Now, in a new profile for The New Yorker, she's talking about the (very understandable) fears she was dealing with throughout all this—and how she kept those fears in check.
Louis-Dreyfus told the magazine that although she was afraid of dying, she refused to let those thoughts and feelings take over.
When asked if she ever gave in to feelings of fear or self-pity during her ordeal, Louis-Dreyfus replied, "'Am I gonna be dead tomorrow' kind of thing? I didn’t let myself go there." She continued, “Don’t misunderstand: I was to-my-bones terrified. But I didn’t let myself—except for a couple of moments—go to a really dark place. I didn't allow it."
While reflecting on her state of mind while getting through illness, treatment, and recovery, the 57-year-old explained how she's kept a firm grip on herself the last years. “You know if you get on a horse and you have really tight reins and the horse is galloping?” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I felt like I had really tight reins on myself. That’s what it felt like: I was just holding on tight."
Humor and the company of loved ones helped keep her fears at bay and her spirits up during some dark hours.
According to The New Yorker, Louis-Dreyfus experienced terrible side effects after each of the six rounds of chemo she went through. They included "debilitating" nausea and diarrhea, an inability to eat without vomiting, painful neuropathy in her hands and feet, and sores on her face and inside her mouth.
She did find a way to make the best of the difficult experience, however. “The old cliché about laughter being the best medicine turns out to be true," the actress said while rehearsing her acceptance speech for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor she received in October. "When I was getting my hideous chemotherapy, I’d cram a bunch of friends and family into the tiny treatment room with me…We really did have some great laughs." She joked, "Of course, I was heavily medicated and slipping in and out of consciousness, so I was a pretty easy audience."
We got a glimpse of that support network last October, when she posted on Instagram about two of her Veep co-stars, Tony Hale and Timothy Simmons, helping her get through her second round of chemo. Fans got to witness some of the love and humor Louis-Dreyfus received in virtual form as well, including a truly hilarious video that some more of her Veep co-stars made to psych her up for round three. And the actress shared a Michael Jackson-inspired video her sons made to celebrate their mom's last day of chemo in January.
While Louis-Dreyfus was able to ride out the rocky emotions, it's not surprising that coming close to death has changed her outlook in a pretty profound way.
The actress appears to be doing well physically and mentally today, but having to come to grips with the possibility of her own death has impacted the way she sees her life. “I have a different kind of view of my life now, having seen that edge—that we’re all going to see at some point, and which, really, as a mortal person you don’t allow yourself to consider, ever. And why would you? What are you going to do with it?” she told The New Yorker. “I was a little more breezy before. I was a little…breezy.”