Dame Deborah James: I’m scared to fall asleep

The podcast host, known as the Bowel Babe, is receiving end of life care at home.

Connie Evans
Wednesday 25 May 2022 09:35
Deborah James (Alamy/PA)
Deborah James (Alamy/PA)

Dame Deborah James has said she is “scared to go to sleep” because she does not know how long she has left to live.

The podcast host, 40, known as Bowel Babe online after campaigning to raise awareness of bowel cancer, revealed two weeks ago that she was receiving end of life care at her family home in Surrey.

Dame Deborah was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has since then kept her more than 800,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatment, with candid posts about her progress and diagnosis.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Dame Deborah said: “I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but it’s just so unpredictable.

“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.”

Dame Deborah, who has raised nearly £7 million for cancer charities through an online fundraiser, also spoke about how her family have been helping her since she began receiving care at home.

She said: “I think my family are knackered, they have all been incredible – going above and beyond to look after me and nurse me.

“What I have seen from them in the last two weeks is true love, deep love. It’s overwhelming.

“They have all been amazing.

“I know the pressure on them at the moment is huge, I can’t do anything anymore without their help.”

Dame Deborah and her husband Sebastian Bowen have two children, Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12.

“I feel very strongly that I don’t want my kids to see me agitated and distressed,” she told The Sun.

“I want to make sure they see me when I’m having a good day.”

Dame Deborah recalled seeing her grandparents unwell when she was younger, and said she does not want her children to have a similar experience.

“They weren’t good memories for me,” she said.

“I don’t want that for my kids. I want them to have nice memories.

“I don’t want them to take on the burden of having to care for me, massage my legs because I can’t walk. That would break my heart.”

Despite receiving end of life care, Dame Deborah remains focused on raising awareness of bowel cancer.

She was recently honoured with a damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts.

“I just think the more awareness I can help raise, the better,” she said.

Dame Deborah, the presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C, revealed last week that she had completed her second book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, which will be published on August 18.

The book has already risen to number one on the Amazon list through pre-orders.

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