Kate Walsh is returning to Grey’s Anatomy for the 18th season of the beloved hospital drama, six years after her brain tumor battle.
The 53-year-old actress shared the news on social media Thursday in a pair of videos posted to Twitter.Read More
— Kate Walsh (@katewalsh) September 3, 2021
In a lengthier video, posted by the show’s creator Shonda Rhimes, Walsh shares her excitement about returning to the show.
“Well well well. That’s right Dr. Addison Montgomery is coming back to Grey Mercy West Memorial Hospital. And I’m so excited to be home again joining Shonda, Ellen [Pompeo], and the rest of the incredible cast this season,” says Walsh.
She then tells fans to “just wait and see” what the cast and crew have in store for them before promoting the season 18 premiere later this month.
Walsh’s return to the hallways of Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital will not be brief, with a source telling SurvivorNet the actress will appear in at least three episodes this season and that many of her scenes will be with Jake Borelli, who plays Dr. Levi Schmitt.
The news already has star Pompeo excited, who responded to Walsh’s posts by commenting: “Let’s give them what they want… quality TV drama.”
Longtime showrunner Krista Vernoff also expressed her enthusiasm on social media, sharing the news and writing: “Christmas came early this year.”
— shondaland tv (@shondaland) September 3, 2021
Dr. Montgomery first appeared in the show’s explosive first season finale as the estranged wife of Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd.
She appeared in the next two seasons of the program before ditching rainy Seattle for sunny Malibu in the spinoff series, Private Practice.
That show ran for six seasons before coming to an end, at which time Walsh started developing her own projects.
It was in 2015 that she started feeling tired all the time, and found herself often leaning right.
“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,” she said in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “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 eventually realized something was very wrong and decided to get an MRI.
“I thought maybe it was menopausal symptoms because there are a lot of the same markers, but I really pushed to see a neurologist, I just had an instinct,” explained Walsh. “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. And three days later I was in surgery having it removed.”
Once she learned her diagnosis — a benign (non-cancerous) meningioma — Walsh said she became almost robotic.
“I was relieved that I could get in with a great doctor and one of the most amazing surgeons in the world, and have them take care of it,” said Walsh. “I had the MRI and three days later I was in surgery, and it was benign and they were able to get all of it. After that, I just really focused on recovery, and surrendering to that process.”
Walsh took a year to recover before returning to work, and in recent years has starred in a slew of successful shows including The Umbrella Factory, Fargo, 13 Reasons Why and Emily in Paris.
She did not see a return to Grey’s being in the books, at least in a 2017 interview as part of the Build series.
“We explored Addison, you know, pretty thoroughly between Grey’s and Private Practice, so as much as there’s always that desire to bring her back or have her come back to this special, it’s not, you know, I think that we felt like we put it to rest,” said Walsh, while at the same time noting she would work with Rhimes at a moment’s notice if she got the call.
What Is a Meningioma?
A meningioma is a growth that is often noncancerous that takes root in the meninges, a membrane protecting the brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan the director of medical neuro-oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston says, “essentially the brain and the spinal cord float in this sac called the meninges.”
“Your brain is kind of a soft tissue. It’s almost like a sponge,” Dr. Jeyapalan says. ” And every time you move your head, you’d be bruising your brain because you’re hitting up against the hard bone, the skull. So one of the things that evolution has done is that your brain is sort of floating in a sort of natural shock absorber, as you were, so this fluid” contained in the meninges.
There is still no indication as to what may cause meningiomas, but the growths are more prevalent in women than men and in individuals who have a family history with the tumor. Radiation to the head may also increase the risk of developing a meningioma. In the United States, Black people have higher rates of meningioma than white people.
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What Are Symptoms of a Meningioma?
It can be difficult to identify the symptoms of a meningioma. In some cases, people will start to favor or lean to one side more than the other, much like Walsh.
And because of the rate at which meningiomas grow, these changes can b subtle over time.
Some common symptoms are:
- Vision changes
- Loss of hearing or smell
- Headaches that are worse in the morning
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