Student who put his tiredness down to partying too much gets a devastating diagnosis
A teenager who thought he had partied too much during an interrail trip was struck with a terrifying diagnosis when he returned home.
Tom Hunt, then 18, thought he probably needed more sleep and less beer after exploring Europe by train with friends.
The student started feeling unwell when they stopped off in Budapest, Hungary, and felt worse by the time they reached Prague, in the Czech Republic.
He started suffering from a chest and throat infection and felt exceptionally tired, despite having 16 hours of sleep, reports Manchester Evening News.
Tom decided to fly home early and was able to book a doctor’s appointment with his friend’s dad, who was also his local GP.
He was given antibiotics and booked in for a blood test two days later after raising concerns about a large lump on his leg.
The results confirmed that the teenager was suffering with glandular fever, but to his shock, they also showed that he could have leukaemia.
He was immediately referred to Manchester Royal Infirmary and diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia by the end of the week.
Describing his experience, Tom said: “From the July that year I had been feeling tired when I was going to work but then I’d just finished my A-levels and it was nothing you wouldn’t put down as normal.
“I went away with my mates and we were interrailing around Europe. In Budapest, I started feeling quite ill but powered on thinking I needed to stop drinking and sleep a bit more but in Prague I was just ridiculously ill.
“I normally sleep about seven or eight hours and I was sleeping 18 hours. I knew something wasn’t right. I was struggling to eat anything because my throat was so sore.
“My lymph nodes were all up down my neck so I just booked a flight home.”
Tom said he was seen by the GP straight after he got back.
“Luckily one of the lads I was on holiday with, his dad is our local GP so he saw me straight away when I got back,” he said.
“He said it was just a throat infection and to take antibiotics and it should all be okay.
“But whilst I was away I’d crossed my legs while I was on the train asleep for like three hours and I got a massive big lump.”
Tom was out with his mum when they bumped into a knee surgeon and asked about the lump on Tom’s leg.
The surgeon advised he needed to get it checked immediately so Tom emailed the doctor again.
“He emailed me straight back and said pop in again tomorrow I’m free at 11, see me then,” Tom said.
“When he saw me again, he said ‘how are you feeling?’ and I said ‘a lot better I don’t feel ill’ and I was eating a bit more.
“He said ‘you still don’t look right and you look very pale so I’ll do your blood and I’ll call you if there’s anything wrong.’
“So he did them and I needed two blood transfusions straight away. He said my platelets were alright which he was surprised about but my immune system, there just wasn’t one, so he told me to get straight to Manchester Royal Infirmary.”
Tom was admitted to hospital and told he had leukaemia two days later.
He was then moved to the Christie Hospital in Manchester where he stayed for another month for intensive treatment.
Until April 2019, Tom underwent multiple blood and platelet transfusions and gruelling chemotherapy.
He also suffered a seizure and had to surrender his driving licence, which he has recently been able to reapply for.
Four years on from his ordeal, Tom has been in “morphological” remission since November 2018 and is preparing to start at the University of Manchester next month.