Duncan James has opened up about the severity of his recent health scare and revealed how it might have left him incapable of being able to walk unaided again.
The Blue star underwent emergency surgery in June for a prolapsed herniated disc, but he was later rushed back to hospital after suffering complications, which saw his Hollyoaks debut postponed.
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The actor, 38, admitted that he feared for his life when vital fluid from his brain began pouring out of an old surgery wound, and it’s still unknown whether he will make a full recovery.
“Doctors told me I could have spent the rest of my life in a wheelchair – or died. The feeling in my leg may take years to come back – and it may never return,” Duncan told the Sunday Mirror.
Opening up about his near-death experience, Duncan revealed that he first became aware of the problem when he awoke one morning to discover that his left leg was completely numb, and that he had lost control of his bladder.
After an MRI scan revealed a trapped nerve, he had to undergo emergency surgery to avoid complete paralysis – and while the surgery was initially successful, he soon became ill again.
“I was getting headaches like I’ve never had before. It was throbbing,” he recalled. “It was agony and I felt sick. And I could feel a swelling in my back that I knew wasn’t right.
“It was a Saturday night, and I was with mum watching TV. Suddenly I’m soaking wet. My back had opened, and all this fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid, was just pouring out of me.”
That same night, he was rushed back to hospital to fix the leak with a second surgery, whereby he praised hospital staff for being the only reason that he is able walk (albeit aided) today.
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Duncan – who will portray hunky Ryan Knight in Hollyoaks – recently shared his gratitude with his fans too, as he tweeted: “Thankyou for all the well wishes today.
“It really has been a terrible time which has left me still numb down my left leg, BUT I’m positive. Person, & my family, friends, the blue boys & all at Hollyoaks have been so supportive & helped me esp my mum & I’m on the road to recovery.
“It could have been so much worse so I’m very thankful. I will continue to be strong a positive. Again thanks for all the kind & loving support (sic).”
After a brief delay, the soap newbie is set to make his Hollyoaks debut this coming Thursday (August 11) – despite being unable to walk properly and having to use on-set props for support.
We wish Duncan all the best for a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him on our screens later this week!
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4.