Deborah James shares photos of a 'girls night in' sleepover

Deborah James shares sweet photos of her ‘girls night in’ sleepover with her mum, sister and daughter and reveals she’s becoming ‘less and less’ able to leave the house and ‘making memories is hard when you’re dying’

  • Deborah James has shared sweet photos from a ‘girl’s night in’ sleepover with her mum, sister and daughter and revealed she is ‘struggling to leave the house’
  • Podcaster, 40,  said that her family managed to ‘put a smile on her face’ 
  • She is now receiving end of life care bowel cancer at her parents’ home in Woking and has raised over £6 million for the bowel babe fund

Dame Deborah James has shared sweet photos from a ‘girl’s night in’ sleepover with her mum, sister and daughter and revealed she is ‘struggling to leave the house’.

The campaigner and podcaster, 40, who is receiving end of life care at her parent’s home in Woking, Surrey said that her family managed to ‘put a smile on her face’ after spending ‘most of yesterday in tears’ with the impromptu party which included matching pyjamas, face masks and indoor teepees.  

Deborah, a former deputy head teacher from London, has been living with stage four bowel cancer since she was diagnosed in December 2016 and was told early on that she might not live beyond five years – a milestone that passed in the autumn of 2021.

At the start of the year, the mother-of-two, who shares her children Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, with her husband Sebastien, announced she had ‘nearly died’ in hospital, calling it the ‘hardest’ part of the last five years, and was admitted as an in-patient earlier this month. 

Dame Deborah James has shared sweet photos from a ‘girl’s night in’ sleepover with her mum, sister and daughter and revealed she is ‘struggling to leave the house’

The campaigner and podcaster, 40, who is receiving end of life care at her parent’s home in Woking, Surrey said that her family managed to ‘put a smile on her face’ after spending ‘most of yesterday in tears’. She is pictured with her family 

She is now receiving end of life care bowel cancer at her parents’ home in Woking and has raised over £6 million in the weeks since she announced the news. 

But she is making the most of her final moments, despite feeling ‘really down’ about not being able to leave the house.

Adorable photos show Deborah with her family in matching pink satin pyjamas and facemasks, on futons covered with pink sheets and dozens of teepees.

Writing on Instagram today alongside a collage of sweet family photos she wrote: ‘Making memories can be hard why you are dying! Oh the pressure!!. 

‘I’m now only getting some very grabbed hours between the sleeping and side effects, but this girly sleepover managed to put such a smile to my face having spent most of yesterday in tears! 

‘I’m getting less and less able to leave the house, or bed really now, so was feeling pretty down about it. Or do anything for that matter! 

‘But my sister suggested a party sleepover! She managed to call a very local Woking company (Teepee Vibe Tribe), that morning, who said, yes we’ll come and help and make the whole thing so easy and enjoyable all within 3 hours notice!

Deborah, pictured with her brother and sister, has been living with stage four bowel cancer since she was diagnosed in December 2016 and was told early on that she might not live beyond five years – a milestone that passed in the autumn of 2021.

Adorable photos show Deborah with her family in matching pink satin pyjamas and facemasks, on futons covered with pink sheets and dozens of teepees. Her daughter is pictured with a facemask

A sign up in the house read ‘Girls Night In, Family Sleepover’ as she said she wants to ‘sleep with more memories’ 

‘I was feeling awful after a bad day, so didn’t watch the set up of anything. 

‘Actually I just cried over my leaking drains next door! But with the help of my sister and bro, managed to calm down and then they wheeled me into the room last night and yes I cried over the fairy lights! Good tears! It was just perfect! 

‘I went from staying in my wheelchair to ending up everyone helping to get me into an actually Tee pee to watch Cinderella with the gang and sit their like a 5 year old with a huge Cheshire Cat smile on my face next to my daughter and sister! 

Symptoms of bowel cancer 

– Change in bowel habits with diarrhoea, constipation or the feeling of incomplete emptying

– Thin or loose bowel movements

– Blood or mucous in stools

– Abdominal pain, bloating and cramping

– Anal or rectal pain

– Lump in the anus or rectum

– Unexplained weight loss

– Fatigue

– Unexplained anaemia

‘We booked the experience as regular customer but they refused payment so have donated it to Bowel Babe Fund instead. But I wanted to give a big shout out to Teepee Vibe Tribe because they were local, just so good and made something that meant a a lot to me just so effortless. 

[‘Today I sleep! But with another memory and a smile’

Deborah was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in December 2016, and was told early on that she might not live beyond five years – a milestone that passed in the autumn of 2021.

