Tom Hunt, 18, was on a European interrail with friends when he got a chest infection, felt exhausted and decided to fly home, only to get the shock diagnosis
A teen who thought he’d partied too much on an interrail trip was diagnosed with a terrifying diagnosis upon returning home.
Tom Hunt, then 18, thought he probably needed more sleep and less beer after exploring Europe by train with friends.
The student began to feel unwell when they stopped in Budapest, Hungary, and felt worse by the time they reached Prague, in the Czech Republic.
He developed chest and throat infections and felt extremely tired despite 16 hours of sleep, Manchester Evening News reports.
Tom decided to fly home early and was able to arrange a doctor’s appointment with his friend’s father, who was also his local GP.
He was given antibiotics and signed up for a blood test two days later after raising concerns about a large lump on his leg.Read:Smart Medical Textiles Market High Demand, Recent Trends, Future Growth, Analysis, Top Manufacturers and Forecast 2027
The results confirmed that the teen was suffering from mononucleosis, but to his horror, they also showed that he could have leukemia.
He was immediately referred to Manchester Royal Infirmary and by the end of the week was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Tom described his experience, saying: “From July of that year I felt tired when I went to work, but then I had just completed my A levels and it was nothing you wouldn’t write down as normal.
Tom Hunt WS)
“I went out with my friends and we were interrailing through Europe. In Budapest I started to feel quite sick, but I thought I should stop drinking and get some sleep, but in Prague I was just ridiculously sick.
“Normally I sleep about seven or eight hours and I slept 18 hours. I knew something wasn’t right. I struggled to eat anything because my throat was so sore.
“My lymph nodes were all in my neck, so I just booked a flight home.”
Tom said he was seen by the GP right after he got back.
“Luckily one of the guys I was on holiday with, his father was our local GP, so he saw me right away when I got back,” he said.
“He said it was just a sore throat and he should take antibiotics and everything would be fine.
“But while I was gone, I had crossed my legs as I was sleeping on the train for about three hours and I got a huge big bump.”
Tom was out with his mother when they ran into a knee surgeon and asked about the lump on Tom’s leg.
The surgeon advised that he should have it checked immediately, so Tom emailed the doctor again.
“He immediately emailed me back and said: come by tomorrow, I’m free at eleven, see you then,” said Tom.
“When he saw me again, he said ‘how are you feeling?’ and I said ‘much better, I don’t feel sick’ and I ate some more.
“He said ‘you still don’t look well and you look very pale, so I’ll take your blood and call you if there’s anything wrong.”
“So he did them and I needed two blood transfusions straight away. He said my platelets were fine, which he was surprised at, but my immune system just wasn’t there, so he told me to go straight to Manchester Royal Infirmary.”
Tom was hospitalized and was diagnosed with leukemia two days later.
He was then transferred to Christie Hospital in Manchester, where he stayed for another month for intensive treatment.
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Until April 2019, Tom underwent multiple blood and platelet transfusions and grueling chemotherapy.
He also had a seizure and had to surrender his driver’s license, which he was recently able to reapply for.
Four years after his ordeal, Tom has been in “morphological” remission since November 2018 and is preparing to start at the University of Manchester next month.
Thanks to the success of his treatment, which was formally completed in January, he can now return to the things he enjoys, such as the gym, hanging out with friends and preparing to start university next month.
Because he was diagnosed with cancer just a week after getting symptoms, he wants to encourage others to get checked out as soon as possible if something doesn’t feel right.
The six most common symptoms that all leukemia patients experience before diagnosis are fatigue, shortness of breath, fever or night sweats, bruising or bleeding, bone or joint pain, and repeated infections.