Dame Deborah James has admitted she’s ‘scared to sleep’ as she continues to receive end-of-life care at her parents’ home. The inspirational cancer campaigner and podcast host has continued to share her journey online but has now said: “I don’t know how long I’ve got left.”
Deborah, known to her legions of fans as Bowel Babe, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has kept her Instagram followers up to date with her treatments as well as supporting various campaigns, including ITV Lorraine’s No Butts, and hosting You, Me, and the Big C.
And since sharing the news that she had been moved to hospice-at-home care to treat her terminal bowel cancer, Dame Deborah has raised more than £6.5 million through her online fundraiser for cancer charities, been awarded a damehood for her “tireless campaigning” ” which was presented to her by the Duke of Cambridge at her family home, released a range of charity t-shirts and had a rose go on sale in her honor with proceeds going to the Bowel Babe Fund.
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In a recent update to The Sun on Tuesday night (Mary 24), the 40-year-old said she was “exhausted” but added: “I don’t feel like I’m on my deathbed. I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but it’s just so unpredictable.” She added: “I’m scared to fall asleep and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m so tired. I am scared to go to sleep.”
But while she admits to having good and bad days, she added she is doing all she can to shield her kids, Eloise, 12, and Hugo, 14, from seeing her darkest moments. “I feel very strongly that I don’t want my kids to see me agitated and distressed,” she said. “I want to make sure they see me when I’m having a good day.”
Dame Deborah made the selfless decision to receive end of life hospice care away from her own family home in South London so her children didn’t have to see it full of medical equipment. At the time of moving to her parents’ house she said: “It means the kids can go back there and they don’t have those scars everywhere. It can continue to be their home without those memories.”
There was some joy for Deborah on Tuesday, however, as she had another ‘dream’ come true. Lego sent the mum-of-two a figurine in her honor of her. Wearing her de ella ‘Rebellious Hope’ t-shirt, which has been released by Manchester fashion brand In The Style, the character is the 40-year-old’s very own mini me.
She shared how a friend had told the chief fairy builder at Lego how much she loves the iconic toys – but didn’t expect what she showed up to her parents’ Woking home. “I was blown away, I love love love Lego and this was literally the best surprise ever. I was told yesterday somebody might be sending me a mini figure but I didn’t realize they basically made me.”
Last week Dame Deborah James has said was “blown away” by the response to her new book after it shot to the top of the Amazon bestsellers’ list. She revealed she had completed her second book by her, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, and it will be published on August 18.
Through pre-orders, the book has risen to number one on the Amazon list, beating The Wim Hof Method by Dutch extreme athlete Hof and The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. Dame Deborah said her ella husband Sebastien had taken her on an early morning trip to RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey, as a “well done” for the launch.
Donations can be made to Dame Deborha’s fund at bowelbabe.org.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.