Bob Hawke's widow has spoken candidly about her earth-shattering cancer diagnosis while she was mourning the death of her husband.
In February, just nine months after the former prime minister died, 76-year-old Blanche d'Alpuget discovered a lump about the size of a 10c piece in her left breast.
Scans immediately revealed she had breast cancer. Defeated by the death of Mr Hawke, Ms d'Alpuget admitted she felt 'ready to give up' and considered 'letting herself die from it'.
During an interview with A Current Affair aired on Tuesday night, Ms d'Alpuget spoke of her diagnosis - and offered an insight into her life with the larrikin former PM.
'I could tell from the woman's face while she was doing [tests] that the news wasn't good,' she said.
'I had eight weeks of chemotherapy, which was sheer hell... I wanted to kill the oncologist during chemotherapy. It was really awful, I was terribly, terribly sick.'
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died on May 16, 2019. The couple are pictured together in 2013
Blanche d'Alpuget, the wife of Bob Hawke, during the State Memorial service for the former Prime Minister
The lump was stage two cancer, with a few other stage one tumours surrounding it.
But Ms d'Alpuget felt that the diagnosis 'served her right' after avoiding a mammogram for years.
'I've been very naughty. I had one mammogram in my life and it hurt, so I hadn't had another one,' she confessed.
'It was quite a surprise. It serves me right, really, for not being more vigilant... I considered myself made of Indian rubber.'
The past 18 months have been a trying time for the author, who recently released a new book and completed the final biography of her beloved husband's incredible life.
After his death, she was embroiled in a bitter court battle with one of his children, who disputed the will, and was later criticised for her decision to auction off most of Hawke's belongings.
'It was a conscious decision,' she said of the auction.
Ms d'Alpuget felt that the diagnosis 'served her right' after avoiding a mammogram for years
Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget revealed she was ready to give up and die when she was diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year after the death of her 'soulmate'
'I saw it as that life has ended, and a new life is now beginning. I'm inclined to look forward,' she added, mimicking a sentiment Hawke made often during his long life.
She confessed to Tracy Grimshaw that she only kept one photo of Hawke when moving into her new apartment, but that she'd since lost the photo.
'So you've got no photos of him here,' a shocked Grimshaw asked.
Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget has been battling breast cancer
'I kept Bob's bed, I think its got his energy in it... I don't sleep in it but I lay down with him every day,' she said.
Speaking of the lack of photographs, Ms d'Alpuget said Hawke 'lives on in [her] head'.
'He lives with me anyway. After he died, I did finish what turned out to be his complete biography. Writing out his death was very cathartic,' she said.
After Ms d'Alpuget's eight-week stint of chemotherapy, she underwent intense surgery to remove the lumps and followed that with immunotherapy.
Ms d'Alpuget now considers herself lucky for finding the cancer so early on.
She was so sick from the chemo she was forced to stay in bed for days after each treatment, bedridden with nausea, exhaustion and even bleeding.
Shortly before surgery in April she revealed her battle for the first time to the media with the hopes of warning other women to make sure they check for cancer.
'You never think you're going to get cancer — not at my age, but it happens. I'd like to encourage all older women to have their breasts checked. I found the lump by accident,' she said at the time.
In Ms d'Alpuget's circumstance, she said she was simply putting on her nightie one evening when she discovered the lump.
sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Mr Hawke married Ms d'Alpuget in 1995 after splitting from his wife of 38 years. The Hawke family is pictured during the 1987 election campaign. Daughter Sue is cradling her daughter Sophie, Mr Hawke's wife Hazel is next to him and daughter Rosslyn is next to her
Former prime minister Bob Hawke did not leave a cent to the three children he raised with first wife Hazel in his will - a copy of which has been obtained by Daily Mail Australia. Mr Hawke's entire estate went to his second wife and former mistress Blanche d'Alpuget. (Both pictured)
'I thought a mushroom had