The Punto is dead - long live the Vectra. Plus 5mg of steds a day and a more serious flare (Part 32)


I must begin this post with some more sad news.

My much loved N-reg Fiat Punto has died. I had come to think of it as the Herbie of the Leukaemia world.

Time of death 3pm Tuesday March 31 2008.

Location: M1 northbound just short of Wooley Edge services between junctions 38 and 39.

RIP little guy.


Of course my old car giving up the ghost wouldn't normally feature in my leukaemia blog but it's such a strange story I thought I had to include it.

My friends and family all knew the Punto well.

It had done the best part of 114,000 miles carrying me and many others all over the country.

Fans of this blog will recall me 'riding dirty' in my Punto on my road trip in November.

Despite much love for these wheels I'd been planning to get a new car for ages. I managed to save a bit of money last year and, along with some cash from the awards, I bought a 2005 Vauxhall Vectra.

The deal was done last week and the Punto was to be part exchanged - basically £75 for scrap.

So yesterday I finished my work for the Examiner and headed up the M1 to Dewsbury. About five miles into the journey I noticed the car was losing power.

I shifted down into fourth gear and managed to maintain a good 60mph.

Then smoke started to appear from the exhaust and I knew it was terminal.

My speed dropped again so I slammed it into third.

The engine screamed - so I turned the radio up. That didn't help. I was only about 15 miles away so if I could just keep going...

By this time I was doing 40mph and so much smoke was pouring out the rear that I was becoming a serious hazard.

Lorries were overtaking me but the final straw was one when a caravan sped by.

I spluttered onto the hard shoulder, opened the bonnet, only to be greeted by a huge amount of steam.

It was like something from a cartoon.

When it was safe I peered in again and engine oil was splattered everywhere. The head gasket had gone and there was no way it could have been fixed without incurring a huge bill.

It was almost like the Punto knew it was its last trip.

Anyway, I then had to get a breakdown crew to tow me to the garage in order to complete the part exchange.

For someone who has not had the best of luck recently I have to say that was incredible. The car was brilliant for pottering around Sheffield and had really served me well.

It will never be forgotten.

Anyway my new car is boss. It's so good being able to drive above 60mph and not be genuinely scared of dying in a horrific metal mangle.

It looks cool too and its got a CD player.

Anyway, enough of that.

My steroid dose is now down to 5mg a day (remember it was 165mg to begin with).

That's the sort of dose normal people are given if they have inflammation problems.

I've been at that dose for over a week now and am currently experiencing what I hope is a flare.

The skin on my body is fine but as you can see here my face is really red.


It's also still massive - why? Deflate, damn it! Come on!

Last night my stomach was unwell and I had the runs too. This was really worring because it could mean the graft versus host disease has spread to the stomach and gut.

Thankfully today it seems better so I'm less concerned.

My shins are quite itchy too.

There has been a flare at every steroid dose since 10mg and my skin has always come back under control.

I just hope it is the same this time.

On another note I found out today I didn't get that job.

If I was the editor it was exactly the same decision I would have made. I'm just unable to commit to the office hours.

I would have loved the job but this morning when I woke up shattered, bricking it and with a face hotter than my ex-Punto's head gasket, the last thing I would have wanted to do is drive to some conference or do a full day's work in an office environment.


hey adrian, it's been really helpful reading your blog. i can't believe the things you have had to go through. i never even knew graft versus host could come up at any time after, i thought it would be an immediate thing and then thats it, if u don't get it straight away then you wont.

it's been an inspiration. my boyfriend is actually having a stem cell transplant tomorrow april 2nd, in barts, london. things have been difficult watching him go from bubbly and lively last week to sleepy and miserable within such a short amount of time. it's hard to remain positive but i have to for his sake really.

