THE Sun’s Deborah James asked herself “How do I want to die from cancer?” as she filmed her first nerve-wracking visit to a hospice.
The 37-year-old columnist and podcaster shared her trip in an emotive video for today’s BBC Breakfast to explore options for her end of life care.
BBC Breakfast Sun columnist and bowel cancer patient Deborah James spoke poignantly about her fears in looking around a hospice in a clip recorded for BBC Breakfast
Deborah, who also co-presents You, Me And The Big C, faced up to her worst fears in the heart-breaking video
BBC Breakfast Deborah shaking hands with Dallas Pounds, CEO of the Royal Trinity Hospice in London
Diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2016, the brave mum-of-two has written and spoken widely about her gruelling with the illness first in her weekly Sun column, Things Cancer Made Me Say.
And, more recently, on her BBC podcast, You, Me And The Big C, which she co-hosted with Rachael Bland who died of breast cancer last September, at the age of 40.
Speaking to camera, Deborah calmly says: “Only eight per cent of people will survive with my type of cancer, so I have to ask myself, how will I die, and how do I want to die?”
The former deputy headteacher admitted she had doubts on entering “a place where people go to die, where people only go to die”.
But she believes her positive experience of Royal Trinity Hospice in South London has helped her come face to face with her fears.
Only eight per cent of people will survive with my type of cancer, so I have to ask myself, how will I die, and how do I want to die?Sun columnist, Deborah James speaking on BBC Breakfast
Sharing an excerpt of the video clip on her Instagram page she said: “Anyone who has followed my story will know that the thought of stepping into a hospice was a huge deal for me. Something I didn’t want to even discuss.
“But through our podcast I’ve realised that talking about things and facing them head on makes it all a little less scary. So I decided to visit and took along with me.”
In the clip, Deborah speaks warmly about her friend and colleague Rachel Bland, who died at 40 from cancer.
“Rachel was adamant that she wanted to die at home, with her family, but for me the home is a scared place.
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“A place that I want to protect for my children, I want them to have happy memories of me and the home – I don’t want them to remember me dying at home,” she said.
Deborah is currently undergoing a new drug treatment after scans revealed new tumours growing in her liver.
It comes after she had part of her bowel removed, four lung ops to blast tumours, 21 rounds of chemo and CyberKnife targeted radiotherapy to try and shrink an inoperable tumour wrapped around an artery near her liver.
In the video Deborah also met with people living in the hospice, including one woman who said being there felt like “having a warm blanket out around her”.
She was also seen talking to the hospice’s CEO Dallas Pounds, who explained palliative care wasn’t just there for end of life, but also for people going through cancer or terminally ill conditions.
BBC Breakfast Deborah has said she wants to keep her home a sacred place for her two kids, rather than a place for her to die
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