I remember being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and being told I wasn’t able to work. I laughed in the doctor’s face and said of course I’ll work. A month later, I was off work for nine months. I didn’t know what I’d do. I lived in rented accommodation and my family lived up north, so I couldn’t go and live with them. I had a flat near my hospital and if I had to move, it would mean I couldn’t get to my hospital easily or might have to have treatment elsewhere.
Luckily I had a guardian angel, a wonderful person who at that time I had never met. They set up a fundraiser and that was a great help. Macmillan provided a grant and helped with wigs at the hospital, as well as giving advice on benefits.
My husband was my rock as he was there for me throughout. He put every penny he had towards the flat, moved in to help look after me and drove me daily to the hospital. His work were so understanding and he was able to work flexible hours around my treatment.
I’ve now been cancer free for five years and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to have a baby. I haven’t experienced any long-term side effects, except probably anxiety. Having cancer perhaps doesn’t mean physical side effects to everyone, but the mental ones will stay with me forever.
In all honesty, I wish I had known about all the types of support available from Macmillan. It is such a whirlwind when you’re diagnosed, but you do need to stay positive and stay practical. Don’t ever let this awful disease beat you. There are so many fantastic organisations, like Macmillan, that offer help.
Laura on travel insurance
I had three holidays planned, which I had to cancel in order to go through treatment following diagnosis. After I’d finished treatment, I was quoted thousands for travel insurance. Because of this, for about two to three years after treatment, I travelled without insurance. After what I’d been through, I lived to go on holiday. If you pay for travel insurance, you really have to read the small print as even if they claim to cover you, they might not if the insurers can find anything related to your pre-existing condition.
My travel insurance is now back to normal. However, I have been warned that if I have to receive treatment for something related to my cancer then they might not cover me. Given that my cancer was in my chest, my lymph nodes, my neck, my blood, I’m sure there are lots of conditions they could somehow link it to and not pay out. It is something the insurers have actually warned me about.
If you have or have had cancer, it can help to understand how cancer can affect insurance. From looking into buying or making a claim, we can help provide guidance. Find out more.