Friday, 3 April 2015

The Cost Of Cancer

It's been just over a week since my treatment ended and I'm slowly starting to feel human again. I've even been out and about over the last few days to the pub quiz, the local spoons and Cardiff for an afternoon, although I haven't braved a pint yet as I think I've probably given my liver enough of a tuning over the last few weeks. I'm aiming to complete a gym session of some description on Monday though to start reversing the muscle loss that has occurred over the last 7 weeks, but as I have until May 1st to do so I'm not really hoping for much.

Now I'm more lively I've been thinking back over the financial impacts the last few months have had on me and my family, as well as the ways we've been able to get help with this. The first and perhaps most obvious impact is my inability to work, which obviously means a drastic reduction in my income. I'm currently receiving Statutory Sick Pay which is set by the government at £87.55 per week. When you couple this with the fact that my parents only receive one state pension between them it means there is very little money coming into the house each month.

Luckily the only bill I have left since moving home is around £40 a month for my phone so I'm not tied into rent or anything else expensive. Unfortunately this has proven to be expensive in other ways such as petrol to travel back and fore to treatment and an increase in all bills at my parents house due to the extra person. As an example the journey to Cardiff for treatment was costing around £60 a week, in a way it was lucky my appetite was restricting me to a few slices of bread and some cucumber a day or I would have been topping that up with vast expenses on travelling snacks as well.

Fortunately I had been saving roughly 10% of my wages since I started work and as such had a bit of a cushion that meant I didn't have to worry much about finances throughout this. As well as this, charities such as Macmillan and Clic Sargent are able to provide some financial assistance to cover these extra costs. The main advantage of these charity cheques is that I was able to pay for petrol etc out of that money and hold onto the majority of my savings.

To summarise, I'm ridiculously glad I was sensible enough to save some money for a rainy day 'cos it's pretty much been pissing down since January 6th, but even if I hadn't there is plenty of help available from charities as well as the many people that have donated money to help us through, for which I'll be eternally grateful.

Now I'm into my gap between treatments I have been able to use that savings money to follow the instructions I've had from many people who have been through this before: "Get away for a few days as soon as you feel fit enough". So with this in mind I've managed to book 4 days in Portugal towards the end of the month for my brother and I. The only issue is going to be keeping my ridiculous half bald head covered up for the duration (well that and the fact it's bound to rain knowing my luck recently).

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