Last week, Larry King admitted to secretly having surgery to remove lung cancer. Now Kate Walsh of "Grey's Anatomy" fame is opening up about the medical procedure she had to undergo in 2015.
Walsh, 49, is used to working long hours, so she wasn't surprised when she started to drag in January of 2015. She had just finished filming "Bad Judge," and her exhaustion was almost more than she could handle.
"I had been working insane hours, maybe 80 hours a week, and also working out really hard, so I wasn't surprised," Walsh told Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Even after multiple cups of coffee, Walsh still felt exhausted. She thought maybe she was pushing her body too hard, so she decided to pull back on her exercise routine to see if that helped.
"I figured, okay, I'll change up my workout routine, I'll go back to mellow stuff like hiking."
Then her symptoms got more troubling. While working out, her Pilates instructor told her that her right side was dipping.
"It didn’t feel like I was off, but I looked down and could see it," said Walsh.
Even scarier, one day she was driving, and she swerved into the right lane. A few months later, Walsh began to have more pronounced cognitive difficulties.
"It felt like aphasia, but it wasn’t just not being able to find words. I would lose my train of thought. I wasn’t able to finish sentences, and that was when I got really alarmed," revealed Walsh.
At first, she thought it might just be menopausal symptoms, but eventually, she received an MRI. The results terrified her.
"It turned out I had a very sizable brain tumor in my left frontal lobe. And three days later I was in surgery having it removed."
When she pushed to receive an MRI, Walsh never thought doctors would find a brain tumor.
"The words 'brain tumor' were never in my zeitgeist. I went in for the MRI, and you know it’s serious when they don’t even wait, they’re like 'hey, the radiologist wants to see you.' And she starts to say, 'Well, it looks like you have a very sizable brain tumor' — and I just left my body. My assistant had driven me there, and I had to go get him so that he could take notes because I was gone. It was never anything I would have imagined."
Once they removed the tumor, they found out it wasn't cancerous, but that doesn't mean it didn't cause damage. It was the size of a small lemon, and it caused quite a bit of swelling.
"I had started getting shooting pains in my head. I shattered my pinkie the night before my MRI because I had no depth perception."
After her surgery, Walsh took off nine months to recuperate. Since returning, she's been incredibly busy—filming two movies, a TV show, and doing a play—but now she focuses on putting her health first.
"But my health comes first, and I’ve had to change my lifestyle. In my business, it’s not unusual to be working 17 hour days, so it can be really challenging, but now I know I absolutely need 7 or 8 hours of sleep. As basic as that sounds, it was a huge part of my recovery."
She's also advocating for people to go to the doctor if you're feeling unwell. That's why she's finally decided to share her struggle.
"We’re all so socialized to try to self-diagnose, like 'I’ll change my workout, I'll change my diet.'...[F]or me, it was a really big wakeup call to do annual check-ups...We should go get a checkup the same way we go to the gym, just preventively, instead of waiting for something to go wrong."
She continued, "This was a very private experience for me. I really didn’t want to talk about it, I wanted it to be mine, but I knew that someday I would want to share it."
She especially emphasizes the importance of women taking care of their health.
"One of the most interesting things for me about this diagnosis was that this tumor is twice as common in women as men. It can be especially hard for women to take time out for their health—you’re mothers, you’re career women, you’re spinning all of these plates—and it’s hard sometimes to hand over the superwoman cape and ask for help."
Has you or someone you love had a shocking health crisis? Let us know in the comments. In other celebrity news, one "The View" co-host is causing uproar after she left the show.