Dame Deborah James has revealed she fears falling asleep as she doesn’t know how long she has left, as she receives end of life care after battling bowel cancer.
The podcast host, 40, is under hospice care at home as active treatment is no longer possible for her, after being diagnosed five years ago.
Dame Deborah has been spending the time she has left with her family, but revealed part of why she is so tired is that she fears falling asleep at night in case it is for the final time.
She told The Sun: ‘I don’t feel like I’m on my deathbed. 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 has two children, 14-year-old son Hugo and daughter Eloise, 12, has been staying at her parents’ home in Woking, choosing to die there rather than at the family home.
She wants to ensure her children only see her on her good days and don’t bear the burden of looking after her care.
‘I think my family are knackered, they have all been incredible – going above and beyond to look after me and nurse me,’ she added.
‘I feel very strongly that I don’t want my kids to see me agitated and distressed. I want to make sure they see me when I’m having a good days.’
Dame Deborah wants to ensure that her children have ‘nice memories’ rather than remembering the difficult parts of this time, adding: ‘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.’
She revealed that when she was sent home from hospital two weeks ago, she was told that she would have around one week left to live, and that life expectancy estimates can be unpredictable.
The cancer campaigner had also asked her hospice team how she would know when the time comes and she needs to call her children home from school to say goodbye, and was told it can be difficult to predict, as it can be very sudden for some people and a more gradual decline for others.
Dame Deborah had left the hospital on seven antibiotics but is now off them, and says developing sepsis is a ‘big risk’ and would be fatal for her.
She added that she is just ‘trying to take it really easy’ and make the most of the time she has left.