Victoria Derbyshire opens up about writing goodbye letters to her sons before breast cancer operation

Victoria Derbyshire has spoken of how she wrote two goodbye letters to her sons the night before she underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer

Victoria was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and got the all clear last year.

The BBC presenter and journalist struggled to hold back tears during an emotional interview on Loose Women today as she recalled the moment she feared she wouldn’t wake up from the operation and see her children, Oliver, 13, and Joe, 11, again.

‘It was life-saving surgery. I had a fear about the anesthetic, rather than getting rid of a breast. That was fine, it had cancer in there, get rid of it. I just worried, what if I don’t wake up?’ the 49-year-old said.

‘I know that was irrational – that was the anxiety in the run up to the operation. The only way I could get to sleep the night before was to write two letters – one to Oliver who is my oldest son, who was 11 at the time, and one to Joe, who was 8 at the time, just to tell them – I’m going to cry sorry – just to tell them how much I love them and remind them of funny things they’d done throughout their life.

‘Remind them a bit about how they were born – because Oliver took ages to come out, Joe was out in two hours… they love those stories. Just remind them to be polite when they grow up and have manners.’

During her treatment, Victoria made a series of video and written diaries, the latter of which has since been turned into a book called Dear Cancer: Love Victoria.

Speaking of the writing process, she said: ‘I did some video diaries through my treatment, documenting the side effects. Lots of people watched them. That wasn’t the point of it; it was just because I’m a journalist and I work on TV, I thought, I’ll record what happens.

‘The response to those was overwhelming – [people said] I watched this before I had a mastectomy and it really helped me. I was not expecting that, I felt really privileged. Then I thought maybe I could write about it, because I do write a diary. Obviously there’s a lot of rubbish in there as well, it just went from there.’