Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton has opened up about her ongoing struggle with depression, after having a hysterectomy at 35.
After learning that she was a carrier of the cancer-causing BRCA2 gene Michelle took the brave decision to have a double mastectomy in 2012, and after having her second child Aaron underwent a full hysterectomy in 2014.
But she confesses that despite taking hormone supplements, the early menopause that the procedure brings on has been really hard to cope with.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: ‘I’m lucky that I haven’t suffered the physical symptoms so many women going through the menopause get – such as hot flushes and night sweats.’
‘[But] for me, it’s had a big emotional impact. You don’t fully realise how depressed you are at the time until you’ve been able to pick yourself up eventually and you look back at it.’
As the fourth generation of her family to carry the gene, Michelle, who is now backing a campaign for more accurate and personalised breast screening on the NHS, says that she ‘dreads’ the day when she has to sit down with her young daughter Faith and explain that she may also have to take measures for her health.
‘It was all worth it to beat cancer,’ she said, ‘but I still can’t put it completely to the back of my mind.’
‘There will come a day – much sooner than when it happened for me – that I will have to sit down with Faith and tell her she has a 50 per cent chance of having the faulty gene.’
‘Discovering I was a carrier was devastating and turned my world upside down.’
I’m a carrier, my dad is, and his grandmother and her mother were too.’
‘I will back Faith 100 per cent if she opts for surgery but also I don’t want her to go through what I went through unnecessarily.’
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She said she made the difficult decision to delay the hysterectomy as her personal trainer husband wanted another baby.
‘It was a tough call but we knew we wanted a larger family, a sibling for Faith.’
‘These are issues that Faith will have to face and it breaks my heart to think about her having to choose between having a family or saving her life. These are life-changing decisions and women deserve the best risk assessment and advice.’