07:56AM, Thursday 10 October 2013
A determined 23-year-old has been nicknamed 'miracle man' after a summer of cancer hell that nearly killed him on three separate occasions.
Tom Twitchen's family were called to his bedside as medical experts feared the worst and he now holds the record at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading for losing the most amount of blood and surviving.
The former pupil at Altwood School, an employee at Marks & Spencer in Maidenhead High Street alongside his mum Trudie, was diagnosed with Extranodal NK/T Cell Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, on Friday, July 26.
The diagnosis was made when Tom was rushed to the hospital in Reading with an extreme nose bleed, which followed months of throat and sinus trouble.
A CT scan showed a main artery in his neck had 'rotted away' and doctors were amazed he survived the massive bleed.
After being transferred to the cancer ward, his family were called to the hospital as staff feared he may have had only hours to live after serious setbacks.
Tom, from Blenheim Road, was then transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where doctors successfully fitted a stent to support the artery and he was allowed to return home.
As his condition stabilised, Tom undertook three weeks of chemotherapy in Reading but an infection caused another major bleed which saw him transferred between four hospitals in 48 hours.
At one critical stage of his illness a doctor had to push his hand inside Tom's neck to close the artery by hand.
Experts were astounded when Tom's artery later clotted itself, despite the major rupture, and kept him alive.
Tom, who survived on 13 packets of Space Raiders and Monster Munch pickled onion crisps a day during the treatment, has now been home for nearly a month having completed a second bout of chemotherapy.
He was told last week the cancer is in complete remission.
The laid-back patient said he was the least emotional of all his family and friends.
"I didn't worry about anything," he said. "The way I saw it, they (the hospital staff) knew what they were doing.
"I'm not worried about tomorrow. I take it each day, that's all that matters."
Mum Trudie was told by his consultant her son's survival was a 'miracle'.
"They said a different hospital, a different team or a different time and he wouldn't have made it," she said.
"They didn't expect him to survive one bleed, let alone three.
"All our family and friends and the staff at the hospitals have been unbelievable."
Tom will now begin four weeks of radiotherapy to complete the cycle of treatment.