The B Word


The relief is incredible.

It has been a week after having my easy bake oven removed in quite the unexpected hysterectomy. I am now on bedrest, able to breathe and collecting my thoughts over the week that was and catching up with my Real Housewives friends of the OC variety. Fortunately, there was nothing insidious in my results, and after a few weeks, I should be back on the paddleboard board minus some core muscles.

The last week’s wait has highlighted that I need to get my houses in order, physical and metaphorical. I don’t have a current will, life insurance has been on a to-do list since Luke Perry was a boy and while I have the financials kind of organised thanks to the Barefoot Investor and my Mojo savings account. I really should have been in a better position for an emergency where I won’t be able to attend work for a period .20/20 hindsight.

I share my home with my teenage daughter who also has a history of chronic illness, and despite having the same employer for five years, my leave is eaten up with illness either for my flares or hers, her appointments or mine. Just like Lunch Money Lewis; I got bills I gotta pay. When I decided to go on this journey solo and leave my marriage with an illness, I was very future focused. I have bought my small retirement home first and will be renovating it for accessibility. I study in an area that will give more flexible work arrangements. However, I have projected so far into the future that I haven’t set up my back up plans, for now, next week or next year.

A Sociomedical Profile of Rheumatoid Arthritis states that “Work disability appears to be the most important sociomedical impact of rheumatoid arthritis since it is associated with significantly greater income and psychosocial losses.” While I am still very mobile and my pain and inflammation is being managed, in the last year alone I have required three separate MRIs, brain, pelvis and spine. Countless imaging appointments. A handful of CT guided injections. Regular and emergency appointments with rheumatologist and GP, a trip to Emergency – thankfully not via ambulance. When you combine this with my daughter’s unrelated chronic illness, appointments, school absences, medical tests and surgery my leave entitlements are eaten faster than cookies by the Cookie Monster. Nom nom nom nom. And of course, these all cost money. I have fortunately located a bulk billing imaging centre that also can administer injections. Thank you, Medicare! While I do get a reasonable amount back from private health and Medicare gap payments, bar MRI’s it really adds up. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have holidays accrued as I can’t afford them anyway!

However, I can get smarter, comparing life insurance and health insurance, early access to superannuation, saving more effectively, I have tools and resources. Fortunately, I have four weeks rest giving me plenty of time! This un-regularly scheduled health issue may have been brought to me by my uterus, not my joints. But as a spoonie. I should have been more prepared.

Jack Canfield

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