Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals she had six rounds of chemo, says filming 'Veep' was a 'joyful distraction'

Julia Louis-Dreyfus never stopped working during her cancer battle.

In a new interview with Porter Edit, the 58-year-old actress discusses her six rounds of chemotherapy -- which caused symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea and sores -- and reveals how she maintained her work ethic, despite the fact that her hit HBO series, Veepwasn't filming at the time.

"We weren’t shooting, but I read scripts. My rounds of chemotherapy were three weeks apart, so at the end of every three weeks I would go in and do table reads," she shares. "The effects of chemotherapy are cumulative, so I definitely felt that more towards the end, but going to work was a very joyful distraction, and I was so pleased to have the strength to do it."

She adds, "To be creative for a living, to make people laugh or cry, is a f**king gift. I love it and I love hard work to that end."

Though she kept up with and found joy in her work, Louis-Dreyfus was still plagued by fear, particularly that she wouldn't "have the brain power to get back to the hard work" of filming the series, which is currently airing its final season.

"I have to memorize a lot and I was concerned about whether I’d be able to do that," she says, before revealing how she managed to combat that worry. "I started doing tricks, trying to memorize poems and things. I think it was mainly just comforting to me to get them in my head."

With all the trials and tribulations that come with fighting cancer, many were surprised that Louis-Dreyfus decided to be so open about her battle, starting with revealing her diagnosis on Instagram alongside a call for universal healthcare.

"If I hadn’t had a show that was relying on me, I don’t know that I would have gone so public with it," she admits. "But I had 200 people waiting to go back to work. And I wanted to talk about it in a way that could maybe highlight something important. Universal healthcare was an important issue to me prior to getting this diagnosis, and it certainly is even more so now."

The comments echo what she told ET back in October about deciding to go public with her diagnosis.

"I knew it would get out there because I knew we had to shut down production [on Veep] for a number of months in order to accommodate my situation," she said at the time. "So then I thought, 'Well, I'm just going to embrace this and attack it and try to do it with a sense of humor. I was really pleased with the reaction."

Aside from a healthier diet, the main thing Louis-Dreyfus took away from her cancer battle is a "a deeper appreciation for the good stuff."

"[Cancer] finally crystallized my priorities, which didn’t really need that much crystallization," she tells Porter Edit. "But I would certainly say that I have an even deeper appreciation for the good stuff. That sounds corny, but it’s f**king true."

On Veep, Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, a crass multi-time presidential hopeful. "It’s delicious to play someone so self-obsessed; I tap into my inner two-year-old toddler," she quips.

Despite her only goal being to "make an exceptionally funny show," Louis-Dreyfus is pleased that it's helped "opened up the conversation about powerful women."

"Why is a powerful woman a complicated thing? Why is asserting ourselves so hard?" she questions. "I feel it myself; any time I assert myself in a strong way, or I feel highly opinionated about something in a work environment, there is a voice in my head that is questioning it, wondering if I should rein myself in."

One place she makes sure to rein herself in is when discussing and displaying her many awards, which include 11 Emmys. "I don’t want to keep them all in one spot -- that feels sort of show-off-y," she says. "So I have some out… but others are tucked away under a bed."

While many of those awards are thanks to Veep, others come from her iconic run on Seinfeld as Elaine Benes, a role she loved, but likely wouldn't return to.

"I don’t want to sully it. It was pretty special and it’s been a long time now," she says. “You don’t want to f**k something like that up." 

With Selina and Elaine having cemented their places in comedic history, Louis-Dreyfus has no plans to stop looking for the next role that could do the same.

"Storytelling is what keeps me motivated," she says. "A really good story, that you can sink your teeth into and help tell to the world, is, for me, the most inspiring way to live."

55 PHOTOS
Julia Louis-Dreyfus through the years
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus through the years
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 15 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mary Gross, Julia Louis-Dreyfus during the 'I Am Also The World' skit on March 30, 1985 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 11 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gary Kroeger as Julio Iglesias and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Helen Caldicott during the 'In Praise of Women' skit on January 19, 1985 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 6 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus during the 'Saturday Night News' skit on November 19, 1983 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mary Gross as Dotty, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as leader, Robin Duke as Candy during 'Cheerleaders' skit on November 12, 1983 (Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 2 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Andie MacDowell during the 'Calvin Klein Cream Pies' skit on October 15, 1983 -- (Photo by: Raymond Bonar/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview with guest host Jay Leno on April 19, 1991 -- (Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- Pictured: (l-r) Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander as George Costanza (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SEINFELD -- 'The Movie' Episode 14 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Marie Benes (Photo by Carin Baer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Betty Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
SEINFELD -- Season 5 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by George Lange/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SEINFELD -- 'The Mom and Pop Store' Episode 8 -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes (Photo by J. Delvalle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during 7th Annual Enviromental Media Awards at Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during 7th Annual Enviromental Media Awards at Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus at the 1997 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during A Bug's Life - Los Angeles Premiere at El Captain Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
THE 50TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on September 13, 1998 -- (Photo by: Margaret C. Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
STUDIO CITY, CA - APRIL 3: (NO U.S TABLOID SALES) Actress Julia Louis Dreyfus smiles as she reads a script during the last days of shooting the hit tv show 'Seinfeld' April 3, 1998 in Studio City, California. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during Angle House Cleaning 2000 Democratic Fundraiser Gala at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 7: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and actor David Duchovny attend the Fifth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 7, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus & husband Brad Hall during 11th Annual Environmental Media Awards at Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus during HBO's Band of Brothers Hollywood Premiere at Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
Julia Louis Dreyfus at Earth to America! which airs on TBS Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 10427JS_20027.JPG (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage for Turner Broadcasting System)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for The WB Television Network)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 15: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus sarrives to ELLE Magazine's 14th Annual Women In Hollywood at the four seasons hotel on October 15, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives for the 59th Emmy Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. The Emmys are awarded annually by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in television. (Photo by Francis Specker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on September 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends the 18th annual Environmental Media awards at the Ebell Theatre on November 12, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- Air Date 11/6/2008 -- Episode 3651 -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview on November 6, 2008 -- Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank
�2009 GAMEPIKS PHOTO Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her son Charles sit courtside as they attend the Los Angeles Lakers/New Orleans Hornets NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 1, 2009. The Lakers defeated the Hornets 110-99. XYZ (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks onstage at the 2009 CNN Heroes Awards held at The Kodak Theatre on November 21, 2009 in Hollywood, California. 19284_005_JS_0088.jpg
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: Julia Louis-Dreyfus visits 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on November 2, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4440 -- Pictured: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus during an interview on April 8, 2013 -- (Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA- SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy?? Awards held at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 68th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (L) kisses her husband Brad Hall during the 68th Emmy Awards show on September 18, 2016 at the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. / AFP / Valerie MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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