A Christmas Update

Boxing Day 2011, I am visiting dad again and he has asked me to update you on his progress. For the past few months he has been taking the chemo pills every few weeks and has made some progress although he is mostly housebound. He has noticed some weakening recently, but the doctors have said they feel this may be because he's had "too much chemo." Time will tell whether he will get better or worse, but at least we've had Christmas together as a family.

Dad has a wheelchair if he does go out and is able to walk small distances with a walking stick, but he's fortunate to have my brother here to look after him as well as my sister and his girlfriend. He is grateful for all the kind comments people have made over the past few months.

Making History - Radio 4

We've had a request from a gentleman at the BBC to use some of Harry's letters in a radio 4 programme following up a listener’s search for information about her grandfather’s war service in Italy in 1918.

It will be aired on BBC radio 4 on Tuesday 23rd August at 3pm.

Hope you can tune in


4th August - DIY chemo

Dad has asked me to remove posts relating to his illness - after his prior insistence that every step be documented, he has now decided it is too personal for him so I have taken down all the posts except for the first two.

As things stand, he is at home and is taken what he called DIY chemo (vomit in the comfort of your own home). We have everything crossed that this will help, but for now, there won't be any more updates unless I have something important to pass on.

Thank you again for your kindness and support


Every day is a battle

Dad was released from hospital on Friday, on the condition that he has 24 hour care organised at home.

We have carers that come in every morning and every evening to get him out and put him to bed and a nurse to check up every day. He's incredibly stubborn and so is determined to come downstairs every day to the living room, but the toilet is upstairs so it means a rather scary ascent of the stairs. He's still dizzy and wobbly and incredibly weak.

Dad is of the opinion that his first dose of chemo hasn't made any difference, but I disagree - he seems a bit more stable and sometimes his speech is a lot better (it comes and goes), but I imagine sitting around all day drinking coffee from a sippy cup can't exactly feel like 'much better'.

He's back in hospital on Wednesday to see if he's any better and then he'll have chemo again a week after for another dose (I think).

He says I have to add "thank you for all the support and messages from all my readers - it has been a great comfort in a difficult time, as you can imagine"

An update

Sorry to hijack this blog, but after all of the lovely comments from readers I felt it was important to update you all on what was going on.

After some more inconclusive tests, the doctor down in Cornwall decided that it was better to start dad on chemotherapy ASAP, because he has been so weak they changed from their original plan of one type of chemo, a few weeks break then the other, to just giving him both types at once in order to get him on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

He started the chemo on Friday evening and I believe finished it yesterday or Monday. I spoke to him yesterday and although he complained of feeling no better, and that everything they gave him tasted funny, even the water, he sounded much more like his old self (he wouldn't believe me though!). After several weeks of struggling to understand him on the phone, he finally sounded much clearer again.

He's hoping to be out of hospital on Friday or Saturday, but it depends how his immune copes, and hopefully he'll be able to update you on his progress himself, but we'll have to wait and see.

Thank you again for all your kind words, it has meant a lot to all of us to know that so many people care.


Harry Lamin 1921-1961

Written by Catherine, Bill's daughter:
After the war Harry went back to work at the lace factory. At this point Dad draws on his own memories of Harry. He describes remembering staying with him with his sister Anita and sharing a double bed, the smell of pipe smoke and playing with his hammer shot gun (a perfect toy for a 6 year old).

Anita recalls a Sunday afternoon where her grandfather woke up screaming with nightmares from the war. His mother claimed that Ethel had burnt all of Harry's letters, but fortunately it was only her own letters that she destroyed.

Dad's memories of his grandparents are rather vague since it was 40 years ago that his grandfather died, but he recalls walking to the gasworks for coke (for the fire) and lemonade from the little corner shop, which was a special treat that wasn't allowed at home. He says that in childhood every Sunday his grandparents would visit with fruit gums, pastilles and a bar of chocolate, items that had been rationed and so were still considered a big treat (Dad just asked whatever happened to Fry's 5 Boys Milk Chocolate?). He would walk to his grandparents house after school, as it was only a little bit further then going home.

Harry often frequented the horse racing, which his wife did not approve of, he went to Southall on the other side of Nottingham. Dad says that he doesn't recall if Harry ever particularly won, and as a child he is sure that any significant losses would have been kept from him.

One of the more interesting stories describes the move to Gordon Street from Mill Street. Harry was reluctant to move house, possibly because his home was one place where he felt safe after everything he had been through, so one day Ethel moved everything to his new home while he was at work. From Gordon Street, Dad recalls watching football out of the window, which is perhaps where his love of the game came from.

Even now, while struggling with his illness, Dad has said repeatedly that his grandad is a huge inspiration to him, while in hospital he said that one thing that kept him going was thinking about all the things Harry went through and yet remained strong.

I would like to finish with a quote from the book, made more poignant by the fact that whenever Dad has felt particularly unwell he has echoed his own grandfather's words:

"Harry retired at sixty-five in 1952, and lived until 1961, when he died peacefully at home. My mother, telling me of his death, reported that he said, 'I've had a good life'"

Apologies and Sad News

Dear all,

This is my first post on my father's blog. He has asked me to write to you all to update you with what's been going on for the last few months. As you have no doubt noticed, there has not been an update to the blog for a number of months; sadly this is because shortly after his father's death, Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After a lot of trips to various hospitals he has been increasingly unwell and now struggles with the most simple things whilst remaining completely fine mentally so that he can't walk or talk some days, and he struggles to read and type, but he wants to be able to do everything and he can't. Obviously he is finding things very hard, but we remain optimistic about the future. In the last two weeks he has had a biopsy and although the results have come back as inconclusive, the samples have been sent to London for further examination. It is thought that he has a small tumour, but it is surround by lots of inflammed tissue which can be reduced by steriods, but that further treatment is required to get rid of the source of the problem; he is seeing a haemotologist on Monday to consider treatment options such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Unfortunately, during the biopsy there was a small amount of bleeding which has meant that he has lost all sense of balance and so is now struggling even more to be mobile.

Dad and I would both like to apologise for not updating the blog sooner in the year and we aim to work together to get as much written as we can both of Harry's journey and of Dad's own journey through this illness.

I thank you once again for taking an interest in our family's history,

(Bill's middle child)