The Real co-host Jeannie Mai provided fans with an update on her health after she was forced to withdraw from Dancing With the Stars Monday due to a health issue and emergency surgery. Mai was diagnosed with an inflammatory condition called epiglottitis, and announced on Good Morning America she could not participate in the competition series. On Thursday, Mai shared a positive post from her hospital room, giving fans a thumb up.
Mai's mirror selfie showed her standing with the hospital room in the background, with the headline, "4 days post-surgery." She later added that she cannot speak, chew, or wear bad shirts. The shirt she is wearing in the picture shows a photo of the "Vote Jeannie" billboard her fiance, Jeezy, rented to show support for Mai while she was on DWTS. Mai, 41, and her pro dance partner Brandon Armstrong made it to Week 7, leaving the day the Week 8 episode aired.
While on Good Morning America Monday morning, Mai said her doctors found a "health concern" with her throat that required "immediate attention and surgery." She was "heartbroken" to end her time on DWTS prematurely. "I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come," Mai said. Armstrong also thanked fans for their support, adding, "We are devastated by the news that we're going to have to cut this season short, but Jeannie's health does come first."
During Monday's episode, DWTS aired a video filmed from Mai's hospital bed, where she gave more details on her condition. Her doctors told her if she waited one more day, her throat would have closed up. "I found out that I have a throat abscess where my tonsils and my throat gotten so infected that it started permeating to the rest of the areas behind my neck and my ears that I had to get emergency surgery which is why I'm here now," Mai explained. Her surgery went well, Armstrong added. "I'm so thankful that I even had this experience on Dancing With the Stars," Mai later said. "It was hands down one of the best journeys of my life. So, thank you so much and I love you guys."
Mai was diagnosed with epiglottitis, swelling in the windpipe, which could be life-threatening. It happens when the epiglottis, a "lid" covering the windpipe, is enlarged and blocks airflow to the lungs, notes the Mayo Clinic. It can be caused in a variety of ways, from burns on the throat to an infection. It can also happen at any age.
Before Mai was forced to withdraw, the Week 8 episode was supposed to see two couples eliminated. Instead, only one - Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko - were sent home. The remaining celebrities are Kaitlyn Bristowe, Skai Jackson, Justina Machado, AJ McLean, Nelly, Nev Schulman, and Johnny Weir. New episodes air at 8 p.m. ET Mondays on ABC.