Kate Walsh Reveals Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Posted by Jeanne on September 18, 2017

Kate Walsh has revealed that she heard her doctor utter words that no one wants to hear. The actress recently opened up about being diagnosed with a brain tumor which, of course, sounds like an entirely terrifying moment in her life.

Kate Walsh

J. Kempin / Contributor

On-screen, Walsh is known for her roles in medical dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice but, in real life, she put off seeing a doctor despite the fact that she was battling exhaustion and memory issues. In an interview with Cosmopolitan she explains that, when she finally did she a doctor, they found a benign meningioma the size of a lemon removed which she had removed in 2015.

“I had been working insane hours, maybe 80 hours a week, and also working out really hard, so I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “I figured, okay, I’ll change up my workout routine, I’ll go back to mellow stuff like hiking.”

Then, in addition to her pilates instructor pointing out the fact that her right side was dipping, she started veering to the right while driving, and also noticed cognition-related deficits. “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,” she explained.

After a pushing her neurologist for an MRI, they found the growth in her left frontal lobe. “The words ‘brain tumor’ were never in my zeitgeist,” she said. “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 her so that she could take notes, because I was gone. It was never anything I would have imagined.”

They moved quickly, too. Within three days, the surgery was over and Walsh began the process of recovery. During this time, she learned the value in taking things slowly in order to be kind to her body. In fact, she ended up taking a nine-month break.

“I love to work hard and do 800 things at once, and this was a really amazing lesson in just submitting to the process of healing,” she explained. “I did exactly what the doctors told me to do, and asked tons of questions when I had them, and got lots of support, and just took my time.”

When she was ready, she worked on Girls Trip and 13 Reasons Why, among other projects but has maintained her commitment to getting more rest and not overextending herself.  One other thing that she’s taken away from the experience is that we should avoid self-diagnosing and, instead, she someone if something doesn’t feel right. “We should go get a checkup the same way we go to the gym, just preventatively,” she said. “Instead of waiting for something to go wrong.”

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