She shared an Instagram post earlier this month revealing that ‘nobody knows how long she has left’.

She wrote: ‘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.’

She is receiving hospice care at her parents’ home in Woking, to spare her children the difficult memories of her spending her final days at the family home in London.

The news comes days after she told The Sun that she was ‘scared to fall asleep’ because she does not know how long she has got left.

She added she had felt a ‘deep love’ from her family, saying: ‘I think my family are knackered, they have all been incredible – going above and beyond to look after me and nurse me.’

And speaking of her end of life care recently she said: ‘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.’

Speaking after she released a charity t-shirt with the same brand where the profits also went to the bowelbabe fund, she said that she had designed the collection as she loves fashion and clothes and they make her happy. Deborah is pictured here in one of the charity t-shirts with her daughter Eloise 

Saying the ‘pressure’ on her young children was ‘huge’, she continued: ‘I want them to have nice memories.

‘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.’

In recent days, she has won praise from  Prince William who called her ‘brilliant, brave and inspirational’ as he met some of the staff who treated her. 

Speaking at the Royal Marsden to patient Lorraine Kimber, 59, from Essex, who is currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and knows Mrs James well, the prince described his meeting with her. 

‘She was incredible, incredible. She was surrounded by her family, we had a lovely afternoon,’ he said.

‘You know she’s had over 100 tumours. Which is unbelievable. I couldn’t believe that. The resilience you have to have to keep going back again, it’s got to be very draining on you.’

William said: ‘She was joking…because they are a very tight family, very close, you could see that….she was joking that at last she could now drink.

‘She said it was brilliant. She was ‘triple parked’ and kept on joking about how many drinks she could get lined up in front of her.

‘She’s realising that being at home is just where she wants to be right now, surrounded by all her loved ones.’

He added: ‘ I love Deborah, she’s fantastic. Her legacy is massive.’   

HOW DEPUTY HEAD TURNED SOCIAL MEDIA STAR HAS TRANSFORMED BOWEL CANCER AWARENESS  

In December 2016, the West London mother-of-two, a deputy head, was diagnosed ‘late’ with incurable bowel cancer

After sharing her experiences on living with the disease on social media, Deborah became known as the ‘Bowel Babe’

In 2018, she became one of three presenters on Radio 5 Live’s You, Me and the Big C, which was conceived by her late co-host Rachael Bland

On September 5th 2018, Welsh journalist and presenter Bland, diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, died at the age of 40

Deborah and her co-host Lauren Mahon continue to present the show, with Steve Bland, Rachael’s husband, joining the duo

On social media and in her column for the Sun newspaper, Deborah has documented the many chemo, radiotherapy sessions and surgery she’s had since

During her treatment, Deborah told followers on Instagram ‘By my general lack of being on here (dancing!), that Things have moved (in the wrong direction) very quickly cancer wise.’

In 2019, she had a procedure known as CyberKnife, a highly targeted form of radiotherapy to attack an inoperable lymph node close to her liver

The pandemic’s impact on cancer services saw her campaign for care to continue as normal and, earlier this year, she launched the ITV’s Lorraine’s ‘No Butts’ campaign, raising awareness on bowel cancer symptoms

Since last year, she has been taking new experimental drugs as part of a trial after her oncology team gave her the green light to do so

August, Deborah revealed that scans she’s had in recent days have revealed her cancer has gone in the ‘wrong direction very quickly’

She told followers she would be taking a break on social media over the weekend to ‘snuggle’ with her family ahead of more scans

The mother-of-two said a new ‘rapidly-growing’ tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bowel

On October 1, Deborah celebrates her 40th birthday

By October 18, the mother-of-two told her followers her chemotherapy is working

Days later, she was rushed to A&E with ‘spiking 40 degree temperatures’

In November, she reveals she is unable to walk for more than 20 minutes and remains ‘very weak’

By December, Deborah said she was ‘not sure what her options were’ after her liver stent ‘stopped working’

In January, she had five operations in 10 days after nearly dying in an acute medical emergency

January 25, Deborah returns home from hospital after three weeks

March 14, the mother-of-two is back in hospital as an in-patient after suffering from septic infection

In April, she concerned fans with snaps after suffering ‘a rough few days’

April 14, the mother-of-two tells fans she has been discharged from hospital but calls the situation ‘very tough’

April 27, she tells Lorraine that she has spent ’80 per cent’ of the year in hospital

May 9 – Deborah announces she has moved to hospice care

 

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