Let’s face it, former Nickelodeon actress Amanda Bynes had not been acting normally for quite some time.
The young starlet was arrested for DUI, charged with 2 hit-and-run accidents and an alleged bong throwing incident. Then there were the Twitter rants about a variety of people she calls “ugly”, including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and even the President and Mrs. Obama! And the bizarre multicolored wigs she was spotted wearing around the streets and even in court.
The whole mess culminated in July when she allegedly set fire to a gasoline can in a stranger’s driveway. This prompted an involuntary psychiatric hold, which in turn lead to an extended stay at a psychiatric/rehab facility. She left the facility at the beginning of December. She is currently in the custody of her parents as she continues outpatient treatment.
Rhoda actress Valerie Harper, 74, shocked everyone in March when she announced that she had terminal brain cancer and only 3 to 6 months to live. But what was probably just as shocking was when it was announced she would be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars!
Harper was diagnosed with a rare condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC). LC is a condition in which a cancer widely spreads to the leptomeninges, part of the coverings of the brain. In Harper’s case it is most likely a late complication of lung cancer she had in 2009.
Despite the bleak prognosis, Harper has maintained a positive and hopeful outlook. She underwent chemotherapy and supplemented her regimen with acupuncture and “Chinese tea.” In August, Harper got the news from her neuro-oncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick that there has been striking improvement in her condition, and that she was “getting close to a remission.”
Valerie Harper was eliminated on Week 4 of DWTS, smiling at the standing ovation she received from the awe-inspired audience, telling them:
“It has been absolutely wonderful, completely unique, like nothing else in the world. It’s really a great thing to get out and dance!”
It’s no secret that Dick Cheney has battled heart disease for most of his life. But in his book, Heart: An American Medical Odyssey, which came out this year, the former Vice President describes just how tenuous his heart condition has been and how he benefited from each new advance in the treatment of heart disease.
But perhaps the most shocking part of the story is that when George Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate in 2000, there was enough of a question about his health that the Bush campaign consulted world renowned Texas heart surgeon Denton Cooley. After discussing Cheney’s health with with his cardiologist, Dr Jonathan. Reiner, Dr. Cooley provide a statement that Cheney’s “heart function was normal”.
For this apparently misleading statement, Cheney was taken to task by Dr. Sanjay Gupta during an October 60 Minutes interview:
Sanjay Gupta: The normal cardiac function wasn’t true.
Dick Cheney: I’m not responsible for that. I didn’t know what took place between the doctors.
Sanjay Gupta: This idea that you have this respected heart surgeon from Texas who didn’t see you, didn’t examine you, and then writes something saying that you have normal cardiac function. That just wasn’t true, Mr. Vice President.
Dick Cheney: Listen to me, I think the bottom line is: was I up to the task of being vice president? And there’s no question. I think based upon the fact that I did it for eight years that they were right.
(Photo Credit: The View)
ABC News icon and The View co-host Barbara Walters was forced to stay off the air for six weeks after contracting an infectious disease, chickenpox. more commonly associated in young children. In January after a fall at the British Embassy, Barbara was hospitalized and required stitches. While in the hospital, she developed a fever and a rash and was diagnosed with chickenpox – something she never had as a child. Barbara probably got chickenpox from a New Years’ Eve kiss on the cheek of actor Frank Langella. Although he wasn’t aware of it at the time, Langella had shingles, a very painful reactivation of chickenpox that occurs in older adults.
Did you know that there’s know a vaccine that can prevent shingles?
Registered nurse Ryan Read was watching a marathon session of HGTV’s real estate show Flip or Flop, when she noticed something troublesome about host Tarek El Moussa. He seemed to have a lump growing over his thyroid.
Read contacted show producers who brought her concerns to El Moussa. He was already suspicious about the growing lump and difficulty swallowing he was having. Doctors initially dismissed his complaints but a second opinion and biopsy show that El Moussa had thyroid cancer which had already spread. Tarek was treated with surgery then radioactive iodine treatment.
This year, Gwyneth Paltrow’s beauty treatment of choice appeared to be something called Thermage.
Thermage is the brand name for one of several non-surgical cosmetic procedures which uses radiofrequency (RF) technology. The process actually causes heat damage to the lower layers of the skin prompting it to heal itself by creating new cells. Unlike lasers, which produce the heat damage using light energy, RF technology uses an electric current using radio waves.
