Jeannie Mai is feeling "really frail" after undergoing emergency surgery
The 41-year-old TV star was forced to withdraw from 'Dancing with the Stars' earlier this month after she was diagnosed with epiglottitis - which can cause swelling and block airflow to the lungs - and suffering a parapharyngeal abscess
28 November 2020
Jeannie - who discovered a "huge abscess" growing in her throat - shared: "My sore throat turned out to be strep throat that quickly turned into a parapharyngeal abscess.
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"I was breathing like Darth Vader. It was a traumatic experience."
Jeannie was quickly rushed into surgery, even though she was still desperate to compete on the dance show.
She told People magazine: "I was devastated, mortified, upset, I was in tears and I actually fought the doctor to say, ‘Can I just at least compete in this week’s competition?’ because I worked so hard on my Charleston, which was our next dance together with [pro partner] Brandon [Armstrong].
"I thought maybe I can do the surgery on a Tuesday, take a week to heal, watch the routines virtually and figure it out. But he said, 'Absolutely not.'"
Jeannie has kept a low profile since undergoing surgery and she admits her recovery has proven to be a challenge.
She explained: "I couldn't eat anything for two weeks, so I was tube feeding there in the hospital for a week, and I had a nurse come in every two hours just to make sure I was breathing."
Jeannie admits she's still in a fragile state, having lost a considerable amount of weight due to competing on the show and her health woes.
She said: "The other thing mentally is I got kind of depressed because I lost about 10 lbs. from just eating liquids, so I am really frail right now. Really, really frail."
The TV star feels exhausted at the moment because she's "underweight and malnourished".
She added: "I lost a lot of weight and strength, 15 lbs. in total from 'DWTS' and bed rest."