My Chronic Illness and Financial Planning

When I was about 15 I got sick and I was eventually diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases.   I had some vague symptoms of illness since I was a toddler. As far as I know, I am the only one in the world with this combination of rare autoimmune conditions therefore the prognosis is uncertain. Every day I feel like I have the flu, but I don’t ever feel much better.  I also deal with extreme fatigue. I’ve had to tailor my life accordingly.

I’ve decided to live as easy a life as possible. I know I’m mentally capable of more but, I cannot physically handle the demands of rigorous work. Right now I’m comfortable working a low stress job. The pay might not be the greatest, but it adds a lot of stability and benefits.  My disease is exacerbated by stress.When you are stressed it ramps up the body’s fight response. This in turn leads to a worsening of autoimmune disease since it’s essentially the body attacking itself. So all these choices (lower stress, lower paying job) have been the right ones for my situation.

One of the things I managed to do despite having a chronic illness was get through  graduate school.  I received a series of scholarships and fellowships that allowed me to pursue higher education with no student loans.  It was rough but it allowed me to start my first job, making enough to take care of me without too many inconveniences.

Although it might not sound like a necessity, I pay a premium to live close to work.  My rent is $1,650/month to be exact. I cannot handle a long commute.  I live alone which makes for a more relaxing environment. Roommates are out of the question at this point because they also add a layer of stress.

I pay a lot for healthcare in general, but the healthcare I receive is great.  I established a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). This year I am setting aside $2000 for my medical expenses. It’s 1 months into the year and I’ve blown through $300 of it.

Unfortunately I am in no shape for a side hustle or actively generating passive income beyond investments due to my level of fatigue.

2 thoughts on “My Chronic Illness and Financial Planning

  1. Rough place to be. Do you know for sure that hard work and hard physical exercise really worsens your condition? Since you are a unicorn of sorts with a unique malady it may be up to you to find your own limits. I wouldn’t assume you are limited until you prove it by pushing yourself to a crisis. Otherwise you may live a needlessly limited life. But you know you, I don’t, but I have had one undefined serious illness that officially doesn’t exist and another one that hits only one in 100,000 and am pretty much back to normal after lots of distance running to build my strength back. Good luck, sorry you have that load to carry.

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    • Thanks Steve, unfortunately the way things are currently, my life is fairly constrained due to my physical limitations. I am only physically capable of standing and sitting up for so long, for instance. Because of this I need certain accommodations at work that I know not every employer is willing to work around. In other words, I’m not restricting myself or holding myself back in fear of making things worse, I physically can’t without immediate consequences. From what I know from people with the same or similar conditions, I would consider myself to be fairly high functioning. I really want to focus on enjoying life rather than spending my time stressing about work, and I think that, thanks to my education, that is the way I am living my life.

      I am glad you’ve found an exercise routine that’s been helpful for you, I hope to get there some day. And I hope your health continues to improve.

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