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'Grey's Anatomy' Star Kate Walsh Had to Fight for an MRI Just Like the Rest of Us

You might think playing a doctor for almost a decade would prepare you for any sort of health problem that comes your way, but that wasn’t the case for former “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh. She recently shared how being diagnosed with a brain tumor was one of the most vulnerable experiences in her life.

Walsh was working 80 hours a week in 2015 when she starred and executive produced the NBC drama “Bad Judge.” When she started feeling exhausted, she didn’t think much of it, she told Cosmopolitan. “I figured, okay, I’ll change up my workout routine, I’ll go back to mellow stuff like hiking,” Walsh said.

For weeks, Walsh tried a new routine, upped her caffeine intake, but nothing helped. Then her pilates instructor noticed her right side began dipping and she had trouble finishing sentences. That’s when she got concerned and pushed to see a neurologist.

“I just had an instinct. I had to really advocate, because they don’t hand out MRIs so easily, but I got an MRI and thank God I did, because it turned out I had a very sizable brain tumor in my left frontal lobe,” she said, “And three days later I was in surgery having it removed.”

Walsh was diagnosed with a meningioma — a type of tumor that forms in the outer layers of tissue between the skull and brain.

Luckily, her tumor — which was the size of a lemon — was benign, and surgeons were able to get it all out.

After the surgery, Walsh took nine months off work, then came back strong and shot three films in a row. Her experience forced her to change her lifestyle; she no longer works 17-hour days and makes sure to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Most importantly, she said she’s more aware of her health and wants others to be, too.

You just have to keep talking, keep asking questions. I think of myself as a very strong, proactive person, but still, there’s this anxiety that comes up, and the idea that healthcare is an ivory tower, and you don’t want to bother the geniuses. But everybody’s health is their own experience, and you have to keep a dialogue going.

Walsh’s interview with Cosmopolitan also covered her role as a spokesperson for Cigna, as well as her work promoting annual checkups. She’s also making it known on social media she wants other women to take time out of their busy lives to care about their health.


Photo courtesy of Kate Walsh Twitter account