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Paul Lima's Story

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Paul's Story

Paul Lima's trauma crept up silently, but struck with the same force as the run-away-car that hit Jody. The 40-year old freelance journalist was diagnosed with "potential" Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system, a little over three years ago.

"This happened about a year after I looked at a Disability Insurance policy and turned it down. A good policy too, one that would have cost me about $30 per month. The diagnosis, and all that led up to it--a spreading physical impairment and physical exhaustion--freaked me out. There were several weeks when I could not work at all: couldn't type, and even if I could, it wouldn't have mattered as I didn't have the energy to do much more than move from bed to couch to bed, with a few trips to the bathroom thrown in...

"When I was able to work, I had to contract out interviews to my wife and transcriptions to a friend. I kind of developed a cut and paste writing technique. I was actually bringing in about 35-cents on every dollar earned. Since my spouse had some downtime and was working with me, she was bringing in about the same amount on each dollar too. But what was really disturbing was the fear that I would lose my ability to earn anything....

"This story has a happy ending. After several months of the downward spiral, I went into remission and started to recover and get stronger. I was slowly able to pick up more and more work. Last year, I was given a clean bill of health--having been in remission for 2.5 years. I immediately contacted an insurance agent and now have a life insurance policy (cost of under $50 per month) and we are moving forward on DI. There is a chance that I will be rejected, but it's one I'm prepared to take. When the possible MS diagnosis was hanging over my head, the agent didn't want to even try for life insurance. If I had been rejected, it would have made it difficult to get any insurance, even when I got better.

"I confess, until I became sick I considered myself 'self-insured'. If I was sick for a prolonged period (in my mind that would be three to six months) I could live off some savings or even cash an RSP. If I died, my wife would get my RSPs and whatever savings I had. Once I was sick, I started to do some math--if I wasn't able to get back to work, all my money would have been gone in six months or so. And then what? If I had died, my 'life savings' would have put a very small dent in the mortgage.

"I am not an insurance kind of guy. Never have had it, other than a few workplace policies. But I tell you, it was such a liberating feeling getting life insurance. I felt like I could go skydiving. Of course, that would probably void my policy, but it was the feeling that mattered. I'm prepared now to dig deep if approved for DI. What would have cost me $30/month four years ago, will now probably cost $100+/month. So we give up some other amenities...

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