Brave Nolan sisters Anne and Linda have revealed it was "twice as hard" going through chemotherapy during the Coronavirus lockdown in an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine.
And the duo are hoping their candid admission that at times they were scared and lonely will encourage others going through the same thing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
MORE: Heartbreak for Coleen Nolan as her sister Linda receives incurable cancer diagnosis
As HELLO! exclusively revealed on Friday, following in the footsteps of her sister Anne, who recently rang the ceremonial bell to mark the end of her chemotherapy at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital, Linda has now completed her gruelling treatment and has now rung it too.
VIDEO: Linda Nolan emotionally rings the chemo bell in hospital
"It was an amazing feeling and I felt so emotional, especially when all the nurses came out and cheered," she told us immediately afterwards. "It’s been such a lovely day."
The duo, who are Coleen Nolan's sisters, have been supporting each other every step of the way since their diagnoses five months ago.
MORE: Coleen Nolan considering 'double mastectomy' after sisters' devastating cancer battle
Anne, 69, who is suffering from grade 3 cancer in her left breast, and Linda, 61, who has incurable but treatable secondary breast cancer that has spread to her liver, have shared every physical and emotional high and low, and use humour to help them through it all, jokingly calling themselves 'the chemo sisters' because they attended chemotherapy sessions together.
Linda and Anne Nolan bravely open up about their cancer battles
"I found the treatment quite painful and scary," said Anne. "The situation was twice as hard for me because of lockdown.
“But Linda was amazing and having her by my side at the hospital helped me so much. Although my sessions were much longer than hers, she’d sit and talk to me when hers had finished."
MORE: Linda and Anne Nolan were diagnosed with cancer within hours of each other
The courageous pair’s siblings have also been there for them. "My sisters are amazing,” said Linda, adding that she would often think of their late sister Bernie who died of breast cancer in 2013, during treatment.
"It was a reminder of what she had to endure."
Their sisters have been incredibly supportive
When the sisters started losing their hair, they bravely shaved it all off, fearlessly wearing their new look with style. However, Linda admitted that it was excruciating for her to shed her trademark long blonde hair.
"Going bald was traumatic and I cried a lot," she said. "When the hospital couldn’t provide me with a cold cap that fitted, I went into meltdown. Later, after a gin and tonic, I finally had my head shaved like Anne. When I looked in the mirror, I could see my sister Bernie staring back at me.
"Although I originally vowed never to go out without a wig or a cap, it feels like second nature and nobody bats an eyelid. Now that I’ve finished chemo, I can’t wait for my hair to grow back."
Looking to the future, Linda and Anne describe themselves as "cautiously optimistic", as they face the next phase of their journey to defeat cancer.
Anne ringing the bell in hospital
READ: Linda Nolan opens up about living with cancer
"I beat it 20 years ago and I’ll do my utmost to beat it again,” said Anne who first overcame cancer in her right breast and is now on course to defeat it again.
Linda added: "I’m still waiting to find out what lies ahead. Whatever it is, I’ll take it on. I have so much I want to do and many more years I want to live.
"By telling our story, we want other women out there to know it’s okay to be scared, to feel lonely, and to be sad you’re losing your hair. You’ll get through it, because we have."
To see more pictures and to read the full interview, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! magazine, out Monday 21 September
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