he is 22 and this is the 2nd time he has had ALL, once before when he was 16. i have found it difficult to read your blogs at times thinking "oh my god, is this going to happen to my ross?" but i guess it is always better to be prepared. i have no idea what the future has in store and i do worry that i'm not strong enough. but i gota be really, not cos i 'have to be' and someone has told me to, but because love is an amazing thing that you'd do anything for. i wish you and poppy well with the wedding plans. i'll be back soon to let you know how things go for my boyfriend. i'l be up the hospital tomorro for the last TBI and then in go his brother's stem cells. it's meant to be a perfect match so fingers and toes crossed.

lots of love,

hayley xxxx

hi adrian ,
just wanted to say a quick hello coz i havent seen you for ages , working nights with the other helen this week , its just like old times except we havent got you here to keep us company :-(
hope you are keeping ya chin up matey , sorry to hear about your car .
hope to see ya soon ( but maybe in a pub instead of the hotel hallamshire )
lots of love 'n' hugs
super h xx

Ahh the Punto - my favourite story is when the fuel line broke and petrol was leaking into the carpets of said Spirito.
Sudders said "something's not right about this" and after driving with the chemically stench (the car not Sudders) for a month, he eventually went to a mechanic and was told he couldn't drive it or the chances were he would go up like Buncefield.
There aint no 5mg a day to sort that one out!
p.s I have a strange sensation of seeing myself pictured and talked about.
I feel like I have been outed (or as I prefer, been caught roasting with an unnamed Premiership footballer - not Crouchy though).
This once mighty bastion of faulty immune system journalism is now down there with the gutter press - I would call for the Editor's head, but there is little chance I could carry it without at least a wheelbarrow and/or a large dustbin lorry.

Dude the Punto pic is sad! I will be so gutted when my Micra finally gives out. The things that car has seen, lol.

Hey Adrian,
I don't see any red on your face, I only see the expression saying - what the f**k are you looking at!? hehe

Hello Adrian
I read your article in the Daily Mail today and have been thinking about you. Your illness is such a blow and you must wonder "why me?". My husband was diagnosed with pretty nasty bowel and and secondary cancer in the liver in Sept/Oct of last year and after two big ops is now approaching the end of his chemo, hoping that the dreaded remaining cancer cells have been zapped. He also is often so knackered.
You mention people saying about being knocked down by a bus and we have also heard that so many times! Guess People are just trying to say the right thing.

So sorry about your poor Fiat, he did look poorly, bless.

Please stay strong, and know that people care.


People do care Adrian,stay strong.

Dear Adrian,
Just wanted to say have just been reading your article in the Daily Mail, made me laugh and cry at the same time, only other writer that has had that effect on me is Jane Austen. Hope you are feeling OK today. Take care.

Hi Adrian,
I really enjoyed reading your article in the Daily Mail. So I've come on your blog to read some more. I hope your not feeling too bad today, the weather isn't putting a smile on anyone's face at the moment. All the best.

One afternoon, I was in the backyard hanging the laundry when an old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. But when I walked into the house, he followed me, sauntered down the hall and fell asleep in a corner. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out. The next day he was back. He resumed his position in the hallway and slept for an hour.
This continued for several weeks. Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap. "
The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: "He lives in a home with ten children - he's trying to catch up on his sleep."

I cried from laughter
Sorry, if not left a message on Rules.

Dear Adrian,
We were so sad to hear about your latest setback and can only imagine its impact upon you and your family. You have been so brave for so long and really deserve some better news soon. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Lynda (RAW) and your friends in Denby Dale.

