We speak to Deborah James – Mum of two and cancer campaigner.
In three years, teacher turned presenter Deborah James – best known as @bowelbabe – has gone from planning her funeral to hearing she’s cancer free and preparing to run the London Marathon in April. The coaching team at Her Spirit through Jon Cowell and Cofounder Mel Berry are loving supporting and helping her to realise this dream.
Staying resilient mentally and physically is so very important and Deborah does this through exercise. Knowing how much I can get through when I never thought it was possible.
Reflecting on bowel cancer and her determination to change the way we talk about the disease is key for her.
Never underestimate the power of a support group to help you achieve anything you set your sights on.
I host the You, Me & the Big C podcast and have made no secret about how the love of exercise helps me to keep a positive mindset, so much so that I have now decided to run this year’s London Marathon. ‘I’m rebuilding myself, and part of that is having a goal to work towards. It’s important.
And I’ve always wanted to complete the London Marathon. I have so many side effects from my treatment – like coping with painful scar tissue – so training can be a struggle, but mentally, it helps me deal with uncertainty.’
It’s now or never. I’m raising money for London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, which is where I’m treated. I’ve not diary dated anything past April, because I shouldn’t be here. I planned for my funeral, not the future.
My biggest obstacle that I have overcome is stage 4 Bowel Cancer at the age of 35! Lots of treatment, luck, hope, options, resilience. I learnt to take life one step at a time. My mum, my sister, my husband, my kids are my biggest supporters. They keep me smiling in the dark. My friends are always there to drink the wine with!
My motivation is to get busy living!
‘By the time I had turned 35, I found myself part of a club I never wanted to join: The Cancer Club – a seemingly indiscriminate gathering which one in two of us, at some stage in our lives, will inevitably join.
Following my diagnosis, I unexpectedly found myself attacked by a sub-section of the wellness industry, which was designed to sell me the idea that my cancer was somehow my fault.
The view, expressed through targeted adverts on an array of social-media platforms, was that not only was my cancer the result of something I’d done wrong, but that it was something I could overcome if I only tried hard enough – a dangerous message at a deeply vulnerable time in my life.
I exercise to invest time in myself, I manage my own time. Take holidays. I have to remove myself to switch off. Knowing how much I can get through when I never thought it was possible keeps me resilient. I fuel myself with anything veggie.
I feel good when I’m running along the river and it’s not cold! My mantra is to ‘Just say yes!’ Her Spirit is something people should consider. Never underestimate the power of a support group to help you achieve anything you set your sights on.
If you enjoyed this blog you can check out another one here! You can also head to the #YESSHECAN Website for more information about who they are.