Now that you have a rough plan of action you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend. No matter what your budget there are many things you can do to kick start the recovery process. Here’s what I did in three straight forward. steps.
Step 1 Figure out how much its going to Cost
This is a simple exercise in budgeting. Create a table in Microsoft Excel or draw one up on a piece of paper with months of the year (I usually plan & budget in 6 month blocks) across the top and all the different elements of your healing plan down the side. Estimate how much you will spend on each item per month and create a total for the entire period of time.
You will need to spend time researching how much each individual item will cost. This final figure will change over time and is rarely 100% accurate but will serve as a useful indicator.
Step 2 Find out where can you get the money
Next you need to figure out where you can get the money you need. I have identified 4 possible options.
1. Medical Insurance – The most obvious place to start. If you have medical insurance it may cover the costs of your treatment, get in touch with them right away. Depending on your country and your situation you may also be covered for income protection if you can no longer work due to CFS/ME.
2. Your own savings or income – Are you a multi-millionare? Or do you still carry around a fake student card to get cheap movie tickets? Either way your going to need to set aside a proportion of your income to fund your recovery process. Its easy to start spending it all at once but its important to remember to keep a balance in your life. Spending every last dollar on vitamins instead of going out for dinner with your buddies is most likely just going to get you down. I personally have settled on a proportion of 10-20% of my income to spend on recovery and this feels about right.
3. Parents or family – If you don’t have the means to cover the costs yourself turn to those that love you. My parents are clever. They figured out along time ago that whenever I sit down next to them, beam a big smile and start the sentence with ‘So Dad/Mum…’ that I’m about to ask for cash. They are generous with their funds but don’t always say yes. The trick is I’m not afraid to ask. And when it comes to my health and well being they have supported me 100% of the way. You may be surprised at how much your family will help if you properly explain the situation (give them a book on CFS/ME) and show them a plan and budget for getting better (so they know they won’t be paying out till the end of days).
4. Government Assistance – Again depending in which country you live in you may have access to quality public health care that won’t cost you any money at all (Scandinavia perhaops?). Additionally you may also qualify for a social security or disability payment. While this is free money I personally won’t do this until I really, really need to because of the impact it would have on my psychology. But you may not have as big an ego as mine. After all if your living with CFS/ME you deserve every dollar you can get!
Ask Nicely. And Negotiate.
Things to Remember
- When your planning your budget you need to be clear what stage of the recovery process you are in. Are you just starting out and need to pay for alot of tests? Are you in maintenance mode and able to maintain a steady level of expenses? Or are you on the verge of recovery and spending at all costs to get yourself over the line? Knowing which stage of the cycle your in will also help to determine which payments will be once off and which will be ongoing.
- If you have a particular doctor/healer in mind but don’t think you can afford to see them. Get in touch, you may be surprised whats possible when you ask.
- Talk with your local CFS/ME association about insurance, government payments and financial help.
Now you’ve thought about cash its time to figure out if you need a doctor. And if so which one you will choose.