"I am Peter Chesterfield. I am 50 years old and for many years I had a successful acting career that was cut short by ME.
In March 2004 I experienced pains and in May I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I had two operations, the second involving major surgery. But on Monday 8 November my doctor gave me no more than three months to live. I am in great pain, and this increases daily, despite the fact I take significant amounts of pain relief. I do not want to die in pain, but despite my condition, the law prevents a doctor from helping me to die at my request.
When I first raised the subject of suicide with my medical team they referred me to a counsellor, who concluded that I was as sane as him, and sympathised with my wish to have a gentle death.
My current regime leaves me bed-bound for the majority of the time. The bladder cancer has now spread to my lungs and is blocking my kidneys. My cancer is terminal. My pain is great and constant. I am afraid of dying in pain, at an unknown time, and probably alone. Why does the British law impose such tragedy and injustice on human beings?
My doctors and surgeons cannot help me to die at my request. They could be charged with murder, even if it were clear they were acting at my request. Only with a law that allows a patient to have a choice and to express this within a properly safeguarded system will we allow true human justice and dignity. A terminally ill, mentally competent patient like me should not be forced to suffer. This is as morally unacceptable as murder."
Peter Chesterfield died of cancer on the 11th February 2005
The accounts made in the personal stories section of the Dignity in Dying website reflect the views of the authors. The views of Dignity in Dying may differ. For Dignity in Dying's mission please go to: http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/about.html
Should you want to contact any of the people featured in these pages, or wish to share your own story with us, please contact Jo Cartwright:
020 7479 7737 or 07725 433 025