What did Gwyneth think about her Thermage treatment?
“[My dermatologist] gave me this amazing laser the last time I was there. It’s called Thermage. It’s not invasive. I went out to dinner right afterward and I didn’t look crazy, but it’s quite painful. It feels like someone’s smacking your face with a rubber band that has an electric shock in it. But I would do it again, because I feel like it took five years off my face.”
In February, Lady Gaga postponed several concerts after complaining of hip pain. Originally attributed to synovitis, a severe inflammation of the joint, an MRI later revealed that Lady G had actually torn the labrum (cartilage that surrounds the socket of the hip), as well as had a hip fracture:
“My injury was actually a lot worse than just a labral tear,I had broken my hip…. But when we got all the MRIs finished before I went to surgery there were giant craters, a hole in my hip the size of a quarter, and the cartilage was just hanging out the other side of my hip. I had a tear on the inside of my joint and a huge breakage. The surgeon told me that if I had done another show I might have needed a full hip replacement. I would have been out at least a year, maybe longer.”
Surgery was performed in February , followed by six months of rest, during which she rolled around in a custom-made 24K gold plated wheelchair. She also spent the time reviewing and revising her album ARTPOP, which was released in November.
Two high profile celebrities spoke about their battles with bipolar disease this year.
In April, Catherine Zeta Jones was hospitalized for treatment of her depression. Zeta Jones first went public about her diagnosis in 2011 when she had her first hospitalization for bipolar disease, type 2. It occurred during the stressful year in which her husband Michael Douglas was diagnosed with “throat cancer.”
This year, marriage difficulties (a trial separation) and Michael’s very public announcement that he may have gotten his cancer from “oral sex” may have contributed to Catherine’s stresses, prompting the pro-active hospital admission. Fortunately, Catherine completed the treatment ahead of schedule, and on November 1st, the couple revealed that they had reconciled.
In an interview with Today show host Matt Lauer, Academy-Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss revealed that he has spent most of his life in a manic state. Dreyfuss was diagnosed with mania at age 19.
He told Matt that getting the diagnosis was, in some ways, “freeing” for him: “It took away all of my guilt because I found out that it wasn’t my behavior, it was something I was born with. So I didn’t feel shame or guilt…it’s just part of me.”
He is currently working with the Hope for Depression Research Foundation to promote additional research into the disorder. Mostly, he wants society to stop thinking of bipolar disease as a stigma:
“Stigma is silly; stigma is stupid; stigma is what other people think about you,” he said. “I, first of all, don’t know anyone who’s normal. Everybody’s got something, and I come from Hollywood so no one even argues the point. ‘Stigma’ is a word that should be kicked away — and ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ — because it’s a condition.”
It’s been an up and down year for Olympic Gold Metal skier Lindsey Vonn (pun totally intended).
Hoping to repeat her Olympic wins in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi Russia, Vonn started her first race of the 2013 World Championships in Schladming, Austria in February. Unfortunately, she crashed in the Super G , tearing both her right anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament and fracturing her right tibia. She underwent surgery to repair the injury which kept her out of competition for 10 months.
In November, Vonn returned to the slopes but in a training run, she sustained a mild strain to her right knee and a partial tear to her right ACL. She returned to competition on December 6th, slowing improving her standings with each race.
But spectators were left holding their breath when Lindsey had another scary run during the World Cup downhill in Val d’Isere. She clutched her right knee and appeared to be in obvious pain after she missed a gate.
Lindsey reports that she did not injure her knee any more than it is already injured and still plans to continue her bid to Sochi:
“”My knee is loose and it’s not stable and that’s the way it’s going to be from here on out. I just have to get used to it.
Good luck Lindsey!
Country music superstar Randy Travis had a series of unfortunate medical problems this past year. In July, Travis was hospitalized for viral cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle following a viral infection. Travis took a turn for the worse, and had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) (not unlike Dick Cheney) to stabilize him for transfer to The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano for more specialized care.
While there, the seven time Grammy winner suffered a stroke which required surgery to relieve increased pressure on this brain. Eventually he was released from the hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation facility. Reports are that Randy is still paralyzed on his right side and is confined to bed or a wheelchair.
Despite this, he released a new studio album, Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am Now, and a movie, Christmas on the Bayou, which he had filmed prior to his illness. At the recent George Jones Tribute concert, actor Jon Voight encouraged audience members to make “a human chain of love for Randy” to encourage his continued progress.