Julia Louis-Dreyfus is reflecting on five years of living cancer-free.
The Seinfeld star, 62, was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in September 2017. In October 2018, she announced she was in remission after undergoing a double mastectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy.
In conversation with WSJ. Magazine — which named Louis-Dreyfus its entertainment innovator of the year — the actress recalled the moment she found out about her diagnosis.
The morning after winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Selina Meyer in Veep — her sixth consecutive Emmy — in September 2017, she received a call from her doctor with the news.
After hanging up the phone, the actress said she doubled over with laughter. “I mean, it felt like it was written,” she said in the interview, published on Wednesday, November 1. “It felt like it was a horrible black comedy. And then it sort of morphed into crying hysterically.”
Louis-Dreyfus admitted she was also terrified. “You just simply don’t consider it for yourself, you know, that’s sort of the arrogance of human beings,” she said. “But of course, at some point, we’re all going to bite it.”
The actress has started “living more mindfully” in the years since. “It’s not like it’s yakking at me all the time, but there’s more laser focus,” she explained.
During an appearance at the New Yorker Festival in October, the Veep star explained why her initial reaction was laughter when receiving her cancer diagnosis.
“Well, because the night before, I had won an Emmy. And so, I came downstairs and … the Emmy was there. It was, like, on the dining room table. I’m coming down to get coffee. My cell phone rings, and it’s my doctor saying, ‘Guess what, you have cancer,’” she told the audience, per People.
“And I’m like, ‘Huh? What?’ And so, it was a very bizarre juxtaposition,” the actress continued. “And, of course, I did laugh, and then I became hysterical, crying, because I was terrified, as most people are, or as all people are if they get a diagnosis like that.”
Louis-Dreyfus also credited her support system for helping her get through such a difficult time. “I have a very strong and supportive family, and for which I am eternally grateful, upon whom I relied — sisters, husband, my sons, my mother, my mothers, my stepmother, everybody,” she said.