Back from the dead – the man given 48 hours to liveBy Victoria Corbett
October 25, 2010
When Nigel Rabbitts was given just 48 hours to live his family carried out the heartbreaking task of planning his funeral and prepared to say their goodbyes.
But the former Special Constable has stunned doctors by “miraculously” starting to recover from a terminal brain tumour.
And Mr Rabbitts’ baffling return to health is not the only good news for the family – his wife Pauline was given the all clear from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July.
Three months ago the dad of one, who works as a technician at Wokingham Motors, was bedridden at the Lynden Hill Clinic in Kiln Green and the family were preparing for the worst.
But Mr Rabbitts, 56, of Toutley Close, daughter Anna Shults and Mrs Rabbitts, 59, were stunned when doctors told them he had turned a corner and his brain tumour had become dormant.
Mrs Shults, who raised £3,000 for Cancer Research UK by running the Race for Life in Reading on July 17 in honour of her brave parents, said: “Dad had got to the stage where he had 48 hours left to live and we had planned his funeral, but he just started functioning again.
“They say his tumour has gone dormant and they do not know how long for. It might be forever or it might be for a week.
“He is now stationed in a hospital bed in the living room at home. Now he is having physiotherapy to get him back up and about and he wants to go back to work again and get on his motorbike again.”
Mr Rabbitts, who received a long service award from Thames Valley Police in May this year having spent 25 years as a Special Constable in the area, said: “About a month of my life is missing, I don’t have a memory from that time. I was not with it at all.
“I was so pleased to get home. The bit that is missing from my life, I probably would not have known anything from there on had I not started to get better.”
On the day he returned home in September, Mrs Rabbitts broke her arm. However, the family has been overwhelmed by the support from neighbours, family and friends who have pitched in with odd jobs and shopping and offered help.
Mr Rabbitts said: “Everyone has been very helpful. All our neighbours around here have been brilliant.”
Mrs Shults, who married in January this year and lives in Watford, said: “I didn’t believe it when I heard it to be honest.
“We asked the consultant to explain how it had happened and he said ‘I can’t explain it, all I can say is miracles can happen, this is a perfect case in front of us’.
“We can’t put his recovery down to anything in particular, it could be a combination of things like the positive thinking and strength of the people around him.
“Even towards what we thought was the end we were planning for what we would do when he came home, we wanted to be positive.”
Mr Rabbitts’ colleagues from Thames Valley Police and at Wokingham Motors have been wishing him well, with the force reporting on his recovery in its in-house magazine.
Mrs Shults added: “It’s been a rollercoaster year that’s for sure, but we are coming out the other side of it.
“I showed dad my Just Giving page for the Race for Life with all the comments and donations from people and he went ‘how am I going to pay them all back, they are going to think I was faking’.”
Now, Mr Rabbitts’ main aim is to become strong enough to attend Wokingham Winter Carnival on Sunday, November 28.
He said: “I’m going to the Winter Carnival, that’s what I’m aiming for. I just need to get myself back on my feet.”