- The Magazine
Kathy Griffin has revealed that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer, although says that doctors are “very optimistic” about her prognosis.
The multi-award-winning comedian and actress shared the news on her social media and said that her cancer is stage one, indicating that it is small and hasn’t spread anywhere else.
“I’ve got to tell you guys something,” Griffin, 60, wrote. “I have cancer. I’m about to go into surgery to have half my left lung removed. Yes, I have lung cancer even though I never smoked.
“The doctors are very optimistic as it is stage one and confined to my left lung,” Griffin continued. “Hopefully no chemo or radiation after this and I should have normal function with my breathing.”
Griffin said she expected to be “up and running around as usual” within a month.
“Of course I’m fully vaccinated for Covid,” Griffin wrote. “The consequences for being unvaccinated would have been even more serious. Please stay up to date on your medical check ups. It’ll save your life.”
Griffin also reflected on “a helluva 4 years,” a reference to effectively being blacklisted after a photo of her holding a mask painted to look like Donald Trump’s head sparked outrage and backlash.
The longtime LGBTQ ally was investigated by the Secret Service, placed on the no-fly list, flooded with abuse from Trump supporters, and even targeted by a domestic terrorist in the wake of the photo.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) August 2, 2021
Griffin lost her sister Joyce to cancer in 2017 and her brother Gary died from esophageal cancer in 2013.
In an interview with ABC News prior to her surgery, Griffin also revealed that she has struggled with painkiller addiction and suicidal ideation.
The fallout from the Trump photoshoot, particularly after she embarked on her 2017 “Laugh Your Head Off” world tour, saw Griffin taking the amphetamine Provigil and sleeping aid Ambien.
“I really fell in love with them,” she said. “Then, it was kind of the allure of, ‘Oh, I can regulate my energy levels or my moods. Or … I fell on my elbow in my act or something and I can be pain-free or something.’ And it got out of control very rapidly.”
Her addiction, combined with the constant death threats and abuse, led her to start “thinking about suicide more and more as I got into the pill addiction, and it became almost an obsessive thought.”
“I started really convincing myself it was a good decision,” Griffin said. “I got my living revocable trust in order. I had all my ducks in a row. I wrote the note — the whole thing.”
A suicide attempt led Griffin to access help, which led to a two-week psychiatric hold and a “nasty” detox.
“Here’s the silver lining,” Griffin said of being sober. “I am so thrilled and grateful. I feel like, at 60, I’m gonna get a next chapter. That’s the thing everyone said wasn’t gonna happen. I believed [it] wasn’t gonna happen.”
Of her cancer diagnosis, Griffin said the “irony is not lost on me that, a little over a year ago, all I wanted to do was die. And now, all I wanna do is live.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK], or the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.
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