Teen’s ‘pulled muscle’ turned out to be deadly cancer
It almost turned into a death lift.
A UK gym shark who thought he pulled a muscle during exercise was stunned to discover the lump was actually a cancerous mass.
“The lump was quite large and about the size of an apple,” Thomas Evans, 18, told Kennedy News about the tumor.
The exercise enthusiast, who hails from Wrexham, Wales, had noticed a painful lump the size of an apple after a weight training session in June, but initially thought it was just a ‘gym injury’.
“I went to the gym and two days later I woke up with a big lump on my shoulder and it was causing me really bad pain,” Evans said. “I thought it was just a pulled muscle or something and it wasn’t.”
“She [the diagnosis] it’s a strange moment to describe because it didn’t hit me right away, it was a little later,” recalls Thomas Evans. Kennedy News and Media
Although his tantrum seemed harmless, the Welsh boy’s worried mother Rachael Tudor took her son to the doctor. They then referred him for shoulder and chest X-rays, and eventually a CT scan, which revealed something wrong.
While Tudor also initially thought her gym-addicted son had just damaged something, she was alarmed when “he got a letter in the post to come in to discuss his results.”
“I immediately knew something was wrong,” said the distraught hospital technician, who later learned the “severe news” that her pride and joy had a “punch-sized lump in her chest.”
“He went straight for blood tests and a biopsy to see what exactly it was and we were faced with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or testicular cancer,” she lamented. “We came home and cried for two weeks waiting for the test results.”
The cancerous mass in Evans’ chest had caused the lump to appear on his collarbone. Kennedy News and Media Evans with girlfriend Morgan, 19. Kennedy News and Media
She added, “It was the most terrifying two weeks of our lives, as the crippling anxiety of what we were facing on Earth was terrible.”
Their worst fears were confirmed in July, when doctors diagnosed Evans with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which plays a role in the body’s immune function. The disease causes white blood cells, also called lymphocytes, to grow out of control, causing swollen lymph nodes and tumors throughout the body.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in adolescents ages 15 to 19, according to Cancer.org.
The teenager was shocked by the news. “She [the diagnosis] it’s a weird moment to describe because it didn’t hit me right away, it was a little later,” he recalls. “When I was first told there was ‘something there’ it was a shock, but when they said what it actually was, I knew what it was going to be, I had a feeling.”
“Getting the news that your son has a lump the size of a fist in his chest is something no parent wants to hear, it was heartbreaking,” said mum Rachael Tudor, 38 (right). Kennedy News and Media
Evans’ case was particularly difficult to diagnose as he showed no symptoms other than the collarbone lump – seen on accompanying X-rays – which was caused by the chest mass. However, doctors believe he caught the tumor early after it had formed earlier in the year.
To combat the disease, the aspiring electrician began chemotherapy in September, Kennedy reported. Salvation came five weeks ago after his scans revealed he was cancer-free, but he still “decided to have the treatment until the end of February just to make sure it was gone everywhere”.
While he could have tested without the cancer, Evans said the chemotherapy took its toll on his body. “I had to take a year out of college and stop working and being able to go out is a lot harder now because I’m at a higher risk of infections,” he said. “I get tired very easily walking around and just doing normal things, especially closer to when I’ve had the treatment as well.”
Evans had initially chalked it up to a pulled muscle. Kennedy News and Media
In addition, chemotherapy has made Evans more susceptible to immune disorders. “Thomas has ended up in the hospital several times badly with neutropenic sepsis and the worry of him getting infected has been our main concern this time of year,” his mother said.
Despite the setbacks, Tudor said she’s happy “he’s on the right track and doing well,” adding that she’s “very proud of him and how he’s done.”
She even set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds so her son and girlfriend Morgan can take a vacation to celebrate the end of treatment. They intend to donate the rest to a charity that helps lymphoma sufferers.
Evans with his mother Rachael Tudor and sister Ava Tudor, 11. Kennedy News and Media
In light of his epic saga, Evans is warning the public not to ignore even seemingly innocuous symptoms.
“I would tell others who have symptoms to go and get checked because I didn’t know, I just hurt myself, otherwise I wouldn’t know yet,” he said.