other trials, was off into the unknown to film yet another season.
“They were shocked. I was only two weeks out of my last chemotherapy and still adjusting to these hormone shots, but I wanted to do it,” Brown said. “I mentally needed to get back to who I was as a person without all the surgeries, doctors offices and tests. ‘The Challenge’ gave me a clean sheet of paper to do that.”
Brown also filmed a season of the popular reality series after receiving treatment following her first diagnosis, but competing this last time proved to be far more difficult.
“I had to take hormone shots while there, these hormone shots are insane. Imagine how crazy you feel when you are PMS-ing, now times that by twenty. So my emotions while there were all over the place. I felt legitimately crazy," she said. "The challenges are always so hard but I love pushing myself. I always want to test and push and improve on what I can do so the challenges give you that opportunity. And I wore fun wigs this time, it wasn’t a security blanket as it used to be for me. I wanted to have fun and not think of the cancer word, so fun pink wigs helped with that.”
And in between chemo sessions and trips to the doctor, Brown managed to make sure her body was in tip-top Challenger fighting form.
“I trained hard and did Barry’s Bootcamp for a month, two times a day. I wanted to prepare my body to feel what it feels like to want to quit. I love that feeling and love even more when you can jump over and overcome that ‘I can’t do it’ feeling,” Brown enthused. “And this was by far the most intense of the seven shows I have done. We had a lot of goofy times, I had a lot of personal growth, but the drama is like nothing I have ever experienced before.”
While her biggest challenge – her cancer battle – still remains, she hopes victory is close.
“Unfortunately they don’t know for sure the second time around as I had a tricky form of ovarian cancer that doesn’t show up in blood tests, only through surgery, but I went through the wringer of treatments and hit the cancer as hard as we could,” Brown added. “They couldn’t give me my ‘clear card,’ which is what I got the first time, but I am working on not looking over my shoulder but instead being thankful every day.”
The new season of “The Challenge” is slated to premiere on MTV in July.