In a touching phone call from Toni Street to her co-hosts Sam Wallace and Sarah Gandy, she went into detail about the acute liver failure that has left her in and out of hospital for weeks.
“For the past five to six weeks I have been a complete hermit,” she says.
Street admits that even a short 200-metre walk to her daughter’s school left her needing a two-hour nap this week.
“I had another good day on Monday and not so great a day yesterday, for the first time in the last five weeks I walked my daughter up to school which is about 200 or 300 metres from the house, which is a big achievement and afterwards I had to go home and have a two hour nap, that’s how much it took it out of me.
“The tiredness is the easiest part to deal with because you just put yourself to bed.”
So just what exactly happened and how did Toni get this sick?
The former Seven Sharp host explains: “I took this antibiotic that has completely reacted with my liver and it put me into acute liver failure. The worst part about it is the insane itching because basically what happens is that your liver stops working and instead of the bile excreting normally like through your urine, it goes all throughout your skin and so you get this incredible itching and it’s described to me by the specialist as ‘spiders underneath your skin’ and that is exactly what it’s like and there is nothing you can do about it.
“It’s not like eczema where you can put on any form of cream. You basically just go insane. I mean the second week I was hosting the Commonwealth Games for TVNZ, I would get home at 1.30 in the morning and I couldn’t get to sleep until about 5.30 in the morning because I was just itching and I would put myself in the shower, and honestly, it was just so insane. Anyone who has had that liver itch will understand.”
However, things are looking up with her latest blood test results revealing the bile content in her system is dropping.
“I feel like I am finally healing and my blood tests on Monday say it’s been going down so I couldn’t be happier.
“I still have the itching but it’s not as insane… I can almost deal with it now. It’s not as bad as what it used to be. So I am still getting the fatigue and the itch and really bad nausea. It hasn’t been very fun but I can feel myself getting slowly better. They say it takes four to eight weeks and because I have been talking about it publicly, I have had people come to me saying that they have had to have two months off work because of it and that has made me feel slightly better. So here I am on my fifth week off work which is absolutely ridiculous, but I am actually healing relatively quickly in the scheme of things.”
And Toni has a word of advice for everyone as we head into cold and flu season.
“If you are wondering what the antibiotic is… Azithromycin and a lot of people have actually reacted to it. It’s quite a hard antibiotic so just be cautious next time. Just ask some questions and perhaps just take it if you absolutely need it. Like I kind of took it because I had laryngitis and I didn’t want to have no voice for the Comm Games and in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have.“
Toni says she’s aiming to be back at work next Friday
“That’s my goal!”