British podcaster Deborah James has shared the heartbreaking news that she has moved to hospice at-home care, five years after she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
The You, Me, and the Big C host took to Instagram to tell her 471k followers that she is nearing the end of her life, revealing, "My body just can't continue anymore."
Deborah, 40, who has been battling bowel cancer since December 2016, went on to detail how her condition has drastically deteriorated over the past year.
"We have tried everything, but my body simply isn’t playing ball. 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," she wrote.
"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."
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Deborah was diagnosed with Stage Three bowel cancer at the age of 35, after suffering symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, and passing blood. She has spent the past five years documenting her treatment journey online, sharing details of her multiple surgeries and drug trials, whilst also raising funds and awareness for the illness.
The mother-of-two received the joyful news that her body was 'free' of the disease in January 2020 after 10 operations and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, only to find out in April 2021 that her cancer had returned. Last summer, James revealed that her 'things have moved in the wrong direction very quickly' after doctors told her that her medication was no longer working.
"For the first time, I can see I might not survive this," she told the Times in June 2021. "The idea has always been at the back of my mind, but death has felt comfortably far away ... No amount of positive energy, running, giving two fat fingers to cancer, and dancing through the pain is going to help right now.”
Deborah's stark prognosis was confirmed in her latest update, which comes just a few weeks after she was admitted to intensive care for 'emergency procedures to drain abscesses' following a bad reaction to oral antibiotics.
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"I know we have left no stone unturned," she wrote. "But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore."
Deborah went on to admit she had "never envisaged writing" her "goodbye" post, attributing the optimism to the "rebellious hope in me."
"I don’t think anyone can say the last 6 months has exactly been kind! It’s all heartbreaking to be going through but I’m surrounded by so much love that if anything can help me through I hope that will," she added.
The broadcaster concluded her message with an appeal for the public to support her BowelBabefund, before signing off with two simple words, "Enjoy life."
Deborah has since been inundated with supportive messages from fans, many of whom shared their own experiences of bowel cancer with the inspiring presenter.
"My 16-year-old needed a role model like you when she was diagnosed. Have a G&T with her when you reach your next destination x," one woman replied on Twitter.
Several UK celebrities, who had been following Deborah's journey for years, have also reached out.
"Love you x thinking of all of you right now ….," wrote TV presenter Davina McCall.
"You changed so many people's lives, you’ve spread so much joy and kindness. An ever lasting impact," wrote activist and broadcaster, Katie Piper, while Loose Women's Andrea Mclean wrote, "Oh Deborah… I’m sending you and your family all my love."
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Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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