Six years ago I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The lump came up out of nowhere, under my chin on my neck. Before I knew it I was on a course of chemotherapy. After my first chemotherapy I soon realised if I felt that poorly, I wouldn’t be able to return to work. After being on sick pay from work I was made redundant. I used to dread the postman pushing bills through the door. At that time I was three months behind with my mortgage payment. Financially this period was a huge struggle. I was told I needed to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to fight the cancer, but we couldn’t afford it. I could barely afford the TV license or keep the car going.
When you’re desperate you’ll try anything. You’re borrowing money, you’re getting further into debt. You’re using your credit card knowing full well that you can’t afford the payments at the end of the month. What do you do? We put the house on the market. Tried to come to some understanding with the building society. And moved away from the house that we shared together for 11 years.
It was not until I visited Macmillan that I realised that additional help was available. So I had a nice chat with a lady there who helped with travel costs. Macmillan also said that there were grants available, and advised on what benefits were available and what benefits I was entitled to.
I received a grant, and they even offered to represent me at a Work Capability Assessment by the Benefits Agency as I was still very weak. Without a doubt without benefits I would have been repossessed and I would be in great debt. I can’t describe how bad it would have been. The last thing you want to be worrying about when you’re ill is money. The only fight you should have to take on is your fight to get better.
As I approached the end of my cancer journey, I looked back and realised although I had lost my dream house, I lost my cars but I realised I’m still alive. That was the main thing. I’m surrounded by a loving family.