After playing Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, Kate Walsh soon found herself on the operating table with a serious health scare. The actress revealed that she was diagnosed with a lemon-sized brain tumor in 2015.
"The exhaustion got to the point where I could drink five cups of coffee and still not feel awake or clear," she explained to Cosmopolitan of her symptoms. "And then 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."
Walsh went in for an MRI — after shattering her pinky the night before because she had no depth perception — and had the benign tumor removed three days later. Though now fully recovered, the experience left her contemplating what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
"'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," she said. "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 seven or eight hours of sleep. As basic as that sounds, it was a huge part of my recovery."
After taking a nine-month break, Walsh jumped right back into work with projects like the movie Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (which just showed at the Toronto International Film Festival), the acclaimed comedy Girls Trip and the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why. She most recently appeared in the Netflix original movie #RealityHigh and has a few other projects in the works.
She might be keeping plenty busy but the actress is making sure to be more proactive about her health so that she's more prepared in the future. She even partnered with Cigna for their TV Doctors of America campaign which encourages people to go in for annual check-ups. "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 added.
13 Reasons Why and #RealityHigh are now streaming on Netflix.