Veteran actress Kathy Bates receives diagnosis of severe chronic health ailment

For decades, actress Kathy Bates has been a prominent figure in both television and film, portraying strong characters with unwavering intensity. However, in real life, she’s no less formidable.

Recently, Bates received a diagnosis of a chronic condition, prompting her to undertake significant changes in her life.


In 1970, Kathy Bates embarked on her journey to New York, venturing into the unpredictable world of acting. Reflecting on that time, she acknowledges she was never cast as the ingenue but found her niche nonetheless. “I was never an ingenue,” she admits. “I’ve always just been a character actor. When I was younger, it was a real challenge because I wasn’t conventionally pretty. It was tough, not just due to the lack of opportunities, but also because you have to confront how people perceive you,” Bates shared.

Her Broadway career began to flourish in 1980 with her portrayal of Stella May in “Come Back To The Five And Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.” Although she missed out on film adaptations of her stage roles on several occasions, her breakthrough came at the age of 42 with her unforgettable performance as a psychotic fan in “Misery,” which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Reflecting on the roles she’s been offered, Bates remarked, “You’re either young and glamorous, and you’ll land the lead, or you’re not deemed attractive enough. So, you end up playing the friend, the killer, the lesbian, the doctor, or whatever,” she observed. “But the one who portrays the youthful, conventionally pretty character, who ends up with the guy at the end, holds no real power. Conversely, a character might wield power but lacks femininity.”


Kathy Bates expanded her repertoire by directing episodes for acclaimed shows such as “Homicide: Life On The Street,” “NYPD Blue,” “Oz,” and the highly successful TV series “Six Feet Under.”

In her personal life, Bates has faced health challenges. She battled cancer twice, first with ovarian cancer in 2003 and then with breast cancer in 2012. Following her breast cancer surgery, she began to raise awareness about lymphedema, a condition she was diagnosed with. Bates now serves as a spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, using her platform to advocate for education and research on the condition.

Kathy Bates has candidly shared her journey of losing 80 pounds over recent years. Due to her condition, she must wear compression sleeves to prevent swelling in her arms. Ensuring she wears them during flights or strenuous activities is crucial, as without them, her condition can flare up.

Managing the condition requires Bates to consciously slow down. She emphasizes the importance of relaxation, proper posture, deep breathing, and focusing on each task moment by moment. Reflecting on the pandemic, Bates notes how it compelled her to adopt a slower pace, aiding in managing her condition.

Despite the challenges, Bates encourages others with the condition not to let it hinder their lives. She acknowledges the discomfort of wearing compression garments in public, particularly when awareness about lymphedema is lacking. However, she stresses the importance of not isolating oneself and leading an active life, as staying sedentary can exacerbate the condition both physically and mentally.

Kathy Bates emphasizes the importance of not allowing one’s condition to dictate their identity—a principle she embodies herself. She advocates for increased research into lymphedema and supports initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the condition by lobbying for funding.

Despite her diagnosis, Bates remains determined to pursue roles that bring her joy and fulfill her professional aspirations. She has not allowed her condition to hinder her career or passions.

Through her journey, Bates has not only learned to coexist with her condition but also to thrive despite it. Her resilience serves as an inspiration to others facing similar challenges.

Share this article to spread encouragement and motivation to those battling lymphedema, reminding them that they, too, can thrive in the face of adversity.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *