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Young West Suffolk Hospital worker left with 'ticking time bomb' after cancer caused life-threatening heart condition




A young Suffolk hospital worker has revealed how she was 'walking around with a ticking time bomb' inside her after cancer left her with a life-threatening heart condition.

Bethan Goodey, 26, was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma after a routine x-ray for a persistent cough found a 10cm tumour in her chest was causing fluid to build up around her heart .

The assistant practitioner at West Suffolk Hospital worked 12 hour shifts, lifting patients and heavy equipment, and was unaware of the massive strain she was putting on her heart which could have seen her go into cardiac arrest at any moment.

Bethan Goodey, 26, of Bury St Edmunds, said cancer left her with a 'ticking time bomb' heart condition
Bethan Goodey, 26, of Bury St Edmunds, said cancer left her with a 'ticking time bomb' heart condition

Bethan, of Bury St Edmunds, was told during a hospital scan not to get up or move at the risk of her heart failing and she was placed under close supervision until she was strong enough for life-saving surgery.

She is highlighting the treatment she received and is encouraging people to sign up for Cancer Research UK's Walk All Over Cancer campaign to walk 10,000 steps every day in March to support the charity.

Bethan said: "I’m very lucky to be alive as I was walking around with a ticking time bomb inside me. It’s so scary when I think how close I was to dying and I had no idea."

Bethan Goodey during treatment
Bethan Goodey during treatment

She was later diagnosed with cancer in her lymph nodes, back, shoulder and chest.

Bethan said she had been ill for a number of years before her cancer diagnosis and her friends thought she had an eating disorder after her weight plummeted to 47kg, forcing her to wear children's clothes.

"It took five years for a diagnosis because no one believed how ill I was because of my age," she said.

Following her illness, Bethan is facing the possibility that she might not be able to have children, which she described as a 'huge crushing loss'.

Bethan Goodey pictured on the second time her hair started to grow back
Bethan Goodey pictured on the second time her hair started to grow back

After close to 100 days in hospital, six rounds of chemotherapy over seven months and losing her hair twice, she was told on her 27th birthday at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that she was in remission.

She said: "I thought I would be surrounded by family and friends, not shut in a blue tinted room, being told by someone in a mask and gown.

"I felt frustrated that I didn’t feel happy, when I thought I should be. I am still processing the news and everything that happened in the last year.

Bethan Goodey on her 27th birthday when she was told she was in remission
Bethan Goodey on her 27th birthday when she was told she was in remission

"Cancer can be a lonely place and the best way to beat it is together.

"Each day I process a little bit more and I am still waiting to celebrate finishing treatment, being in remission, Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday -what a party that is going to be."

To sign up and receive a free fund-raising pack, with tips and ideas to help with the challenge, visit cruk.org/walkallover.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

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