Shifting gears: Open

Here’s another little part of my life that I felt was important to share. It’s a new discovery for me. While I have been loving every day in the past several weeks I have done two significant things: move out of my dad’s house (again) and buy a car.

Those two simple but fairly major acts have been the spark for this discovery. Specifically my feelings of a relapse, possible treatments, the costs of those treatments and my awareness of the fact that I have been saving most of my money to allow me to potentially have some greater options should my Leukemia return are the core of my discovery.

Some background. With my first transplant, getting to 100 days was really important–as it was with my second transplant– and then after the 100 days it was a day to day approach but kind of focusing on getting to the two year mark. I was told the first time out that getting to the two-year mark meant my risk for relapse would drop significantly. Obviously it didn’t drop enough as it was literally that same week of my two-year anniversary that my blood counts started to drop.

Shortly after my relapse I began to investigate having another transplant and learned that the fact I made it to my two-year anniversary was a major plus and influence in my docs recommending another transplant. For the past two years I have been in a similar state but also very different. Still day to day, working on it one step at a time. However the two-year mark has never been painted in the same light as it was first time. I have made it here nonetheless and it feels good.

But another big influence on my mindset, and I’ve discovered on my financial mindset, has been the fact that if I hadn’t made it to this point I very possibly would not have had further treatment options in Canada if I were to relapse for a second time. Our healthcare system is many things, which I will someday speak very openly about, but I was told that if my Leukemia were to come back quickly after my second transplant, I most definitely wouldn’t have solid treatment options in Canada. That belief led me to the understanding that if my Leukemia were to come back, it would take considerable financial resources for me to pursue any viable treatment options. I have taken comfort from my approach to my finances and had few major distractions. However in the past number of weeks specifically I have learned that perhaps my comfort was not what it seemed.

Without question I have been working through some real fear about the idea of spending the money I make. I’m not talking about going out to dinner or the daily things, but I’m talking about bigger things, specifically those bigger things that can never be considered investments (cars, trips, clothes, etc). I guess what I’m saying is that I have discovered that there has been a part of me that I don’t feel has been fulfilling that motto I leave you all with every time I write. There has been a part of me that has been concerned, cautious, afraid even, to live as I really want in an effort to save financial resources so that if I did get sick again I would possibly have one or many additional options for treatment. I’m not only talking about worst-case scenario here–relapse–I am about to turn 28 in November and in addition to being the anniversary of my birth it will also be the three-year anniversary of my absence of medical insurance.

I have worked through this whole second cancer challenge without any medical insurance, and I have little chance of getting any for another three years at least and even then it’s probably not a viable option. What that means is if I encounter the “wrong” complication even, it can cost a lot of money. Something I am acutely aware of from my first challenge. This combination of experience and knowledge has contributed to my mental state and in the past few weeks, without intending to, I have been challenging that mental state. It has been interesting, and a healthy process for me I feel.

While I can assure you that I have comfort right to my core with the possibility of a relapse, what I have always wanted is options. Sometimes I have had great difficulty choosing between options but I have always felt that at least I had the ability to choose my treatment. And it was a fear of mine that I would someday find myself in a position where my choices were significantly limited due to financial resources. That is something I am continuing to work through, it’s a process like most things but for me awareness of the issue is the key step. And I now have that.Another piece of my world that I wanted to share. Sorry it took so long, been having some computer issues that I hope will be over soon! If you receive this more than once I apologize.

Always…
Live life. Love life.

Geoff

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