Deborah suffered severe allergic reactions to chemo that led to anxiety attacks

Dame Deborah James has said in her book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, that she suffered from "severe allergic reactions" to chemotherapy that led to anxiety attacks.

In an extract written in her own words, the late star said: "On one occasion, I had a particularly serious anxiety attack when I was undergoing chemo. Medically I was fine, but I was utterly sure I would die. I was convinced that was it – D-Day had arrived and I was about to shuffle off.

"Fortunately, I managed to persevere and complete the dose. While most people would avoid something if it induced that level of trauma, I had no option but to go back and get more chemotherapy a few weeks later.

"I really can’t overstate how much I didn’t want to. Even though I knew my life would be shorter if I didn’t show up, it was still so difficult to drive there, undo my seatbelt and enter the hospital."

Explaining the treatment was "life-saving", Deborah went on to share that her anxiety about suffering yet another allergic reaction was so intense that it took "everything I had" to go into the hospital and "get it done".

She continued: "I’m guessing most cancer patients have felt like this at some point – when the treatment seems worse than the disease, and it takes a huge amount of resolve to keep going.

"I suppose you could say that my childhood gymnastics and the career I loved so much in teaching helped to make me a determined person who didn’t like to give up. But, Grit means the outright refusal to yield, and it is vital to living like there’s no tomorrow."

The You, Me & The Big C podcast host died in June at the age of 40, five years after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

In the weeks before her death, the late star announced she had stopped cancer treatment and would receive hospice care at her parents’ home in Surrey.

She explained that despite all of her treatments, her body just wasn’t “playing ball". Tragically, on 28 June, her family shared a statement to say she had "passed away peacefully".

Despite her heartbreaking ordeal, Dame Deborah was able to raise £7 million for cancer charities through her Bowelbabe Fund and also received a Damehood from Prince William.

She was also able to finish writing her final book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, in which she spoke about her stage 4 diagnosis.


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