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Balanced again after a stressful period

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Rachel de Keizer participated in BioCheck’s Vitality Program and found more balance and peace after a very drastic phase in the lives of herself and her partner.

She is twenty-four. An age when most people look ahead and make carefree plans for the future. Unfortunately, things are different for Rachel. Her husband Martijn, a young, fit and vital man, was diagnosed with acute leukemia two years ago. From one day to the next, their lives turned into a nightmare. No parties, but cancer treatments, uncertainty and fear. An incredibly difficult period. For Martijn, but also for Rachel. “We were on a rollercoaster.”

Panic attacks and palpitations

As a former top athlete (she played tennis at a high level from the age of seven), Rachel was used to giving everything. And so she continued. With her studies in Social Work and her job at a foundation for the homeless. And in the meantime, she supported Martijn during the intensive treatment process. That went fine, she thought. They even bought a house during that period and Rachel graduated. Then things went wrong. “I had panic attacks, suffered from palpitations and intestinal complaints and was constantly tired. But I thought I shouldn’t act like that. So I just kept going. Until one day I completely broke down and was crying with my parents.”

Nice conversations

Rachel realized something had to change. Her employer suggested she go to BioCheck. A month later she started the vitality program. “Mentally, I found it quite tough at first,” Rachel recalls. With the BioCheck program you work with a heart rate monitor and train based on your heart rate. “I found that very confrontational. I was constantly afraid that something would go wrong. That I would have palpitations or a panic attack. That heart rate belt became a kind of obsession for me.”

“The BioCheck employees knew better than anyone where my drive came from and reassured me”

Fortunately, they handled this very well at BioCheck. “I had a number of nice conversations with the BioCheck employees. Patrick van Luijk is a former top athlete himself, he and the BioCheck employees knew better than anyone where my drive came from and reassured me. They said that they would have noticed it a long time ago from the measurements if there had been something wrong with my heart. That helped enormously.”

Lie down until your heart rate returns to normal

The training program was of course effortless for sporty Rachel. She trained three times a week for 26 weeks; at BioCheck on the exercise bike and at home on the treadmill. The breathing exercises also did her a lot of good. The moments of rest were more difficult. “After training I had to lie down on a kind of lounger until my heart rate had dropped again. That always took a very long time for me. Relaxing was, no, is difficult for me, even now. But things are going much better. Learning that I can let it go, that I can and can relax, that is and remains a thing. I was in survival mode for far too long, you can’t just get rid of that tension.”

In addition to the training, there were also meetings with other participants in the BioCheck vitality program. “That was nice, you meet other people, even fellow sufferers, and it is nice to exchange experiences.”

Balance is the most important thing

Rachel has almost completed the program, but continues to do the breathing exercises and training afterwards. The biggest lesson she learned from participating in the BioCheck program? “That balance is the most important thing. Both at work and in your private life. I am quite a perfectionist, also because of my top sports history, and I always had to work harder and do my best. I am now aware that a little less is also good.”

Martijn is now doing better, although he remains vulnerable. What does the future look like? “It is and remains exciting, but we try to make the best of it. Martijn is retraining as a nurse after the summer. And I will also soon be starting with another employer. It feels like a new start. We hope we can make up some time in the coming years. Doing fun things, maybe going on holiday again, that kind of thing.”

“I am now aware that working a little less hard is also a good thing”


Platform for relatives of cancer patients

Rachel wanted to convert her experiences of recent years into something positive. “I want to support the loved ones of cancer patients. There will be an online platform where fellow sufferers can meet each other. And I want to fulfill a coaching role. For example, I recently recommended BioCheck to someone to stay balanced during difficult periods. She sent me a message afterwards that she had scheduled an intake interview, so nice!” Rachel’s project is called ‘Together Alone’. The Instagram account can already be viewed; On @samenalleen_ Rachel shares photos and stories about her life with Martijn and the fight against cancer.

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