‘RHONY’ alum and VSpot founder Cindy Barshop shared her journey of relearning life post getting treatment for a rare form of lymphoma in 2022.
In an exclusive with People, the former reality TV star shared the story of her diagnosis, treatment and recovery from the disease.
“Everyone thought I was drunk”- Cindy Barshop
In April 2022 Cindy was travelling at the Princess Juliana International Airport in St.marten when she was stopped from boarding the plane, due to the airline staff claiming she was too intoxicated.
“I was drinking a beer, it was no big deal,” recalls the star.
“All of a sudden, the airport security came over to me and said, ‘You’re not allowed to leave, you’re not acting appropriately.’”
The next day she was allowed to fly back home to New York by the staff. However, days later while she was attending a charity event with her fiance Jay Cardiello, she passed out during dinner.
“I was eating my fish with my fingers, then I passed out,” she stated. “Everyone thought I was drunk.” The last thing she remembered was Jay taking her to the emergency room.
It was four days later that what she thought were stress-induced headaches were diagnosed as Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma aka CNS, in which malignant cells form in the lymph tissue &/or spinal cord.
“She really couldn’t do much”- Howie Barshop
Cindy’s brother Howie Barshop recalls her journey through the treatment. “I was shocked by the diagnosis,” he shared.
Additionally, he talked about his niece and nephew who “were devastated. They went to bed not knowing if their mom was going to die.”
Months following the diagnosis were spent in a blur of chemo appointments for Cindy.
“She really couldn’t do much other than go to the hospital for her treatments then come home and sleep.”
“That, in itself, was a full-time job.”
It was in August 2022, that she was declared cancer-free, but was advised to undergo an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant in November. The transplant involves a higher dosage of chemotherapy and therefore leaves the patient weak and with a very low white blood cell count.
‘You need to be happy’- Cindy on her recovery
“I hate to say it, but no one is okay after they go through chemotherapy. You have to work your body to be super healthy again, and that’s internally too,” said Cindy.
“Once you’re alive, you need to be happy to get healthier and feel better about yourself.”
She also credits her children for getting her through it all.
“Their hundreds of kisses and hugs made me want to heal and get better,” she said.
By sharing her own story, she hopes to help those going through disease-induced trauma and encourage them to seek relief.
“You’re never done,” she said on her life post-cancer, which involves 10 different doctors. But she is also seeing progress.
“Everyday I feel better, everyday I feel smarter and more aware and on point,” said Cindy. “I know I’m going to be back to where I was.”
“I just know deep within my soul that there is a reason this happened. I am here to help women through their pain and challenges and help them feel more comfortable in their skin,” she ended.