Grey's Anatomy star reveals she was diagnosed with a brain tumour 5 years ago

Grey's Anatomy star reveals she was diagnosed with a brain tumour

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she had a secret operation to remove a brain tumour, a meningioma that was "the size of a lemon", two years ago.

The actress, who played Dr. Addison Montgomery on the medical drama, opened up about the shocking diagnosis to Cosmopolitan, as she told how the situation had been a "wake up call" for her.

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The 49 year old had just finished working on the comedy series Bad Judge in January 2015 when she began to feel exhausted - but she didn't think anything was out of the ordinary at first.

She told Cosmo:

"I had been working insane hours, maybe 80 hours a week, and also working out really hard, so I wasn't surprised.

"I figured, okay, I'll change up my workout routine, I'll go back to mellow stuff like hiking."

Things didn't get better over the next six months, and the Private Practice star got even more worried when she noticed she was unable to finish some of her sentences and had started drifting to one side while driving.

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She added:

"Around April, I started having more 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."

Kate pushed to see a neurologist so that she could get an MRI - where doctors found out she had a "very sizeable brain tumour" in her left frontal lobe.

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She continued:

"The words 'brain tumour' 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."

Fortunately, the tumour was benign - and three days later, the 13 Reasons Why actress was in surgery to remove the mass.

The experience was a wake up call for the California native, who took nine months off before going back to work - where things were drastically different for her.

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Kate added:

"Those cliche, existential things do happen when you have a brain tumor, like, 'How do I really want to spend my time?'

"I want to be with my friends and family and work on projects that are hugely important to me, and fun, and that make a cultural contribution.

"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."