I was anxious that the cancer was going to come back

Beth Clyde


After Beth was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2020, her Teenage Cancer Trust team helped her get through it her during and after treatment, even supporting her to finish her university degree.

My life before cancer

Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was at university studying Zoology and working part time in Costa. I loved going out with my friends and going to the cinema, and I went to the gym three or four times a week.

Because I was always so active and busy, it hit me hard when I started getting ill as it contrasted a lot with my life before.

I was admitted to hospital in February 2020. A scan confirmed that I had Hodgkin lymphoma, and I started chemotherapy ten days later at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at The Beatson Hospital.

Beth Clyde during treatment

It was early March, and I was an inpatient, so I wasn’t seeing what was happening in the world first-hand. The staff were telling me about the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thought: ‘What on earth is going on?’ When I got out, everyone was wearing face masks and I felt like I had woken up in a virus movie like Contagion.

I was shielding, and I only left the house for chemo. The benefit of the pandemic was that I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t go out, but the downside was that I could only see my mum at home – no-one else could come to see me for support.

I also had to go through six months of treatment without my mum there as it was the height of the pandemic. After my first sessions as an inpatient, I was in for 10 hours at a time as a day case patient and the treatment was brutal. 

My nurse Kirsty and Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Support Coordinator at the time, Lisa, were amazing.

The Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kirsty, and Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Support Coordinator at the time, Lisa, were amazing. They were so friendly, and they helped get me through it.

Because my mum wasn’t there, they really stepped up and gave me the support that she might have done if she’d been allowed in.

Without my mum and other visitors, it would have been easy for me to feel isolated and alone because there weren’t many distractions. But Kirsty and Lisa would sit and chat to me and keep me company. Sometimes we talked about cancer and the treatment, but sometimes we just talked about day-to-day things which was really nice, and it helped take my mind off the treatment.

They both got to know me and remembered things that were important to me.

Getting the right support

My mental health was alright during the diagnosis and treatment; it was after my treatment ended that it got to me. I went from seeing the staff every week to not going in. It’s a big change as I was used to their reassurance.

Beth Clyde after treatment

I started suffering from anxiety that the cancer was going to come back. I’d gone through six months of treatment and I kept thinking I’d have to go through it all again. It’s crazy how much it was messing with my mind.

I’d been informed early on in my treatment that there was a psychologist called Nicola at The Beatson who I could talk to if I needed to. Because I’d formed a good relationship with Kirsty already, I spoke to her first and she put me in touch with Nicola.

I got on with Nicola straight away. I think it was a huge benefit that I was talking to someone who wasn’t emotionally involved, like my mum. It really helped that I felt comfortable with her as I was really able to open up about how I was feeling.

I told her about the anxiety I was experiencing and my constant fear that the cancer would return, and Nicola reassured me that it was normal for me to be having those feelings.

Beth Clyde at her graduation

I still have days when I am anxious, and I still use the techniques that Nicola taught me. It ensures that my anxiety doesn’t spiral.

I’ve finished my treatment now and I just go to hospital for check-ups. I managed to complete my degree while going through treatment and I got a 2.1. What I went through inspired me to pursue a career helping others. I’m doing a course in counselling, and if that goes well, I’ll do a Masters degree.

The experience will never leave me, but now it has a special place in my heart. It’s made me stronger and more confident, and I’m able to look to the future and think about what I want to do with my life.

Beth Clyde in hospital.

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