Selena Gomez is the queen of being nothing but honest with her fans and her latest very brave and real revelation proves just how strong she is. The singer opened up yet again about the life-changing kidney transplant surgery she underwent this past summer and how it obviously has changed her forever.
Selena sat down with Billboard in honor of her 'Woman of the Year' title and spoke about what she's learned the most about herself throughout her health journey.
"I just kept thinking about how much my body is my own. Ever since I was 7, my life always felt like I was giving it to someone else. I felt really alone even though I had a lot of great people around me. But the decisions I was making, were they ever for me? [After the surgery] I had this sense of gratitude for myself. I don’t think I’ve ever just stopped and been like, 'I’m actually grateful for who I am," Selena said. And as for the scar she now has post surgery? At first it took some getting used to but now, the songstress embraces it and how there is true beauty in her imperfections.
"I do [feel comfortable with my scar]. I didn't, but I do now. It was really hard in the beginning. I remember looking at myself in the mirror completely naked and thinking about all the things that I used to b—h about and just asking, 'Why?' I had someone in my life for a very long time who pointed out all the things that I didn't feel great about with myself. When I look at my body now, I just see life. There are a million things I can do -- lasers and creams and all that stuff -- but I’m OK with it. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with [plastic surgery]. So there is absolutely zero judgment on my end. I just think for me, it could be my eyes, my round face, my ears, my legs, my scar. I don’t have perfect abs, but I feel like I’m wonderfully made," Selena said.
You go, girl. Just recently, Selena was honored at the Lupus Research Alliance Annual Gala, since she too has lupus which is what led to her need of a kidney transplant, and she spoke about how happy she was to be honoring the doctors who work hard to help those who have this autoimmune disease and for the scientists who are working toward hopefully one day finding a cure. She admitted she didn't even fully understand her diagnosis and how serious it was even when her doctors told her she might need a kidney transplant one day.
"I am really honored to be here with all of you guys tonight, my Lupus community. As many of you know or might not know, I was diagnosed with Lupus about five or six years ago. Maybe I wasn't necessarily really good at knowing what that meant so it actually got to a point where it was life-or-death," Selena said according to E! News. "Thankfully, one of my best friends gave me her kidney and it was the ultimate gift of life. And I am doing quite well now. I also want people to know why research is so important and why we must support the scientists who bring all the promise of new discovery. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a donor, and something as monumental as an organ transplant shouldn't be the best treatment option available."
She then ended her speech on a hopeful note, saying she truly can't wait to see the day no one has to live with lupus anymore.
"I'd like to see the day when all young women can realize their dreams of life without a Lupus. This is why I am committed to the Lupus Research Alliance. So that none of us are alone, especially the young women that I have grown up with and heard many, many stories. I just want to say thank you and I hope we can do something for all of the younger people who need to know what this means," Selena concluded.
It was back in September when Selena sent out that Instagram post to her 130 million followers sharing a slideshow of three photos from her intense health journey, along with letting everyone know it was her dear friend Francia Raisa who really changed her life since Francia donated one of her own kidneys to Selena. Talk about being a true best friend.
"I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you," she wrote. Check out the video to see all the photos she shared so far:
"Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith," she continued. The "Fetish" singer also shared a photo of the scar she has now and what she looked like post surgery.
Francia then took to her Instagram to share the same pic Sel did of the pair in the hospital together, along with her own heartfelt message to her forever sister.
"I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process. This was part of our story, and we will share it soon, but what is important now is that this is not the only story. For more information regarding Lupus, please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org -- Love you sis, so glad we’re on this journey together. ❤️ xx," Francia wrote in the caption.
The girls' moms have both opened up about how this has all affected their lives, with Sel's mom Mandy Teefey taking to her own Instagram account to share the same photo of the girls holding hands together in the hospital, explaining just how tough this whole experience has been on Selena, Francia and their families.
"This picture is one of the most breathtaking images that will live with me forever. For all those moments of not knowing if we were going up or going down, I can always come back to this picture and know we can always make it back up. As a mother I was helpless, scared and all I could do was pray for both of them, Francia's beautiful family. I am pretty sure I am banned from that hospital. Mama Bear was in high gear. Selena gained a kidney, I was able to keep my little girl, but I also gained another daughter....thank you to everyone who was there for Sel, Francia and our families. We survived from all the love, prayers and God," Mandy wrote.
Francia's mom, Virginia Almendarez, went on to detail just how close the girls are when she spoke to Telemundo's María Celeste Arrarás on the show, Al Rojo Vivo for an interview and explain that Francia just simply wanted to help her friend out any way she could.
"They've been friends for many years. They're like sisters. I love her [Selena] a lot, too. She loves me a lot. She says I'm her mom. I'm very proud of both of them," she said. [Francia] told me about it, and of course, at first, I was worried, but then she said that she had been thoroughly informed about everything and that she was going to do it. All I could do was support her. Some people are treating this as if there was money involved. Francia did it for friendship, for her love for Selena, and because they care a lot for each other. She didn't receive any benefit from this, only the benefit of Selena having a better life."
Selena and Francia really are like family and everyone is beyond proud of them for both being so brave. The besties appeared on The TODAY Show together where they spoke in-depth about their joint procedures and how Francia decided she would be the one to donate a kindey to Sel if she was a match.
"I would get fevers, headaches. I would get fatigue. But I always just kept going. I kind of ignored it, to be honest, because it wasn't something that maybe really I wanted to accept...I don't think I made the right decisions. Because I didn't accept it. And that's extremely selfish, and at the same time, really just unnecessary. I'm not really proud of that," Selena explained.
Francia knew something was wrong with her friend and at the time, she was living with Selena and she was about to move out of the house until the "Bad Liar" singer that asked her to stay.
"One day she [Selena] came home and she was emotional. I hadn’t asked anything. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well. She couldn’t open a water bottle one day. She chucked it and she started crying. And I said, 'What’s wrong?' and that’s when she told me. And she goes, 'I don’t know what to do. The list is seven to ten years long.' It just vomited out of me: I was like, 'Of course I’ll get tested.'"
(Photo Credit: Instagram)
And the rest is history. Many other of the songstress' longtime friends, including Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas both expressed how proud and happy they are of Selena and to know she's doing so well now. Another mutual friend of both girls, actor Chris Massey best known for his role as Michael on Zoey 101, shared his own encouraging message to Selena and Francia on Instagram after seeing the news about their surgeries.
"I've known these two beautiful souls for so many years!! And they never seem to stop amazing me !! @franciaraisa I love you and @selenagomez ❤️❤️❤️🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 this made my entire day!!! In the midst of losing my cousin yesterday this was such a warming thing to wake up to 💪🏾💪🏾❤️❤️ ," he wrote.
Selena has been nothing but brave and never shies away from sharing what she's really going through. In 2015, she spoke candidly for the first time about her lupus diagnosis and explained it was the reason why she canceled the remaining shows on her Stars Dance tour back in 2013 and took a break from the spotlight.
"I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke," Selena said. “I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re [jerks].' I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again."
Again in 2015, the songstress made a public statement letting her fans know she would be taking another break to once again deal with complications from her condition and would be cutting her Revival Tour short too.
"As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways. I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," Selena said. "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off. Thank you to all my fans for your support. You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues."
Selena truly is an open book and her ability to speak so candidly about her personal struggles in hopes she can help others with her honesty is why she is forever the best.
This post was originally published on Sept. 14, 2017, and has since been updated with new information.