Sian Williams’ husband has spoken about the presenter’s brave battle with cancer.
The former BBC Breakfast presenter – who revealed her secret battle with breast cancer earlier this week – underwent a mastectomy and now her husband has spoken about her battle and how she will be forever changed by it.
Writing in the Telegraph , Paul Woolwich said: “I think she thought herself to be less of a woman but I have always found her incredibly physically attractive and although she, genuinely, is hardly aware of it, so do many others. Nothing had changed one iota.
“Typically, she tried to speed up her recovery in order to resume some sort of normality. I encouraged her, wishing her to be her old self, to feel complete.”
Sian’s husband Paul said she feared being less of a woman after her treatment
He added: “Sian will never be quite the same again. How could she be after she has been through and is still going through?”
The TV favourite’s secret battle with the disease started a week after her 50th birthday in December 2014 when she was told of the illness.
And in a candid interview, Sian bravely revealed her biggest fear was not seeing her two young children Seth, nine, and Evie, seven, grow up.
Talking about the moment she learnt of her diagnosis, Sian said: “I’d just been offered a new job, and our family was also full of excitement about moving from London to Kent.
“I thought I was healthy. I did all the right things – I was a green tea drinker, a salmon eater, a runner .
Sian Williams talks how she feared she might not see her children grow up
“Being told I had cancer seemed so improbable. I sat in the doctor’s office taking notes to help me remember what was said.
“It took me a while to realise that the words I was writing down — ‘cancerous tissue’, ‘procedure’, ‘double mastectomy’ —just didn’t compute or feel connected to me.
“I had a double mastectomy scheduled for January.
“I told myself it was “just a procedure”. We were due to move house the day after the operation , but it didn’t even occur to me to cancel.
“I made plans for childcare and got through the surgery by focusing on practicalities.
“But there were all these emotions that I didn’t want to feel popping to the surface.
“My biggest fear was not being there as a mum – and for some unfathomable reason, I couldn’t stop thinking that I want to be here for my daughter Evie to watch her get married.
“My aunt died of breast cancer, and I’d lost my mum to liver and bowel cancer – and I gradually began to realise how bewildered and scared I was.”
Sian Williams and Bill Turnbull presenting BBC Breakfast
Sian, who became a TV favourite working alongside Bill Turnbull on the BBC Breakfast sofa for four years from 2008, credits her husband Paul Woolwich for being an “extraordinary man”.
Only her closest family, including her two grown-up sons from her first marriage and a stepdaughter, knew about her illness.
She explained to Woman & Home: “Nobody even knew I’d had the operation, apart from the children’s teacher.
“I’d go and pick them up with these big drain bottles dangling down, which I’d try to hide with my coat.
Bill Turnbull, on her last day as presenter of BBC Breakfast.
“I remember going to see my GP to have my dressings changed. I was still very raw after surgery, and looked down to see a magazine with a colleague of mine on the cover looking incredibly glamorous.
“It was such a reminder of a previous life – and I realised I had never felt less like a woman or my previous self.”
Sian’s recovery was aided by her talking “to other people who had survived loss and trauma” including an elderly woman who had lost her parents in the Holocaust.
And she has written about her experience in new book Rise: Surviving And Thriving After Trauma.
She explained: “I discovered there’s a strength in letting myself be vulnerable.
Sian Williams attends the National Television Awards
“I allowed myself to say, “Today I feel less like a TV presenter and more like a cancer patient — and that’s OK.”
“One big change is that I have become better at living with uncertainty. I like certainty, and am used to dealing with facts.
“Cancer doesn’t work like that, though. It might come back – but if it does, I’m in a stronger position to deal with it.”
Following her mastectomy, Sian had “immediate reconstruction” of her breasts – and the reconstruction is still ongoing.
Sian Williams, Sophie Raworth and Natalie Lowe at the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon
Laughter has got her through her toughest moments. “You have to look at the absurdity of life when things are tough, and it really helps to laugh,” she explained.
“My friend Dixi took me out for coffee and produced two woollen breasts that her granny had knitted for me.
“We just hooted with laughter, and I felt so much better.”
But she insists she is lucky to be alive adding: “In the same way you have to acknowledge previous traumas, you have to acknowledge that scars are a part of your body.
“I look at my body and I think, “You’re bloody lucky you’re here, Sian.”