I wonder if you’ll think it was worth it?” This was a question my best friend asked me as we chatted about the critical illness cover payment I received when cancer cast a shit shaped shadow over my life. I’ll be honest it was a question I had been asking myself from the moment the oncologist had confirmed cells in my right boob had mutated and were threatening to kill me. Would the operation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and what felt like a million needles be worth the insurance cheque? Would the work of beating cancer be worth the pay out?
Insurance was the one thing that jumped out of our bank statement every month and annoyed me. My husband and I disagreed about how much we should be spending on it every month. Having worked in the bank for 13 years he had been to the conference’s where they showed the value of life and critical illness insurance. For me this was scaremongering to talk you into parting with your hard earned cash for something you were unlikely to need. We actually almost reduced our cover because I thought we had too much only two years before my diagnosis.
You never think it is going to be you. You never expect to be facing a life-threatening disease when you are only 34 years old with two young children. The sad truth is there are more of us out there than you would expect. I know because so many people in their 20’s and 30’s have contacted me on my Instagram page. 10% of all new cases of cancer are people between the age of 25 – 49. This may not sound like a lot but that’s around 35,000 people every year in the UK and 23,333 of these are women.
Something that I am embarrassed to admit is that a teeny tiny little bit of me back then was excited by the promise of a cheque on the horizon. I would really like to go back and slap that version of myself across the face. She had no idea how fragile and broken she would feel after having an operation. She had no concept of the darkness that would come into her life during the hellish 120 hours in which she didn’t sleep after her first chemotherapy. She couldn’t comprehend how mortifying it would be lying topless on a radiotherapy machine while a male nurse lined up the lasers. She couldn’t have predicted the look on her children’s faces as she sobbed on the couch exhausted and defeated.
So the answer is no it was not worth it, I would give every penny of that money back not to have my heart lurch every time I hear a cancer advert. To never have to inject an implant into my stomach every month which shuts my ovaries down. I have worked hard to focus on the positives while fighting cancer and facing life after the battle because I could feel depression nipping at my ankles and I needed to get my head in the game to make sure I made it to the final whistle.
They are right when they say money can’t make you happy but It can make life a hell of a lot easier. Cancer was a hellish experience for all of my friends and family but having money worries taken out of the equation eased the pain.
So please, please, please look at your monthly budget and find money somewhere to get even a little bit of critical illness insurance and if you never need it, it will be the best investment you ever made.
Also important to know is that everyone (regardless of savings or household income) is entitled to benefits while fighting an illness that affects your day to day life. PIP (personal independence payment) and Employment and Support Allowance are two benefits you are likely to be entitled to if you are having cancer treatment. Macmillan will even help you fill in the paper work.