Dancing on Ice star reveals: ‘I wrote son farewell note before my op’
Katie partnered American rapper Vanilla Ice and EastEnders actor Gary Lucy during her time on the ITV show.
But she went through surgery to remove the brain tumour in August and has been recovering with her family, fellow professional ice skater Oscar Peter, 42, and their son Gabriel, two.
Speaking for the first time about her ordeal, Katie, 43, from Blackpool, says: “What could have been is terrifying. I came very close to losing my life.”
Six months after giving birth to Gabriel in August 2021 she started suffering tiredness and headaches, but dismissed this as being an older first-time mother. Earlier this year after feeling dizzy and unsteady, Katie went to her GP who diagnosed vertigo.
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She says: “I had no relief and I was starting to say out loud, ‘I have a brain tumour and I feel like I am dying’.
“I repeatedly saw various GPs and on two occasions I was so distraught that I was crying at the appointment.
“I asked one doctor to refer me for a scan and I was told, ‘Sorry, I can’t order you a scan, but I can refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist’.”
After being unable to get out of bed and physically sick, a doctor sent her to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for suspected meningitis, where a CT scan revealed a mass on the back of her brain.
Katie says: “I was alone and frightened but I knew I had to be brave. Later that day I was taken to Preston Royal, as they have one of the top neurological departments in the country.”
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An MRI scan showed Katie had a tumour in the cerebellum. “I didn’t sleep that night and it felt like a lifetime went by. I wrote a letter for Gabriel to read when he got old enough.”
Katie was put on steroids to help shrink the tumour ahead of two bouts of surgery to remove it. She says: “I just wanted this life-sucking monster out of my head. The tumour had stolen the joy of my being a new mother.”
Katie received support from friends including fellow Dancing On Ice professionals Frankie Seaman and Matt Evers, judges Christopher Dean and Karen Barber, and past contestants Hayley Tamaddon and Denise Welch.
“The outpouring of concern and love has been incredible and truly helped with my recovery,” she said.
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Katie, who runs an ice-skating school with Oscar, adds: “It was tough to be told it was uncertain what sort of state I could be in after the surgery. I hadn’t thought of not being able to speak or see or hear, which were all possibilities.”
She returned to the ice just a month after surgery and is looking forward to the future, although she is angry with her GP practice: “I felt I was not taken seriously. I feel strongly that we must advocate for ourselves when we feel something is not right.”
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