Cancer sufferer tells all in diary

Linda Willmott of Sherlock Avenue, Haydock, who has written a diary of her fight against cancer which she hopes to have published.
Linda Willmott of Sherlock Avenue, Haydock, who has written a diary of her fight against cancer which she hopes to have published.

A HAYDOCK woman is hoping to get the diary of her brave battle with cancer published.

Linda Willmitt, 49, penned the experiences of her emotional and medical journey after being diagnosed with a breast tumour in 2008.

Around a month later, surgeons removed her right breast.

Her diary talks of how she initially noticed flaking of the skin in the spring of 2007, and thought nothing of it.

In September that year, Linda went on holiday to Cyrpus and while she was there, she noticed her nipple became infected but that eventually cleared up.

Months later, on Christmas Eve, she discovered a lump on her right breast but was reluctant to tell anyone through fear of getting people worried over the festive period.

When she was speaking to one of her friends, Rose Morris, in the new year the fear finally hit her.

Rose had her left breast removed just more than a month earlier after concerns were raised by her doctor about the large amount of calcium in it. A huge tumour was found after the operation.

Days later, Linda broke down and told husband John about her fears and he made her an appointment with her GP.

The doctor examined her and raised concerns and arranged an appointment with Burney Breast Clinic as soon as he could. In her diary, Linda talks about how, despite reassurances from family and friends, she had “arranged her own funeral” such was her fear.

She was convinced she had cancer and there was nothing anyone could do. On January 21, she visited the St Helens clinic and had a mammogram and biopsy.

She was told to return a week later, when she received the devastating news that the lump was cancerous.

She was just 44 years old at the time. Her diary goes on to tell, in emotional detail, how she broke the news to her family.

She talks about the weeks leading up to her mastectomy on February 18, and then the day itself.

But Linda’s story is not only about her diagnosis and operation but also about the months after and her brave journey through recovery. Speaking about the diary, she said: “The journey has been a rollercoaster.

“There have been plenty of ups and downs. But I do know I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

“I don’t mean all the bad experiences with the breast cancer, I mean the lovely patients, doctors nurses and all the medical staff I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

“I’ve met some of the most brave ladies I’ll ever meet in my life.

“Without all the strength and encouragement from these ladies and the fantastic first class treatment I have received this story could never have been written.”