In the United States, Kathy Bates is a well-known and recognizable name. The actress has had an extraordinary career in theater and on screen, but her journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Despite facing numerous health battles, she continues to inspire with her resilience and determination.
Breakthrough and Recognition
Kathy Bates had her breakthrough in the dramatic psychological thriller, Misery, a role that earned her an Academy Award nomination. Since then, she has become a familiar face on both the small and big screen. Notably, she won two Golden Globes and two Primetime Emmys for her work in the ninth season of Two and a Half Men and the NBC sitcom Harry’s Law.
Away from the camera, Kathy Bates faced a series of health challenges. In 2003, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which led to a hysterectomy and rounds of chemotherapy. Although she successfully fought and recovered from ovarian cancer, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.
A Brave Decision
Having a strong family history of breast cancer and seeing her mother and aunt battle the disease, Kathy Bates made a brave decision. Despite testing negative for the BRCA breast cancer gene, she chose to undergo a double mastectomy to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
When asked about her decision, Kathy Bates humorously said, “When the doctor told me I had a tumor in my left breast, I said, ‘Make it a double!’ I wasn’t going to take any chances.” She courageously decided to remove both breasts, prioritizing her health and well-being.
Living with Lymphedema
As if battling two types of cancer and undergoing multiple surgeries wasn’t challenging enough, Kathy Bates also developed lymphedema. Lymphedema is a disorder that causes swelling in the arm and hand due to a compromised lymphatic system.
She candidly shared her experience, saying, “As soon as I woke up from my breast surgery, I felt a peculiar sensation in my left arm, almost like a tingling. I lost my mind and rushed outside, confused and concerned. I was still recovering, and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt anyone.”
Kathy Bates admits that she was initially furious and depressed, fearing that her professional career was over. However, she found strength within herself to keep moving forward.
It is important to shed light on lymphedema, as it affects approximately 10 million people in the United States. Kathy Bates passionately pointed out that this number is greater than the combined cases of ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, and AIDS. Yet, there is a lack of awareness and understanding surrounding lymphedema.
She expressed her frustration, sharing, “When we, as women, visit doctors with swollen legs, we are told to ‘just go eat a salad.’ This condition worsens, it is incurable, and it progresses.” Kathy Bates believes that more attention and support should be given to those affected by lymphedema.
According to the NHS, early treatment is crucial in managing lymphedema and preventing further complications. Efforts should be made to raise awareness and provide effective care for individuals living with this condition.
Kathy Bates continues to inspire with her resilience and determination. Through her journey, she reminds us that strength can be found in the face of adversity.