This year's flu season is more severe than normal. At the start of the year, it was estimated that more than 40,000 Americans died from flu-related complications, and as of this week, 114 of them were children.
To avoid being a statistic, more people have been visiting a doctor when they start to exhibit symptoms like fever, chills, stuffy nose, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Last November, 16-year-old Hunter Brady was among those who did not waste time in getting checked by a doctor as soon he noticed that he was feeling abnormally tired and had trouble breathing well. He was advised to take medication and let the virus run its course.
Most people who don't have underlying health problems will start to feel better after a week of two of fighting the flu, but for the teenager from Tampa, Florida, his condition worsened.
He had to be rushed to the emergency room when he showed no signs of progress. That's when everything changed for Hunter and his family.
Doctors found that his right lung had collapsed and 30% of his left lung was already collapsed. Hunter was treated, but had to undergo a series of tests to determine what could've caused such a serious problem.
In January, doctors delivered the dreaded news: Hunter had stage 4 cancer.
The teen was diagnosed with stage IVB Hodgkin lymphoma, and has since underwent a number of treatment procedures, including "a blood transfusion, a bone marrow biopsy, and surgeries to drain the fluid from his lungs and heart," according to WFTS-TV.
Symptoms of this form of cancer, include swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, and night sweats. According to the American Cancer Society, people with type B will also experience coughing, fatigue, body aches, and have trouble breathing when the lymph nodes in the chest are affected. This is why Hunter's pediatrician mistook the cancer for Influenza.
Of course, the diagnosis came as a shock to Hunter, his family and friends, but they've been doing their best to support him during this difficult time.
Many of them have shaved their heads in solidarity, and his friends were quick to stand up for him when a bully responded to one his Instagram posts saying "you deserve to die."
“I told him I really didn’t care what he said... I really don’t,” Hunter said of the bully. “He doesn’t know how it feels. So, when he does, he’ll realize and then he’ll feel bad. I hope he does feel bad.”
They're also raising money for his medical expenses via YouCaring. "Everybody else's support helped me get this far. Without them, I don't know where I'd be," Hunter told WFTS-TV. "I just know I gotta keep staying strong."
The five-year survival rate for the B form of Hodgkin lymphoma is about 65%, so Hunter will need to undergo intense and complicated treatment to get rid of the cancer. The youth has been in and out of hospital over the last few weeks as he completes more rounds of chemotherapy.
Our thoughts are with you, Hunter. We're wishing Hunter a speedy recovery!
Have you ever been misdiagnosed by a doctor? Let us know!