Kathy Bates debuted surprising weight loss recently and shared her secret to treating obesity. But don't envy the "Bad Santa 2" star's leaner look. Don't copy her weight shedding methods either. Bates is one of the most hilarious women in Hollywood, but there's nothing funny about how she achieved her remarkable transformation.

Versatile Kathy Bates' many health scares

The Tennessee native has portrayed some bizarre and diverse characters in "American Horror Story" and "Misery." Her "Delores Claiborne" is industry standard psychodrama. The Academy Award-winner became a comedy cult favorite as the nutty squirrel lady in "Rat Race" and mama in "Waterboy." Bates' iconic role in "Fried Green Tomatoes" proved further versatility.

Most recently she stars in the Christmas classic "Bad Santa 2." But her scariest parts weren't on screen. Bates has taken on obesity, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, double mastectomy and a debilitating condition called Lymphedema.

Kathy Bates opens up on Lymphedema

Earlier this year, the 68-year-old actress did something maybe no other celebrity has done. She invited CBS viewers into her doctor's examining room. The point was to explain her newest health issue, the common but little understood Lymphedema. This disfiguring condition can occur after cancer treatment removes lymph nodes which process bodily fluid. Kathy had a double mastectomy to treat breast cancer. She lost 22 lymph nodes and without them, fluid backs up.

It's often wrongly believed that only obesity causes Lymphedema. But it frequently goes the other way: water retention makes a person appear obese.

Kathy Bates gets proper treatment

Bates has gained and lost weight before. Her recent slimmer look is due to the reduction of the swelling. At first the actor said she "went berserk" to find out that yet again her health was compromised.

After beating ovarian cancer and having two mastectomies, this just seemed too much. But diagnosis meant proper care. To treat painful, unsightly swelling, patients wear a compression cuff on limbs. Massage therapy gets backed up fluid moving. The condition isn't deadly but is dangerous and very common. 10 million folks in the US alone have Lymphedema--even more than MS, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Parkinson's Disease and AIDS, combined, says Bates.