Sun, 3 Mar, 2019Joanita Wibowo

Chezzi Denyer opens up about near-death experience: “Tell Sailor I love her”

Chezzi Denyer opens up about near-death experience: “Tell Sailor I love her”

Chezzi Denyer has opened up about her near-death experience, which came back to mind after witnessing her daughter Sailor’s severe allergic reaction.

In an interview with Mamamia published on Friday, the mother-of-two said she nearly lost her life to anaphylaxis shock when she was 32.

Chezzi said she was vomiting and struggling to breathe so severely that she mouthed to husband and broadcaster Grant Denyer, “Tell Sailor I love her.”

In an Instagram post, Chezzi explained, “I arrive at hospital close to death, unable to breathe with swollen lips, eyes closed over and swollen tongue.”

She revealed that if she had arrived at the hospital five minutes later, she “wouldn’t have survived”.

“It caused me a lot of grief,” she said. “I received counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder. I thought I was gone.”

After extensive testing, it was revealed that Chezzi was reacting to cat hair from the carpet of her home from previous owners, which was exacerbated by the wattle tree outside her window and a glass of wine she had for dinner that night.

Sailor, who was 18 months old at the time of the incident, showed signs of allergies later on.

Last week, Chezzi shared on Instagram a picture of Sailor’s arms after she was tested for allergies.

“Unfortunately her reactions are worse than 3 years ago,” Chezzi wrote.

View this post on Instagram

Any parent with a child with allergies knows what this photo is about. Allergy testing. It hurts. It’s scary. It’s hard to watch for a Mum. It’s itchy, irritating. It’s frustrating. But, it can be life saving. Yes, allergies can be fatal. And the number of people developing serious allergies in Australia is skyrocketing.. And really, we have no idea why. It’s petrifying for parents. Living on edge that one small cross contamination with a nut, a grain, a fruit, a chemical could kill your child in an instant. Part of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was related to me myself having an anaphylactic reaction when Sailor was 18months old. And they still haven’t been able to tell me exactly what caused it. Only that my histamines were through the roof because the previous owners of the house we bought had cats. I had eaten and drunk things that day that pushed my immune system over the threshold, and boom I arrive at hospital close to death, unable to breathe with swollen lips, eyes closed over and swollen tongue. They cut my clothes off me and put the paddles on my chest and at the same time gave me a large shot of Adrenalin. And in 6 hours I was released home under the guidance of an Allergist who tried to work out how all of a sudden at the age of 32 I had such a severe reaction. It was terrifying. As my Husband drove me to hospital, I was throwing up and struggling to breathe. And it happened so quick. It was so unexpected. Thankfully, my Husband was able to be calmed by my Sister Linda who knows firsthand about allergies due to serious allergies with her eldest daughter. Her advice to Grant at that time, and Grant’s quick thinking and driving skills saved my life that day. I remember it well.. But this post isn’t about me, it’s about my little Sailor and every other child and parent dealing with allergies.. These are Sailor’s little arms pricked with different drops of various things we suspect she could be allergic to. And unfortunately her reactions are worse than 3 years ago. She’s very allergic to grass we have around our house. She’s also now developed a reaction to peanuts for the first time. Also Oranges and Avocados. So we’ll carry an Epi-pen...

A post shared by chezzidenyer (@chezzidenyer) on Feb 26, 2019 at 3:05pm PST

Previously, Sailor had been found to get reactions to other food items. 

"She wanted some of Grant's paleo cereal and she had a moderate reaction to cashew,” Chezzi told Mamamia. “Her face swelled up, she had puffy eyes and hives on her lips.”

Chezzi returned to the allergy specialists after Sailor reacted to watermelon when eating at a hotel buffet recently.

“Her histamine levels were out of control,” Chezzi said. “They were all elevated, which I guess partly we now know, is because she is allergic to two particular grasses around our house. So that made the perfect storm for her. She's now also allergic to peanuts, avocado and oranges, which she wasn't before.”

Other parents have praised Chezzi for her Instagram post, which put the spotlight on the seriousness of having allergies.

“A lot of parents go through it and I take my hat off to them,” she told 9Honey.

“It’s warmed me to see all the beautiful comments from people telling me about their own experiences … It seems to be getting a lot worse.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by chezzidenyer (@chezzidenyer) on Feb 14, 2019 at 12:30pm PST

Paediatric allergist Dr Preeti Joshi told Mamamia that allergies can develop in some people over time. She recommended checking for allergies with regular testing.

“It depends on the age, the allergy they have and any other problems present,” Dr Joshi said.

“If you have a teenager who has an established peanut allergy you might only need to go back every one to two years. If you have a little baby or a child and things are changing quite rapidly, we know the majority of younger kids can grow out of allergies – so that might be more of a six months to one year kind of check in.”

According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, keeping a record of symptoms could help in identifying the allergens that cause a reaction. People looking for information and advice on their allergies can contact Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia on 1300 728 000.