Strictly’s Amy Dowden reveals she was rushed to hospital after contracting ‘life-threatening’ sepsis following her first round of chemotherapy
Amy Dowden has revealed she was rushed to hospital earlier this month after contracting sepsis following her first round of chemotherapy.
The Strictly Come Dancing star, 33, recently revealed doctors discovered she has ‘another type of cancer’ following her initial breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year.
She began chemo on August 3 and shared the experience on her Instagram Stories for her followers.
Amy admitted that she was ‘wishing this wasn’t happening to me’, after being fitted for a port and a cold cap for the treatment, and added that she had burst into tears.
But she later put on a brave face and said the experience ‘wasn’t as bad’ as she thought and quipped that she was ‘one step closer to being back on the dance floor’.
Scary: Amy Dowden has revealed she was rushed to hospital earlier this month after contracting sepsis following her first round of chemotherapy
Awful: The Strictly Come Dancing star, 33, recently revealed doctors discovered she has ‘another type of cancer ‘ following her initial breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year
However, two days later Amy started feeling sick and got a temperature of 37.7 degrees Celsius, which she explained ‘could be fatal for a chemo patient.’
The professional dancer assumed that she was just reacting to the chemo but soon began getting worse, with her mum Gillian saying she went from ok to ill in ‘an instant’.
She became breathless and complained of a pain in her chest before she ‘crumpled back onto the settee’.
Speaking to Hello! Magazine, Amy recalled: ‘I began feeling sick and not quite right. I felt freezing cold but I was all clammy and shaking. My mum and dad rang my red card [which provides the chemotherapy team’s contact details and current treatment information] and they said to hang up and ring the ambulance.’
After paramedics arrived they advised her to rush to hospital, but Amy was reluctant to go.
She said: ‘I didn’t want to go into hospital; at the time I didn’t realise how ill I was. I knew it was a Saturday night, so A&E would probably be crowded, and it was dangerous being around people as it’s more likely you’ll pick up an infection. On chemo, you don’t have your white blood cells to fight infection.’
However, the paramedics reassured her and she was rushed to Walsall Manor Hospital and treated for a viral infection with an antibiotic drip.
But it was later revealed that she had contracted sepsis and was brought to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as her blood pressure was dangerously low.
Tough: She began chemo on August 3 and shared the experience on her Instagram Stories admitting that she was ‘wishing this wasn’t happening to me’, after being fitted for a port and a cold cap for the treatment, and added that she had burst into tears
Strong: But she later put on a brave face and said the experience ‘wasn’t as bad’ as she thought and quipped that she was ‘one step closer to being back on the dance floor’
Support system: She revealed her Strictly co-stars have been in touch, saying: ‘The pros have been sending videos, flowers and presents. I speak to Dianne [Buswell] every single day’
Her parents Richard and Gillian said they were in ‘panic mode’ and Gillian said: ‘We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, everything was looking very serious. What I couldn’t believe is how quick the situation can change and how little time you have to respond.’
Luckily Amy began responding to treatment and began to improve, able to return home on August 8.
Speaking about the scary ordeal Amy said: ‘I just got very, very unlucky. I’m also more prone to infections because my Crohn’s means I have a lower immune system.’
She voiced her gratitude towards the paramedics that saved her life and revealed her Strictly co-stars have been in touch.
She said: ‘The pros have been sending videos, flowers and presents. I speak to Dianne [Buswell] every single day. This is impacting on them as well because we’re a team. I’m grateful they are including me because Strictly will help me get through the next few months, mentally. It’s just the tonic that I need.’
It comes after Amy admitted she ‘isn’t ready’ to shave her head after she started to lose her hair due to the chemo.
She penned on her Story: ‘So my scalp/head the last few days been quite sore and painful with the hair loss. Any tips of what may help this out there? Really appreciate, will share to help others too.’
One fan replied that she should shave it off, but Amy replied: ‘I’m personally not ready for this. Everyone is different and how they cope or go about their journey is up to them and need to be what’s right for them.
Dangerous: However, two days later Amy started feeling sick and got a temperature of 37.7 degrees Celsius, which she explained ‘could be fatal for a chemo patient’
Terrifying: The professional dancer assumed that she was just reacting to the chemo but soon began getting worse, with her mum Gillian saying she went from ok to ill in ‘an instant’
‘I’ve had lots telling me just shave it. It’s only hair. I’ve already gone through body changes for life, emotions, pain and right now I want to try save what I can with the cooling cap.
‘Absolutely to those who brave the shave, you are strong! But please all remember everyone of us have different emotions, battles and deals with everything with what’s best for them and how they cope best! All journeys are personal!’
She revealed that she was ‘heartbroken’ as her hair started to fall out, and showed off a clump that she had lost, writing: ‘So much everyday! So hard! One day at a time!’
Opening up to her followers, Amy said: ‘What I’ve found harder this time round and the last few days is hair shedding [sic].’
She continued: ‘Even though I’m cold capping you hope to keep 50 per cent of your hair and there are also many benefits to the hair growing back quicker too.
‘But as much as I prepared myself waking up everyday gently combing my hair with a wide comb and seeing what comes out, it is just heartbreaking personally for me. I’m only washing my hair once, max twice, this week, not using any heat on my hair or styling it so I just don’t feel like me.
‘So it’s time to bring out the wig I say and get used to this and help me feel like me. I’m still Amy! Some days last week I’d wake and for the first few seconds you forget and then suddenly it all hits you, the day and challenges ahead and your new reality and it’s tough – had a few morning cries and learning that’s OK too.’
She then thanked everyone for their messages of support, penning: ‘Thank you again for all the lovely messages asking how I am, want to be open and honest and hopefully help others going through or those supporting those on their journeys too!’
Candid: It comes after Amy admitted she ‘isn’t ready’ to shave her head after she started to lose her hair due to the chemo
Brave: She revealed that she was ‘heartbroken’ as her hair started to fall out , and showed off a clump that she had lost, writing: ‘So much everyday! So hard! One day at a time!’
Amy was first diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer in May after she found a lump while preparing for her honeymoon with husband Ben Jones in April.
The professional dancer has since had an operation, a mastectomy and has had fertility treatment.
However, during an Instagram Live chat with breast cancer survivor and Paralympic gold medalist Erin Kennedy for the charity CoppaFeel! on Friday, Amy revealed the devastating news cancer had been found elsewhere in her body.
What is breast cancer, how many people does it strike and what are the symptoms?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.
Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.
What causes breast cancer?
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply.
There are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.
For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000
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