Strictly's Amy Dowden says she almost died after collapsing amid cancer diagnosis
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@amy_dowden / BBC
Strictly Come Dancing's Amy Dowden has opened up about her health journey and revealed she almost died after collapsing amidst her cancer diagnosis.
The 33-year-old dancer announced in May that she'd been diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32 before doctors later telling her she'd been diagnosed with another type of cancer that would require chemotherapy.
Speaking to The Mirror, the Strictly star - who has just completed her fifth round of chemotherapy - said she developed some major life-threatening conditions and opened up about the terrifying side effects.
"It’s more than that, though," Amy, who has already undergone a mastectomy, explained.
The BBC fan-favourite said she's been up against serious health complications since her early treatment, recalling: "After both my first cycles I developed the life-threatening side-effects that can come with chemo, so I had it all in the first month."
While she initially 'felt great' after her first bout of chemo, going for a stroll with her dad, everything changed just a matter of days later.
"I had a temperature and didn’t realise the severity of having a temperature," she said. "I stood up, collapsed, Mum rang the emergency number and they said 'phone an ambulance immediately'.
"From there everything got very serious."
Amy continued: "I remember going into hospital and them telling me I had an infection, but the following day it got very bad, I was unresponsive to antibiotics for hours.
"My last memory is a load of doctors around me in the early hours of Sunday morning. On Monday a nurse explained I had gone into septic shock."
Doctors had told Amy her blood pressure was so low that her 'vital organs would have started failing'.
Talking about her time in intensive care, she added: "I had severely low blood pressure, a low heart rate, I wasn’t passing urine for 14 hours, my infection markers were at dangerous levels."
After being put on 'three different types of antibiotics', Amy finally responded to the third type.
"We met the paramedics a week later and they said if I had gone to bed that night I might not have woken up the next morning," she revealed.
The sepsis Amy had developed was caused by an infection she picked just up before her treatment.
Amy made the decision to go ahead with her second cycle of chemo after being assured by her oncologist that she had been particularly unlucky regarding her side effects.
However, she was yet again faced with another set back.
"I got blood clots, I ended up back in hospital," she went on. "I had the chemo on the Thursday and ended up in hospital on the Monday until the Wednesday.
"My arm swelled up and went purple and I was really short of breath. So I was rushed back in. It was frightening, too. I’m on blood thinners now for six months."
Looking back to her breast cancer diagnosis, Amy remembered it was 'a bit of a shock', adding: "The doctor said he was not expecting to find this. I think I’ll have to consider another mastectomy."
Talking about her initial reaction to chemo, she explained: "I thought that’s Strictly with a partner wiped out, that’s my hair gone, that’s my life gone. I was like, I don’t want to do that.
"I was pretty adamant up until the day before, I had a meltdown, a crying fit going 'I don’t want to do it'."
Doctors later told her refusing the treatment would mean a reduction in her survival chances.
"My surgeon kept telling me, 'You can dance forever and ever afterwards'," the dancer added.
By early next month, Amy will finally be finished with her fifth cycle of chemo.
"I dream every night of being back on the dance floor," she said. "But I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week