Deborah James has spoken about her decision to die at her parents’ house, instead of her family home in London, as she enters hospice care amid her battle with bowel cancer.
Earlier this week the broadcaster, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, shared an emotional Instagram post, writing as if it were to be her last.
In the lengthy message, Deborah – who shares two children with husband Sebastien Bowen – explained that it was one she ‘never wanted to write’, and revealed how the focus was now on making her comfortable.
In the emotional final episode of You, Me and the Big C podcast Deborah, 40, revealed she is unsure of her life expectancy after stopping cancer treatment, but has said it could be ‘weeks at most’, while also explaining her choice to be at her parents outside of London in order to spare her kids memories of medical equipment in their home.
Speaking with her producer Mike, she said: ‘As much as I love London, I can’t even get up the steps to pee. It’s not practical. My parents live in a bungalow, I can see greenery and the whole family can come here. It’s where I’ve always wanted to die, weirdly. I’ve kind of always had that on my mind.
‘I think I always knew I didn’t want to be at my London home. […] It doesn’t feel right, to me. Does that make sense? There is nothing that I can describe that feels relaxing in that capacity.
‘Don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely place, but I also think it’s not right for me, but it means the kids can go back there…they don’t have those medical equipment scars based everywhere.
‘It can continue to be their home without those memories, which might possibly be a good thing.’
Sharing a post to Instagram on Monday, Deborah explained she had ‘tried everything’ but her body ‘simply isn’t playing ball’.
She wrote: ‘My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them.
‘Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not able to walk, I’m sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams. I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore.’
The author continued: ‘In over 5 years of writing about how I thought it would be my final Christmas, how I wouldn’t see my 40th birthday nor see my kids go to secondary school – I never envisaged writing the one where I would actually say goodbye.
‘I think it’s been the rebellious hope in me.’
The presenter explained that the last six months haven’t ‘exactly been kind’, and that while it is ‘heartbreaking’ news, she is ‘surrounded by so much love that if anything can help me through I hope that will’.
After Deborah – who’s also known as ‘Bowelbabe’ on social media – announced the heartbreaking news, she launched a fundraiser for Cancer UK, which has soared past the £2million mark.
It’s astronomically higher than Deborah’s original target, which was £250,000, with more than 125,000 people donating.
She remarked today: ‘I’m utterly in [disbelief] to wake up to see £2 million in the fund!’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘Thank you for your generous donations. Thank you for helping me build a future where we can [show] Cancer who is boss.
‘We have brilliant, enthusiastic talent in this country- let’s support them to do the best job they can to give more people more time living.’