In March 1971, Shirley Elizabeth Ballas underwent a double mastectomy.
This week in this TV soap, the Baywatch star and her daughter, aspiring musician Meghan Foley were seen celebrating 40 years since her mastectomy as part of a blood drive.
The Dancing with the Stars: All Stars star was seen holding up a sign which read: ‘Expectin’ Me Too, Just Be Kind and Look In The Mirror' and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Sixty-three-year-old Mrs Ballas revealed in a video message how she believes the procedure was a blessing as it led to a loving relationship with her husband and the birth of their children.
But the life-changing decision prompted her to stop drinking and take a step back from the spotlight.
She said: “I spent the better part of three years without work, I wouldn’t eat, I’d drink a beer and then I’d go to sleep.
“I couldn’t eat and there were bad years and so many regrets.
“I lost everything I knew and all my self-esteem and so much of my confidence.
“I felt empty. I said to myself, I have to live, I’ve got to do something with my life.”
She said she could never forget the pain of the operation but added that has happy memories of the other side of life.
She added: “I must admit, there was some worry because you know, they take away your breasts.
“You don’t know how you’re going to feel.
“I remember waking up the day after with huge tubes and needles sticking out, one in each breast.
“You can’t smell or taste, you can’t do anything.
“But I turned my pain into joy.
“After going through that horrible double mastectomy you can get so consumed with yourself you want to hide yourself, but you know something you’ve got to light a candle because your pain is the pain that is cleansing you.
“I turned my pain into love and I love everybody.”