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Kate Walsh Admits: I Had A Huge Brain Tumor!

Sep. 18 2017, Updated 6:58 p.m. ET

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In a chilling tell-all interview with Cosmopolitan, Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh admitted that she battled a massive brain tumor in 2015! The actress, 49, who plays an absolute boss on TV claimed she was terrified when doctors first notified her of her condition.

"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 her so that she could take notes, because I was gone. It was never anything I would have imagined."

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Despite her shock, Walsh said she wasn't all that surprised given her hectic lifestyle.

"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… My pilates instructor said 'hey, your right side is dipping', and it didn't feel like I was off, but I looked down and could see it. Then when I was driving, I started swerving into the right lane," she said.

"The exhaustion got to the point where I could drink five cups of coffee, and still not feel awake or clear. 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," added the star.

After her diagnosis and treatment, Walsh rested for "about nine months" and later stepped back into the Hollywood spotlight, with more excitement than ever.

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"When I came back, I hit it hard," she said to Cosmopolitan. "I shot a film called Self that's just going to Toronto now, I shot Girls Trip, I shot 13 Reasons Why, I did a play in New York last year, so it was great, once I was back I was really back. Those cliché, 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 be, and fun, and that make a cultural contribution. But my health comes first, and I've had to change my lifestyle."

Of the stress that comes with being a Hollywood actress, Walsh added: "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."

Joking about how different she is from her character in Grey's Anatomy, Walsh said: "You'd think that after playing Dr. Addison for the better part of a decade, where I spent more time on a hospital set than at my house, that I would feel somehow more comfortable, but I was such a little scaredy-cat. In the hospital, I felt like I might as well be six years old. My mother gave me rosary beads, my friend gave me a stuffed animal to go into surgery with. … I played a real badass on TV, but when it comes to being a patient it's such a vulnerable experience."

Walsh concluded saying that going through what she went through was "a very private experience" but she is now glad she can share it with the world. Get biggest advice? "Go see the doctor! We should go get a checkup the same way we go to the gym, just preventatively, instead of waiting for something to go wrong."

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