Deborah James’ courage in the face of illness moves the British


Deborah James may not be around when this letter from London is read. The 40-year-old Briton, who is suffering from terminal bowel cancer, announced in a poignant post on her Instagram account on May 10 that the multiple treatments to keep her alive had been stopped and she was in palliative care. “My body just can’t take it anymore,” she confided in a long interview to the TimesMay 11.

This former assistant principal, mother of two children, a 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, returned to her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, to spend her last days surrounded by her family. “I would like to switch off hearing the familiar noise they make around me”, did she slip Times. In a brief interview with the BBC, broadcast the same day, she appears with exhausted features, eyes shining with tears, but still a brave smile on her lips.

In the five years that she has been chronicling her battle with cancer, Deborah James has become a phenomenon in the United Kingdom. This pretty brunette, always ready even for a chemotherapy session, has managed a tour de force: to speak with modesty and honesty about her suffering, her fear in the face of the certainty of her imminent death. But also with a lot of humor and sometimes incredible fishing. She has also lifted one of the last taboos – feces – in the name of prevention against an insidious cancer which is talked about too little, often out of shame, but which has a good chance of survival if detected early. .

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a once-a-day, twice-a-day or even three-day poop. As soon as something is wrong, as soon as you see blood, dried or fresh in it, go see your GP immediately. If you are worried, insist again and again to see a specialist,” tirelessly repeated the young woman, who was diagnosed in 2016 with stage four cancer, incurable, after months of great fatigue and weight loss. “I was a once-a-day girl, I went to eight times, and there was fresh blood in my stool,” she says on Instagram.

Suddenly deteriorating health

To save lives, she gave a lot of herself, despite her multiple operations and her repeated infections. Columnist at Sun, she posted dozens of videos on Instagram (her account, BowelBabe, has 723,000 subscribers), sang loudly in a sexy dress under her hospital gown, played hide and seek dressed as a giant poo emoji. She is a regular guest on one of the BBC’s most popular podcasts (“You, Me and the Big C”), co-hosted with two other fellow sufferers – Steve Bland, who took over from his wife, Rachael, who died of breast cancer in 2018, and Lauren Mahon, herself suffering from breast cancer.

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