Deborah James, 39, who has stage four cancer, is 'done with rules'

BBC presenter Deborah James, 39, who has stage four bowel cancer, calls out ‘Government’s ridiculous Covid rules’ as she spends another night in hospital ‘with no visitors’ while England fans ‘jump all over each other’

  • Deborah James, known as Bowel Babe, shared emotional tweet last night    
  • Mother-of-two, 39, is ‘done with the ridiculous “rules”‘ amid hospital stay
  • Said she’s ‘not allowed any visitors’ in to help her through ‘rough’ period 
  •  Deborah was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in December 2016
  • Has been documenting struggles over recent weeks as cancer accelerated    
  • Previously said she has fast-growing tumour which isn’t responding to drugs
  • The mother-of-two has started  chemotherapy in a bid to inhibit the tumour 

BBC podcast presenter Deborah James has shared an emotional tweet in which she said she is ‘done with ridiculous rules’ as she revealed she is not allowed any visitors during a hospital stay.  

The You, Me and the Big C star, 39, who has been living with stage four bowel cancer since she was diagnosed in December 2016, told her followers on Instagram last month that an aggressive new tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bile duct. 

In a tweet shared last night, the mother-of-two from London,  said: ‘I think I’m done with the ridiculous “rules”. It’s my 3rd night in hospital. I’ve spent too long here recently. I see everyone jumping on each other to celebrate the football. I’m not allowed any visitor in to help me through a rough time. Enough is enough.’

According to the NHS website, ‘most hospitals’ have ‘stopped or significantly limited visits’ to try to help stop the spread of COVID-19, despite restrictions loosening across the country.  

BBC podcast presenter Deborah James has shared an emotional tweet in which she said she is ‘done with ridiculous rules’ as she revealed she is not allowed any visitors during a hospital stay

The You, Me and the Big C star , 39, who has been living with stage four bowel cancer since she was diagnosed in December 2016, told her followers on Instagram last month that an aggressive new tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bile duct (pictured with her son James and daughter Eloise)

The mother-of-two admitted she was struggling with the rules after seeing ‘everyone jumping on each other to celebrate the football’ while she is ‘not allowed any visitors’

Her latest comments come as thousands of jubilant football fans were picked tightly together after leaving Wembley stadium as supporters across the nation gathered to celebrate the Three Lions victory over Denmark. 

More than 66,000 people packed the stands in Wembley’s biggest post-pandemic crowd during England’s 2-1 victory over Denmark.

Experts warned England’s most successful international tournament since 1966 could cause a fresh surge in infections, as people pack into pubs in large groups to watch the historic match on Sunday night.

Deborah has continued to document her battle with cancer after revealing last month she had a liver stunt fitted to allow her to have further chemotherapy.     

Several scientists have warned that if England continues to progress in the competition, cases will continue to go up. The national team ended their 55-year wait for a major final last night, defeating Denmark 2-1 in front of a packed 60,000-strong crowd in London (pictured, jubilant fans leaving Wembley Stadium last night)

Updating fans last  month, the mother-of-two said that an aggressive new tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bile duct, adding ‘the signs have been there for a while’ that the cancer that had ‘gone to sleep’ is back again

Government loosen restrictions as vaccination rollout severely weakens the link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths 

Key social distancing measures, including the one-metre rule, the rule of six and the 30-person limit on the size of outdoor gatherings, are set to be scrapped on the new ‘Freedom Day’.

Last night it emerged that even nightclubs may be allowed to reopen on July 19 without the need to test customers at the door, as part of a new ‘freedom plan’ that could be published by the Prime Minister as soon as next week. 

 The proposals reflect growing confidence in Government that the vaccination rollout has severely weakened the link between infections, and hospitalisations and deaths.

Covid cases are continuing to surge across the country. 

She shared a photo of herself with husband Sebastien at the Queen’s tennis tournament in West London, saying: ‘I think you all know, by my general lack of being on here (dancing!), that Things have moved (in the wrong direction) very quickly cancer wise.’ 

Deborah praised her ‘superman’ husband, Sebastien Bowen, for ‘keeping the family together’ during a ‘crazy a** scary week’. She had two children with the banker, Hugo, 13, and Eloise. 

The upbeat deputy head-turned-campaigner and presenter added: ‘I do have a glimmer of hope and options and am greatful to my team who are currently pulling a “next step” plan together that doesn’t including writing me off just yet!’ 

Revealing she’d endured many tests and scans in recent days, Deborah said she’d ‘earnt a hell of a lot of brownie points for the amount of time I’ve spent on scanners and having tests this week’. 

She added that: ‘Whilst it goes without saying that I’ve felt at rock bottom, I’m not giving up hope just yet.’

The mother-of-two finished the post by saying she was ‘taking the weekend to snuggle up with my family so you won’t see me on here, and I urge you to do the same.’

