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3 February 2005

Many thanks for all of the cards and messages that we have received and for the donations to St Nicholas’ Hospice.

The final total donated was a magnificent £1,128.03.

Many thanks for your support and best wishes to you all,

Andrew & Val
andy@friend-smith.co.uk
melsmith@rmplc.co.uk

Monday 4 October 2004

This entry is being written by Andrew.

I have the sad news to report that Dad died on Thursday 30 September 2004 at 9:30 a.m. at St Nicholas’ Hospice.

Mum and I were at his bedside and he died in our arms. It was very peaceful and he was not in pain.

The hospice was a wonderful place – modern and clean, but homely. The day before he died, Dad had proudly told me about how he had enjoyed a jacuzzi bath there.

The staff at the hospice were exceptional. Mum and I are very grateful to them for their professionalism, care, and compassion during Dad’s short stay.

My Mum, as always, was a tower of strength for Dad throughout his illness. Their love and support for each other was admired by everyone, from hospital and hospice staff to friends and family.

Thank you all for the letters, e-mails, cards, and gifts that you have sent to Dad over the past few months. They were a great source of strength to Dad, particularly in the last few weeks of his life.

The funeral will take place at

Christ Church Moreton Hall
Symonds Road
Bury St. Edmunds
Suffolk
IP32 7EW

on Friday 8 October 2004 at 12.45 p.m.

Following the service, there will be a cremation to be attended by close family. However everyone is invited to stay at the church hall for a buffet afternoon tea, being joined by the close family following the cremation service.

Dad wanted donations to the hospice rather than flowers at his funeral. The contact details are:

St Nicholas’ Hospice
Macmillan Way
Hardwick Lane
Bury St. Edmunds
Suffolk
IP33 2QY

Telephone 01284 766133
Fax 01284 715599
www.st-nicholas-hospice.org.uk

Many thanks to all of Dad’s friends and family for their support.

Best wishes,

Andrew.

Monday 27 September 2004

For comfort, Mel will move to St Nicholas’ Hospice, Bury St. Edmunds tomorrow, Tuesday. Our son Andrew is on holiday for a week, and will update the website as soon as he returns.

Mel and Val.

Thursday 23 September 2004

Have spent last 4 days once again in hospital because of pain problems. Came home PM hoping that we could cope at least for the time being, however mobility in legs is practically zero and has deteriorated even over the past few hours.

Not sure where we go from here but hope to give you more info when we are more sorted.

Many thanks for all the e-mails, cards and letters.

Best wishes,

Mel

Thursday 16 September 2004

First of all, a million thanks for all the letters, e-mails, ‘phone calls etc. that I have received – nothing has done more to cheer me up than all of these. I was so delighted that, amidst all the sympathy, sorrow etc., like me, so many of you have retained your sense of humour and kept me smiling for some considerable time. As you will surely have realised, replying to each of you individually is very difficult, though I have tried to write some responses.

In order to try to keep you up-to-date on progress, I have hit upon a way of, hopefully, keeping you informed. My son, Andrew, whom many of you will know, has his own web site, and one of the links, (the third one), points to Mel’s Newsletters, which I shall attempt to up-date from time to time. The web address is, as you will have gathered:

www.friend-smith.co.uk

Perhaps you would be kind enough to pass this information on to anyone that might be interested.

Some of you will know that, two weeks ago, I spent a week in hospital with a serious breathing problem, which was cured, at least temporarily, by inserting a drain into the lung pleural cavity and draining off several litres of fluid. This was a dreadful week that I keep trying to forget.

I have now spent two weeks at home being wonderfully looked after by Val, my permanent, efficient (and unpaid!) nurse with the support of a superb GP, who has spent up to an hour with me on each visit. I’m rather glad that I am being treated in Suffolk and not Cheshire because the medical support team here has been so good and at present we are coping very well at home, with the team in the background, ‘phoning every few days to check whether or not I need anything.

The main thing, as far as I am concerned, is that I am virtually free from pain even though I have to put up with quite a lot of tiring procedures – washing, showering, shaving, dressing etc. takes up to an hour for a start – and that’s with help!

My mobility has been affected hugely. Val and I have been into town several times but I find it difficult to walk more than about 100m and so we have to resort to a wheel-chair most of the time. I still find it difficult to accept that less than 3 months ago I was running 3 miles practically every day and back in January I did a 10-mile run in a fairly good time (for a 56-year-old anyway!) of 75 minutes. I’m slowly beginning to realise that there is absolutely no point in going over these sorts of things time and time again – I just have to take each day as it comes and make the most of life.

When I was first diagnosed with the secondary symptoms, around July 6th, the prognosis was very poor indeed and I was told that the chances of my moving into our new house, (currently being built only 400m down the road from where we are presently renting) in mid-December were negligible. It looks as though the house-building is ahead of schedule and we know that that the site manager is aware of our situation. We get the feeling that they are trying to push things ahead as quickly as possible.

It seems as though, medically, I am something of an enigma and there are things happening that they do not understand. They have very little in the way of results, even after 2 months and even then they do not know if I would be willing to undergo a regime of treatment where the side-effects may be worse than the treatment.

Anyway, my number one aim at the moment is to move into the new house, whenever that may be and to enjoy each day as it comes. I have posted a couple of photos.

image005

The house you can see is exactly the same as ours (except ours is completely detached) but is actually occupied. Ours is at the stage where the outside brickwork is complete, as is all the wiring and we think they are in the midst of internal plastering.

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The other photo is of Val and I on a sunny day (and we have had a lot of those) in the back garden at Sheerwater Close.

Best wishes to you all. Please keep in contact.

Mel.


September 2004

Following Dad’s diagnosis in July of secondary cancer, he has been overwhelmed with correspondence of all kind from friends and family for which he is very grateful.

He has, however, found it increasingly difficult to keep everyone up-to-date with his news, and has asked me to post his “diary” on this web site. It will be updated regularly. Please do continue to pass on your good wishes to him, however he apologises that he may not reply.

Mum and Dad’s address details are:

8 Sheerwater Close
Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk
IP32 7HR

melsmith@rmplc.co.uk

Best wishes,
Andrew