Check Up Syndrome

UnwellIt’s 2.42 a.m. I semi-rouse myself to go to the loo and when I return to bed I lie on the right hand side and there it is! The pain in my left breast stronger and deeper than ever!

It has been getting stronger for a while. I put my hand on the breast and breathe trying to soothe the pain and the panic. “Calm. Love. Heal” I repeat like a mantra as the stabbing sensations continue at an alarmingly uncomfortable level. I breathe and soothe for perhaps five minutes until gradually the spasms slow in frequency and the sharpness blunts. It goes but all hope of going back to sleep has flown as I face the spine-chilling possibility that the cancer is back. 

My acquaintance with cancer began in February 1992 when I was diagnosed with ‘incurable but treatable Follicular Lymphoma’.  Thus began a torrid time of gladiatorial chemotherapy, violent reactions, dramatic interventions and, on one occasion, an extraordinary return from a near death experience.  In 1997 it had become aggressive and I underwent a Stem Cell Transplant, relapsing less than a year later.  I was told that I’d had the limit of every chemo drug available except two.  I would be given the balance of those in an effort to extend my life but after that there was nothing left he could do except to promise me that he wouldn’t let me suffer. 

I decided I wasn’t ready to go and I wanted a miracle.

Cutting a long story short, my life has been blessed by an extraordinary series of unbelievable miracles and although I am still here both my oncologists and my ex-husband, who were all predicting my death, are gone.  

When you sign up for miracles you never read the small print.  The small print specifies that you also get a series of overwhelming challenges to test your commitment and facilitate your growth.   In my case these challenges included two further cancer diagnoses.  Both breast.  One Right (2014)  One Left (2017)  More miracles.

My MRI Is due. Is this just Check Up Syndrome? I identified it about eight years ago when that Lymphoma-Clinic-at-the-Marsden time of year came around. 

I hadn’t realised until I’d got the results that the tension had been ratcheting up tighter and tighter until I was strung up like a drum. So anxious I’d been, that I’d called to make my appointment before Christmas instead of in the New Year. It was all clear.  We went out for a coffee afterwards and for twenty minutes I sat and sighed compulsively. It was only then I realised that I had literally been holding my breath for weeks and, in my relief, it had just come rolling out in a series of huge sighs.

As a Health Creation Mentor with a clientele of mainly cancer patients I began to research others’ experiences and discovered that I was not alone. Many people identified strongly with Check-up Syndrome and other symptoms emerged causing many Ah-ha recognition moments, “Oh!  That’s part of it too…? Wow.”

Do you recognise Check-up Syndrome? 

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