It was the news she was dreading. Sitting opposite her oncologist, Linda Nolan was told new tumours had appeared in her liver.
When the star, who has incurable secondary breast cancer, got home she closed her front door and sobbed her heart out.
But as she comes to terms with the latest setback in her 14-year fight with the disease, Linda insists she is aiming to be here for as many Christmases as she can. And we can reveal she is even dating again.
The 61-year-old singer says: “I knew when I went into the room for my appointment because I could tell from the consultant’s demeanour.
“He turned to me and said the CT scan had shown something on my liver again. I asked if it was cancer and he said yes.
“It’s scary, I’m not going to lie. I try to be upbeat and positive but I had a really bad day when I got back.”
Linda tried to put a brave face on for her famous Nolan siblings.
She adds: “I told my sisters I was fine but when I got inside my house, I cried. I needed to have that cry because I’m scared to death of dying.”
Linda had breast cancer in 2006, cellulitis and lymphoedema in her arm in 2007 and secondary cancer on her pelvis in 2017.
In March, she discovered the disease had spread to her liver and she had chemotherapy, which finished in September.
Linda then faced a two-month wait to find out if the cancer had shrunk but found out two weeks ago that more tumours had been found on the organ.
She adds: “When I was told I’d need more chemo I thought, ‘Oh my god, my hair is just growing back.’ It’s oral chemotherapy, 10 tablets a day.
“It means I’m taking 26 tablets a day now. I asked how long I’d be taking the chemo tablets for and he said for as long as they’re working.”
The star has not asked for a prognosis, saying: “I don’t want to know if I’ve got 18 months, two years or whatever. It’s bad enough thinking about it all in my head. But all I want for Christmas is to be around for a few more Christmases.
“That would be the best present of all, to be here for as long as I can. The consultant was very upbeat and said there was no way we were talking about the last year of my life.”
Linda is determined to keep positive but she admits. “I’m lucky it’s treatable but I do approach it by thinking: ‘This could be my last Christmas’.”
It is something she also adopted in 2017 and adds with a chuckle: “I went mad, I got Maureen an iPad and I sent Denise away with her partner to a beautiful hotel.
“Then in 2018 I said: ‘You’re getting rubbish presents, I’m still here.’” Cancer has given Linda a fresh outlook on life.
She takes her dog Betty Boo, a gift from sister Coleen, for a walk every day to stay healthy and has vowed to enjoy every moment she can, feeling free to say no to jobs that interfere with family moments.
Linda, who lost her husband Brian back in 2007, has started dating again.
She says: “I’ve been talking to somebody on a dating app. We met in the park, we took Betty for a walk to get to know each other.
“It was nice and I might see him again but I wouldn’t want to get too involved with anybody at the moment because I don’t know how long I’m going to be here. I’ve had the love of my life but it would be nice to have somebody to spend time with.”
Linda is determined to be open about her cancer to ensure others don’t feel so alone. She adds: “I can’t imagine having to go through this on your own. I’ve had so many beautiful messages on social media.
“There are a couple of women I speak to, I’m helping them through their chemo at the moment.”
Linda is part of a tight family clan made up of sisters Bernie, Anne, Denise, Maureen and Coleen, and brothers Tommy and Brian.
The sisters, who sold 30 million records worldwide as The Nolans, recently filmed a docu-series.
In At Home with the Nolans they will look into whether there is a cancer gene in their family and search for the half-sister they’ve never met.
It will also focus on Anne and Linda’s cancer journeys.
Linda says: “I filmed the series without my wig. My sisters have all said to me, ‘I’m so impressed with how you’ve handled the hair thing.’ The only one who’s called me baldy is my four-year-old great niece, Roma.
“She was rolling on the floor laughing out loud when she saw me.
“Kids make you realise none of it matters.” Anne, who beat breast cancer 20 years ago, was diagnosed with stage three of the disease in April. Her cancer is curable and she has been told it had all but disappeared.
Linda says: “I’m delighted for Anne. It was great to get the news.” Linda feels Bernie, who died from breast cancer in 2013, would be willing her on against the disease, as would Brian.
She adds: “It would only be real positive thoughts from them. There isn’t a day goes by when I don’t think about Bernie.”
And Linda, who admits she felt suicidal after Brian’s death, is determined not to give up.
She says: “I so desperately don’t want to die. I want to be here but in 2007 I wanted to die.”
Linda feels everyone should write a letter with their wishes for when their time comes.
She says. “I think I’ll go up to a beautiful garden in heaven and Bernie will be waiting with a gin and tonic for me. Then Brian will walk round the corner with my mum and dad.
“I’m desperate to see Brian again but I’m not ready just now.”
- At Home with the Nolans, Tuesdays at 10pm on Quest Red and available to catch up on discovery+
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