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'Unexpected gift we all have is a MUST for light sleepers and helps my chemo cramps'

Feb 06, 2024

Linda Nolan updates on her cancer treatment after a week packed with laughter - and sorrow

If I can give you one gift this week (apart from my gab, of course) it’d be this: The Sleep Timer. (That, and the Forensic Detectives, but I’ll come back to them...)

You might know of this little button on your telly remote already, but I didn’t, not until my counsellor - who helps me in so many ways, although not usually technologically , I’ll admit - tipped me off. It’s a revelation. A thing you can set on your TV allowing you to watch yourself peacefully to sleep, before it turns itself off so you don’t wake in a fright when the ads blast on. It’s funny what gets you through.

Since I’ve been ill I can’t get to sleep without the TV. I lie there and think, and that’s no good. At 3am on Monday night, when I woke with terrible stomach cramps on Day Eight after chemo (the new Days 6&7), thank god for The Sleep Timer. And Forensic Detectives, a soothing show about police interrogation and hunting barefaced killers.

And the reassurance that when I drifted in and out of sleep, a blood-curdling scream - or insurance-selling Meerkat - wouldn’t scare the living daylights out of me. I was up five times. It’s the worst side effect I’ve suffered so far. I was desperate for a hug, and wanted my late husband, Brian, more than ever. He’d have put his arms around me and said: ‘It’ll be OK, we’ll do it together’.

At that time in the morning daylight feels so far away. There’s no point saying cancer’s not depressing, and I have days when I slide down the wall like anyone. On Tuesday I was weak, and had pains like flu, so I spent it in my ‘loungewear’ (not exactly pyjamas) on the sofa. Sometimes you just deserve that.

But every day is different, and a new chance to live fabulously. During the day on Monday I felt well enough to go to the 80th birthday party of our old friend Janice, Frank Flynn’s wife - a brilliant jazz pianist who performed with us when we sang with Mum and Dad as The Singing Nolans.

It was just so jolly. I watched my sisters dance in the rain (I’m unbalanced enough without braving a slippery floor!). That day, I got all the hugs I needed.

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