She’s been taking a break from Studio 10 over the last few months to undergo a knee replacement, but Denise Drysdale has now revealed for the first time that she suffered a series of other terrifying health scares in the wake of the operation.
The 70-year-old TV star appeared on the Channel 10 show on Tuesday by video from her home, as she was visited by co-star Sarah Harris. On camera, she revealed that she would be returning to the panel next month following a horrific few months out of the limelight.
From starting to lose her sight and being told she’d come just a day from potentially going blind, to suffering a cancer scare – all within a matter of months – Denise admitted the series of shocks left her feeling “depressed”.
It all began when the star suffered an agonising knee injury while getting out of bed just one week into a dream cruise. It meant she had to spend the rest of her holiday in a wheelchair.
She was eventually forced to cut the cruise short and returned home to have the replacement, but it led to her suffering blood clots which extended her hospital stay. However once home, she was hit with another terrifying scare as she began to lose her sight after suffering serious head pain.
“I woke up in the middle of the night with this pain in my eye and I rang the ambulance which is pretty big thing for me to do… I thought it was stress and my head wasn’t coping,” she recalled.
Asked what the doctor said, Denise added: “He said if I had of waited another day I might have gone blind… It was a detached retina. It means the retina’s come off the eyeball.”
Denise insisted she’ll never take her eyesight for granted again, and described the brief time that hers was impaired as “debilitating”.
Due to her not being able to drive at the time, Denise spent months in her home – something she joked felt like “house arrest”, but her troubles weren’t over there as she began to feel lumps on her head shortly after which she first assumed were insect bites – before they continued to spread down the side of her face.
The frustrated star was told that all tests were coming back negative at the time, before she was finally told it was a minor infection.
However, her biggest health scare came shortly after that, as Denise recalled: “New Year’s Eve I woke up and I was on my side and I thought, ‘I must have slept on my breast’ – because you know, they can fit under your arm sometimes! I used to fit it under a lot!
“But anyway, there was a lump… It was big. I thought maybe it is cancer, maybe it’s not – people go through it, it will be fine. But it turned out to be a cyst, so that was alright… I was relieved.”
Since the series of health scares, Denise spent two months without touching a drop of alcohol – instead choosing to focus on her health as a whole. She’s since had an operation on her eye, and her prognosis is looking good.
Asked by Sarah if she felt like Denise Drysdale at the time, Denise said: “I didn’t and I still don’t to a certain degree. I just feel not well, a smaller version of yourself.”