One last girly sleepover with my daughter, sister and mum helped me smile through the tears, says Deborah James
DAME Deborah James is taking ‘grabbed’ hours to have one last girly sleepover with her daughter, mum and sister.
The Sun writer said that between the sleeping pills and the side effects she has limited time with those she loves most.
Debs was moved to at-home hospice care earlier this month and has been living at her parents’ house in Surrey.
The 40-year-old said her body was ‘no longer playing ball’, after medics did all they could to treat her stage four bowel cancer.
Now, the campaigner is trying to make every moment matter and took part in a girly sleepover with her nearest and dearest this week.
Over the last few weeks, Debs has built up a myriad of experiences.
TO DONATE to BowelBabe Fund visit www.bowelbabe.org
She has had a rose named after her, launched a fashion collection, had her very own Lego mini-me sent to her and raised millions of pounds for the BowelBabe Fund.
But as the days go on, the mum-of-two said she has been ‘feeling awful’.
Posting to Instagram she said: “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!”
Debs said that her sister suggested a party sleepover for her and her nieces, mum and daughter, Eloise.
She praised local Woking company teepeevibetribe for putting the special evening together with just three hours notice.
Dame Debs said she had been feeling awful after a bad day, so hadn’t watched any of the party being set up and had been crying over 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 actual tee pee to watch Cinderella with the gang and sit there like a 5 year old with a huge Cheshire Cat smile on my face next to my daughter and sister!”
Debs said her sister had booked the experience as a regular customer, but that the brand had kindly refused payment.
Therefore, Debs, ever the fundraiser, donated the cost to the BowelBabe Fund.
- To pre-order Deborah’s book visit Amazon
- Her t-shirt is still available through In the Style in sizes 6-28
- The Dame Deborah James rose, Bare Root, is available at World of Roses
The signs of bowel cancer you need to know – remember BOWEL
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, of blood in your poo.
Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.
Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.
Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it’s important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.
2. O: Obvious change in loo habits
It’s important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.
It’s especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.
You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you’re not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.
Don’t be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.
3. W: Weight loss
This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of. If you’ve lost weight and don’t really know why, it’s worth mentioning to your GP.
You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.
4. E: Extreme tiredness
Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body – anaemia. If you develop anaemia you’re likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.
5. L: Lump or pain
As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.
It’s most likely you’ll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.
See your GP if it doesn’t go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep
She thanked the company again for making ‘something that meant a lot so effortless’.
“Today I sleep! But with another memory and a smile”, she added.
Earlier today, Debs’ family thanked everyone for their donations to the fund, which has so far raised over £6.6million.
They said: “Through donations, fundraising and partnerships we are all continuing to raise an incredible amount of money that will help give more Deborah’s more time.
“All money raised will be allocated, with the support of CRUK to funding causes and projects such as: funding clinical trials and research into personalised medicine that could result in new treatments for cancer patients.”
They highlighted that this includes projects in collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden.
On top of this, the money will go towards continued support to raise awareness of cancer, such as Bowel Cancer UK’s ‘Never Too Young’ campaign.
The family added: “Thank you all so much for your continued support, and if you’ve donated, bought a book, T-Shirt or rose, or held a bake sale, fundraised, or shared Deborah’s story.
“You are all incredible, and we are totally blown away by you all.”
Since her diagnosis in 2016, Debs has been passionate about raising awareness of bowel cancer.
Alongside the fund, one of her projects is a book that is set to come out later this year, which has already reached the top of the Amazon charts.
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