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Deborah James online health update: Nobody knows how long I’ve got left

Deborah James has said ‘nobody knows how long I’ve got left’ in an online health update (Ian West/PA)
Deborah James has said ‘nobody knows how long I’ve got left’ in an online health update (Ian West/PA)

Podcaster Deborah James has told followers she does not know “how long I’ve got left” after being moved to hospice at home care to treat her terminal bowel cancer.

The popular presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C said the last six months have been “heartbreaking” to go through, but that she has been surrounded by “so much love” and has “no regrets”.

James was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and since then has kept her nearly 300,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments, with candid posts about her progress and diagnosis.

On December 14 2021, she marked five years since her diagnosis, writing on Instagram: “I’m fully aware I shouldn’t be alive to write this today.”

But in a new post on Monday, she said: “The message I never wanted to write. 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.

“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.”

She added that she had left “no stone unturned” in search of treatment, but that even a “magic new breakthrough” would not make a difference.

The former deputy headteacher announced in her post that she is setting up the Bowelbabe Fund, and shared links to charities including Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

She wrote: “All I ask, if you ever read a column, followed my Instagram, listened to the podcast or saw me dressed as a poo for no reason, please buy me a drink to see me out this world, by donating the cost to @bowelbabefund which will enable us to raise funds for further lifesaving research into cancer. To give more Deborah’s more time!”.

She added: “Right now for me it’s all about taking it a day at a time, step by step and being grateful for another sunrise.

“My whole family are around me and we will dance through this together, sunbathing and laughing (I’ll cry!!) at every possible moment!

“You are all incredible, thank you for playing your part in my journey.

“No regrets. Enjoy life x Deborah.”

The fund name echoes her social media handle, Bowelbabe, and by early morning on May 10 it had reached nearly £700,000.

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