Singer and presenter Michelle Heaton today opened up about her son Aaron Jay’s viral meningitis diagnosis, in her first television interview since he was hospitalised with the virus.
Michelle spoke to ITV’s Lorraine Kelly to raise awareness of the virus as part of Viral Meningitis Week – an illness she believes has a tendency to be ‘brushed under the carpet’ in people’s minds.
Michelle spoke about how AJ’s hospitalisation at the age of six weeks was the ‘worst’ and ‘scariest’ experience of her life. ‘As a mum, as soon as something happens to your little one, it all becomes about them and whatever you’ve been through as parents pales in significance to what they’re going through and you just want them to be ok,’ she said.
Although thankfully at home making a full recovery after a course of treatment in hospital early last month, little AJ has to undergo further tests to ascertain whether there is any lasting damage.
The mother-of-four described her ‘mother’s instinct’ that something was wrong leading up to his hospitalisation, when little AJ couldn’t keep his feeds down.
‘I knew something wasn’t right, I didn’t know what. He didn’t have a fever, he didn’t have a rash, he didn’t have any other telltale signs of meningitis, he was just bringing up his bottles and I thought maybe he had reflux disease and I wanted to get it checked,’ she told Lorraine.
Speaking about the moments when she arrived at A&E, Michelle said, ‘Within a matter of minutes, he was rushed into a room where they administered a lumbar puncture on his spine and he was diagnosed with meningitis.
‘At that point, they never show whether it’s viral or bacterial… I didn’t even know there were two types of meningitis until this happened to me.’
It’s not the only health issues the family has faced, with daughter Faith at risk of having the same BRCA gene, which led to Michelle having a double mastectomy in November 2012.
Speaking about her daughter, Michelle said ‘[Faith] has a 50% risk of having the BRCA gene… We won’t know until she’s older [18 years old] but by that time in 18 years, hopefully we’ll have some kind of vaccine against cancer.’
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