Hi Adrian

Iv'e been reading all about you mate in the Mirror. My mum sadly died of acute myloid displasia (I think thats the correct spelling)at the age of 57 and I must honestly say that I feel robbed even all these years later. She was my mum, my best mate and a wonderful kind lady. Even when she was diagnosed with leukaemia she started fundrasing for the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London where she was being treated. She raised thousands and bought toys for the kids ward, a coffee machine in the waiting area for visitors and all sorts of other wonderful things. She managed to hang on for 4 long, painful years. I managed to juggle 2 very young kids, a full time job and daily visits to her right up until the end. The hospital was wonderful and let us stay overnite sometimes when she was unwell. Towards the end of her illness - so that she could spend as much time at home as possible 2 nurses who coincidentally lived local to her offered to give her platelets and blood transfusions at home which was totally voluntary - bless them for that. You are like my mum Adrian, a fighter, but there comes a time when enough is enough of the drugs and chemo. Get out there and enjoy as much as you can while you can. As for your Fiat Punto - hows this then - I have an N Reg Blue immaculate one sitting idle in my driveway. It only needs the sensors done which would hardly cost anything but everything else works perfectly and you are more than welcome to it love if someone could tow it to where you live. I live in sunny Bournemouth so the fresh air would be good for you. Keep up the fight for as long as you can but when you are ready you will know sweetheart and you will be in a better place. I know that my lovely mum is and she is happy I'm sure and my dad sadly passed away suddenly a couple of years ago and now they are together again.

Take care and I really am serious about the car if you want it. You have my email address so you can contact me if you want. It would be lovely to hear from you anyway.

Take care
Love Sharon Anderson, Bournemouth, Dorset

hey hun ,.... just saw your feature on the news tonight and came on to read your story...
ive nothing to say but wow.. your amazing.
tried searching for you on facebook so i could let you put put a face to me and my friends ..
if you have a facebook or a myspace page blog it so we can add you and send you things to make you laugh
lufs caroline ( sheff lass ) xxx

I've just read your blog - I'm a journo like you - and I'm not sure what I wanted to say really apart from the fact that you are inspirational in your attitude, and you have made me think about how special my family and friends are, and that I should donate blood or bone marrow - the point being it's very rare that, sitting day after day at my computer and taking in loads of information, I am actually inspired/moved/educated all in one go by one person. You have done that. Good luck Adrian, and I shall raise a pint you!!

Hi Adrian,
I saw you piece on breakfast telly and was just wondering if I could help in anyway. I was a bone marrow donor to a fab lady in Cardiff 23 years ago!! and we still keep in touch (this was before it was confidencial) She is well .
I would love to help your dream and if I can be of any help going into schools etc please please get in touch.
kind regards

Sara (Davies)

Adrian. I cannot overstate how moved and inspired I was by your appearance on 'Breakfast' yesterday.

I have been wondering what the world would be like if there were more people like you in it.

You are amazing!!!

I just wanted to tell you that eighteen years ago, yesterday, our son, Chris, died of acute myeloid leukaemia. He was seven.

The last months and weeks of his life were not easy but the incredible thing is that they were happy. We packed in as much as we could and did a lot of laughing. The house was often full of visitors but no-one was glum. Our doctor said our home was one of the happiest he had ever visited.

You must feel very proud to be doing such fantastic work. All I can think is that you, too, are packing in as much as possible and making a seismic difference.

You have touched the lives of many and we will never be the same again.

Thank you Adrian - one brilliant human being!!!

Love from Stella

I have just learned about your ongoing fight from your story on the computer. I especially love how you tell your story and the story of poor poor punto. At first I was starting to get teary eyed reading about you and your g/friend and then I come to the story about your car and and I am actually laughing out loud and wiping away tears at the same time. You have made my morning, I just wish I was able to make yours. I will be checking in on you and I want you to know that I am wishing you well.

So. California

Hello Adrian

I saw you on the telly the other morning and came to check out your website..

I decided that i would like to try and donate but unfortunatly found out that i cant as i had cancer. I was diagnosed last year at 26, but luckily i have been given the all clear..

I think its great to see people like you trying to do something and make a change.. I only wish i could have done more to help..

Im doing the race for life next week.. i have a web page set up if you want to take a look

take care... your very brave xxx

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Adrian Sudbury published on April 1, 2008 5:24 PM.

Graft versus Host flare and continued steroid taper (Part 31) was the previous entry in this blog.

Heart break is the next entry in this blog.

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