“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh is used to playing a doctor on TV, but nothing could have prepared for the moment she learned she had a brain tumor.
Walsh opened up about the diagnosis in a new interview with Cosmopolitan, saying that she was diagnosed with a benign meningioma the size of a lemon in 2015. She had the tumor removed that year but said the diagnosis was a “wake up call.”
She said that earlier that year, she felt exhausted all the time but chalked it up to her busy schedule as an actress.
“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.”
She eventually started noticing other symptoms, like swerving into the right lane while driving and issues with cognition. She went to a neurologist, following an “instinct,” and and MRI revealed she had a tumor on the left side of her frontal lobe.
“The words ‘brain tumor’ were never in my zeitgeist,” Walsh 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.”
She underwent surgery three days after the MRI, and doctors were able to remove the mass.
Walsh took a nine-month break from acting before working on projects including “13 Reasons Why” and “Girls Trip.” Now, she makes sure to take care of herself.
“We should go get a checkup the same way we go to the gym, just preventatively, instead of waiting for something to go wrong,” she said.