Jean-Christophe Novelli has opened up about his baby boy Valentino, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer last year. The TV chef said he is confident "the worst is over", and he is relieved to have his son back at home with him for Easter. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, a jubilant Jean-Christophe said: "It is like our own special Easter miracle. We faced unimaginable hardship, but we've pulled through and I feel confident that the worst is over."
The 56-year-old and his fiancée Michelle will be sharing the good news with Jean-Christophe's elderly parents, whose frail health meant they were not told of the cancer battle until now. "It has been hellish, but we did not want them to worry," said Jean-Christophe. "My mother kept asking for pictures of her new grandson, but the chemotherapy meant he lost all the hair from his head and eyebrows. So we kept making excuses, but we plan to tell them everything on Easter Monday and also send new pictures now Valentino is over the worst."
Jean-Christophe and Michelle's baby was diagnosed with cancer last year
The family are celebrating a double blessing this Easter, after Michelle, who has two older sons with Jean-Christophe, faced her own health scare in February. The 41-year-old suffered a deep-vein thrombosis attack after sitting for hours on end by her baby son's hospital bedside. Jean-Christophe insisted that she take a night off and rest at home, and it was then that she woke up at 5am with excruciating pain in her leg. Michelle was at home with her boys and her friend Kerrie Duggan, who called an ambulance.
"I woke up feeling really strange. My leg was sore," said Michelle. "At first I assumed it was just because the boys had been sleeping on top of me. But then I looked down and I saw it had swollen to four times its normal size. I had no idea how critical things were. It must have been so traumatic for them because I just passed out. I was drifting in and out of consciousness. Kerrie said my eyes were rolling back in my head and my lips turned blue. I kept passing out."
The couple have two older sons
Jean-Christophe, who was in hospital with his newborn, added: "I tried not to think about the prospect of losing them both. I just couldn't go to that place because it was too painful. It's only now I realise just how close Michelle came, and it doesn't bear thinking about. Obviously, I was beside myself."