It was nine years ago that Kathy Bates was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She waited years before talking about it publicly. Now she’s come forward and wants to make up for lost time.
At the time of her illness, “I was focused on my own survival,” Bates says in a video for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
She recently talked to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about what her struggle was like, but the video she did for the cancer alliance is personal and touching. In it she describes her own experience and the progression of the disease — from one day spitting up “like a baby would” to undergoing chemotherapy and wishing she’d “just gone bald.”
It was a difficult time for the Oscar-winning actress, who was “supposed to do a movie.” The film was “Little Black Book,” with the late Brittany Murphy. “I wore a wig in the movie,” she says, but “that was the easy part.”
“The hard part was when I didn’t go to work and I had to deal with putting my own makeup on and wearing a wig or tying a scarf on my head,” she said. “And now looking back on it, I wish I’d just gone bald.”
Despite the hardships, Bates says “the whole experience was the best thing that ever happened to me because it focused me on what was important to me, and I wanted to live, and I wanted to enjoy what life was left to me.”
Bates, who says she’s in complete remission, urges women to “pay attention to what’s going on in their body …. Whatever it is, something that’s bothering you — so what if they think you’re crazy for going to the doctor? Go to the doctor.”
Earlier this month, Bates went the talk-show route when there was speculation that she was retiring and that her TV series, “Harry’s Law,” had been canceled by NBC.
Wrong and wrong, she said on “Live! With Kelly.” “Harry’s Law” was simply on hiatus, she said, and she would continue to act because “I’ve got to make a living.”