Amy Dowden Speaks About 'Heartbreaking' Chemotherapy Side Effects In Candid Update

The Strictly Come Dancing professional began a chemotherapy treatment known as the "red devil" earlier this month.
Amy Dowden on the set of Lorraine last year
Amy Dowden on the set of Lorraine last year
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden has spoken candidly about some of the difficulties she’s facing as a result of her cancer treatment.

Because of this, the Welsh ballroom and Latin dance performer began a particular chemotherapy treatment known as the “red devil” at the beginning of this month.

On Sunday, Amy shared an update with her Instagram followers on Sunday about her second round of the treatment.

“[I] wanted to be open and honest with you all from start,” she began. “So, this cycle, I started feeling sick soon as second lot of ‘red devil’ was going in.

“Got home very tired and started being sick (even with all the anti-sickness). By Friday afternoon the sickness stopped and just waves of nausea. Still taking anti-sickness now.”

Amy added that she was missing out on a sleep as a result of steroids she was taking, and was also experiencing mouth ulcers.

She continued: “What I’ve found harder this time round and the last few days is the hair shredding […] As much as I prepared myself, waking up everyday gently combing my hair with a wide comb and seeing what comes out is just heartbreaking personally for me.

“I’m only washing my hair once, max twice, a 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 know this won’t last forever, but during this time, and knowing normally these few months are my favourite time of the year, and I feel myself wishing these months away just hurts so much.

“I know [and I am] telling myself the way you look hasn’t changed Amy who I am inside ([I] still have my chatty annoying spells, mad ideas, determination and want to help others). I’m still Amy!

“Some days last week I’d wake and for the first few seconds you forget, then suddenly it all hits you, the day and challenges ahead, and your new reality, and it’s tough. [I’ve] had a few morning cry’s [sic] and [I’m] learning that’s OK too.

“But I’ve got some dates in the diary on my good periods I’m working towards, and I feel this will really help me and the person I am. Something to look forward and work towards. [I] know through the other side I’ll become a better, stronger person and will feel and look like Amy again!”

Amy ended her message by thanking people for their “lovely messages asking how I am”.

“I want to be open and honest and hopefully help others going through or those supporting those on their journeys too!” She wrote.

“I read them all, just don’t always have the energy to reply but I want you to know it really helps, and means more than you will every know! Not taken for granted and really appreciated and noticed! You truly see how lucky you are to have with amazing loved ones around you! Love to you all.”

A screenshot of Amy's Instagram posts
A screenshot of Amy's Instagram posts
Instagram/Amy Dowden

Although Amy’s treatment means she will not be well enough to compete on Strictly when it returns to our screens next month, she previously shared that she wanted to be “present” during live shows “in some way”.

“If I have to have chemotherapy, I’ll be present in some way, even if I’m in a wig,” she insisted to The Mirror back in June. “I know amazing hair people with Strictly.

“Whether it’s on It Takes Two, or being up in Claudia’s area waiting for the scores, I’ll be there.”

Amy joined Strictly in 2017, and during that time has been partnered with stars including actor Danny John-Jules, EastEnders stars Brian Conley and James Bye, Invictus Games athlete JJ Chalmers, McFly singer Tom Fletcher and presenter Karim Zeroual, with whom she reached the Strictly final back in 2019.

Last year, she performed with CBeebies regular George Webster on the show’s annual Christmas special.


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