THE Sun’s Deborah James asked herself “How do I want to die from cancer?” in a 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 as she explores options for her own end of life care.
Diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, the brave mum of two has written and spoken widely about her gruelling with the illness, including on her award-winning podcast The Big C on BBC5 and on her Instagram handle Bowel Babe.
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 teacher admitted she had doubts on entering a place she says was “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?
BBC Presenter Deborah James
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.
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.
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