Last year, Deborah began taking new experimental drugs as part of a trial after her oncology team gave her the green light to do so. 

In April, James shared that her cancer, which has been kept at bay by pioneering treatment, was back again and she was forced to endure a 12th operation. 

London-based Deborah, who recently launched ITV’s Lorraine’s ‘No Butts’ campaign, designed to get people talking about the illness’s main symptoms, revealed how she recently asked her oncologist whether this was the ‘beginning of the end’ following her most recent results

Deborah, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, told Instagram followers scan results had shown: ‘Things have moved (in the wrong direction) very quickly’

She praised her husband, Sebastien Bowen, for ‘keeping the family together’, posting a picture of the couple at Queen’s tennis tournament in West London

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

She has frequently said that as a vegetarian runner, she was the last person doctors expected to get the disease. 

After sharing her experiences on living with the disease on social media, Deborah became known as the ‘Bowel Babe’ and began writing a column for the Sun.  

Last year, after several years of surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, Deborah underwent CyberKnife and ablation.

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

In 2018, Deborah (left) joined Lauren Mahon (front) and Rachael Bland (right) to present the award-winning podcast You, Me and the Big C on Radio 5 Live. Bland tragically died of breast cancer on September 5th that year; her husband Steve Bland now co-presents the show

  • 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

The star has been candid about every aspect of her life since being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016, including photos ahead of surgery and chemo sessions (pictured in hospital in 2020)

  • 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

Last week, 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.’ Pictured: Deborah James undergoing a scan at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London

  • 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
  • On Friday, 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
  • In her Sun column today, the mother-of-two said a new ‘rapidly-growing’ tumour near her liver had wrapped itself around her bowel
  • Deborah must now start chemotherapy again after her cancer stopped responding to the drugs she’s currently on

 

The surgery was a success and her cancer became inactive. But while Deborah continued undergoing daily targeted drug therapy to keep the cancer at bay, she told how just as lockdown restrictions in the UK started easing, her cancer ‘wanted in on the party’ and started waking up. 

Deborah, who says that as a stage 4 cancer patient all she wants is ‘hope and options,’ added that the node is inoperable and that her body is unable to cope with any more radiotherapy in that area.

However, with an oncologist confirming Deborah’s cancer is spreading to ‘limited sites’ in a ‘specific way,’ local therapies – including a mix of CyberKnife and ablation – have so far had positive outcomes. 

Deborah has also undergone a new type of ablation known as NanoKnife –  an ablation procedure that uses low energy electrical pulses to create defects in cell membranes, resulting in loss of homeostasis and subsequent cell death. 

Campaigner, broadcaster and author Deborah James said protecting cancer care should be a priority (pictured upon leaving hospital after going through an operation to treat her stage four metastatic bowel cancer)

The mother-of-two talks about her cancer on Instagram under her moniker Bowel Babe, and shares glimpses of her treatment (pictured during a treatment session in hospital)

BOWEL CANCER: THE SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE 

Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.

Such tumours usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • Blood in stools
  • A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained tiredness
  • Abdominal pain

Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they: 

  • Are over 50
  • Have a family history of the condition
  • Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
  • Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Lead an unhealthy lifestyle  

Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.

More than nine out of 10 people with stage one bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.

This drops significantly if it is diagnosed in later stages. 

According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK. 

It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.

‘I still get scared, I still overthink every possible scenario,’ she explained to Lorraine. ‘I still hate general anaesthetics and I worry every single time that I won’t wake up.’

‘I worry I might wake up too soon, I worry it will all go wrong. I worry I will freak out in the middle of the night, and I get nervous that I’ll have to sleep alone. ‘What if I die mid-operation?’

Deborah went on to say how before heading into the hospital, she makes sure everything is ‘in order at home’ – including reminding son Hugo of her password ‘just in case.’ 

She also added how she hugs him, Eloise and husband Seb ‘a little bit tighter.’

She continued: ‘I know that I have to take risks if I want to live, it’s a strategy that has got me this far and I’m not giving up now.’ 

Last month, Deborah poignantly revealed on Lorraine that ‘all she wants is a future’, as she launched a new campaign to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness month. 

Speaking candidly about her future she said she’s had to accept she probably won’t see her children, aged 11 and 13, turn 18. 

‘I was diagnosed at the age of 35, with stage four bowel cancer,’ she explained. ‘It was the last thing I thought would ever happen. It was caught very late and unfortunately, the chances of survival plummets.

‘It’s really hard when I look at my kids. I have a 13-year-old and an 11-year-old and I wonder if I’ll ever see them getting to 18 and I probably won’t. 

‘All I want is to have a future and dream about a future. I want to make it to my 40th birthday later in the year, I want to have a huge party. 

She added: ‘I want to be a 40-year-old, not Deborah with cancer, I want to be Deborah.’ 

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