Diagnosis (Part 3)


It might sound strange but in some ways I was relieved when it became clear leukaemia was responsible for my symptoms.

When I was ill I did the one thing I promised myself I would never do - use the internet to diagnose what was wrong.

I had entered all my symptoms and, according to the world wide web, I had ME. In some respects I found the prospect of this condition even more distressing.

Anyway, in A&E the doctors quickly established that my heart and other major organs were OK with the exception of a considerably enlarged spleen and liver.

Admittedly I found this pretty alarming.

More armfuls of blood were taken leaving my veins like sieves, not a particularly enjoyable experience for someone who is a bit squeamish.

I was then transferred to the haematology ward at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

Typically leukaemia is relatively easy to diagnose, it can often be done within 24 hours, but my precise problem remained difficult for the doctors to get a handle on.

Looking back it must have been about three weeks before they were ready to begin treatment, in the meantime my illness was monitored and I received my first blood transfusions.

This is a strange experience. Imagine someone else's blood flowing slowly towards your arm. You can see the red getting ever closer and wonder what it's going to feel like, whose blood it is and reflect on how weird the whole concept is.

But then after the first bag is in you just feel so much better that you never have those feelings again - you just want more!

Those early weeks were difficult. Not knowing what is wrong with you is sometimes far worse than knowing the challenges you face.

I can remember walking around the ward and seeing lots of people with the distinctive hair loss that follows chemotherapy. I also saw lots of very ill patients. I had not really thought about leukaemia until I arrived on the ward.

On my strolls around, closer inspection revealed that paintings on the walls were all in memory of loved ones. Someone had also placed a copy of Psalm 23, the 'walk through the valley of the shadow of death' one, on one of the sides of the corridors.

I slowly realised that I could be in a pretty difficult situation.

Then, when one of the doctors was called away, I peered into the tray that had been left behind. There were several cards which had come back from blood test results. I nervously flicked through them. Each in turn simply said 'Leukaemia?'

Now I was bricking it.

Then the diagnosis finally came; I had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).


My first thought was why is Telly Savalas writing a blog?

However I soon recognised Adrian Sudbury's grinning face staring back at me - terrifying!

I worked with Sudders when he was diagnosed and it is fair to say he was down but, as always, was amazingly positive and showed a real sense of fortitude and dignity.

Even now, following a load of treatments, he is still the most upbeat man I've ever had the pleasure to meet - he makes me feel sick!

If you read this blog and don't know Sudders I think if you continue to read then you will get a sense of him - in short a really nice, fun loving and superb individual who is genuinely one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Enough fawning over the ill man!

This is my first experience of a blog.

Very insightlful, intersting and moving.

Keep up the good work Adie


Hello Adrian,

You don't really know me but we have met a couple of times - I'm a friend of Richard Porritt's (I get through it) and I've bumped into you a few times.

I won't harp on...

I started running - for fun would you believe - a year and a bit ago and have been thinking about entering some sort of event.

Anyway, I've signed up for one (in Leeds) and because of reading this blog I've decided to raise money for a Leukaemia charity.

I have no idea if I'll raise enough money to actually make a true contribution - but we'll see.

And by the way, nice to see a blog that's worth reading... !

All the very best, Gavin (Huddersfield)


Long time no see my friend. Ant told me about your blog, so I thought I have a little gander and leave ya a comment

Its a good read so far. Two bits stand out for me. Like you said the transfusion must have been weird, but I did read somewhere that Keith Richards has a blood transfusion every year and pays thousands for it so you know, you got it free. You gotta look on the upside!! And the bit about the warm lemon juice and honey!! Flipping useless. The beautiful British NHS system lives on.

Anyway, keep it up dude.

Ryan of Thatchamshire x

Yes Adrian is a truly remarkable young man. Brian and I have known him since he was knee high to a grasshopper. It was a joy to be in his company over Easter and typical of him he was wishing others all the best for their impending treatments .He is a star and we are writing this to let him know that we are hopefully bringing `Big Grama` into the 21st century by getting her to subscribe to his blog.

Lots of Love Uncle Brian and Aunty Lucy

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Adrian Sudbury published on April 2, 2007 12:00 PM.

How it all began (Part 2) was the previous entry in this blog.

Reaction (Part 4) is the next entry in this blog.

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