Living Below Your Means
In the Blink of an Eye

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By Leia28
March 16, 2006

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I don't really post much on the discussion boards, but I have occasionally, and I have learned a great deal from so many of you. I am posting this message in the hopes that it will help someone, but I need to admit also just to get some of this off my chest.

I am 39. My husband is 35. Our son is 3. We have not always been great spending money wisely, but from what we've learned from TMF, our financial picture has improved quite a bit. However, everything is about to change.

My husband went to the doctor because he felt a small lump near his jaw. It was deep in the skin. After antibiotics didn't help, he went to a surgeon who decided to remove it. The biopsy showed it was malignant. My husband has either stage 3, or stage 4 melanoma. We never saw a mole, so either the mole appeared and then regressed, or the melanoma started internally. The cat scans and bone scans show the cancer is in the bones in his face.

Melanoma is very difficult to fight at this stage. Doctors don't agree at all as to how to fight. The prognosis is grim. My husband has been told he has a 50% chance he will live a year, and very little chance to live 3 years. Of course, we will fight and keep positive and try to beat the odds.

We have great life insurance, so if my husband doesn't survive, I could probably retire. If he lives, we will be very strapped for cash. Never before has financial instability seemed so appealing.

I guess what I really need to tell people is something that has been said on this board many times before. Please excuse the redundancy.

It's all about balance.

I am glad we have funds stored away so that we don't have to pick up and move right now. That might happen in the future, but for now, we keep the stability of our home. We don't have to declare bankruptcy. The reason we aren't financially devastated is because, at least part of the time, we were smart with our money and didn't blow it on stupid stuff. Notice I said some of the time. Sometimes we spent money on stuff that was downright moronic. I really, truly appreciate being a part of a community that encourages its members to be smart with money.

We didn't put all our hopes and dreams into retiring either. Retiring early has always been a goal, but we never wanted to do it at the expense of living along the way. We have family outings to the zoo, the museum, etc. We enjoy an occasional dinner out. I don't regret doing any of that, even though not doing it would have meant more money in the eFund. Now that our budget is extremely limited, we are making sure to do more of the small stuff. We go to the park more. We watch construction equipment more. (Watching a backhoe dig is great free entertainment.)

It's not just about money either. Time is just as easy to mishandle as money. I think it's easy to get caught up in working as much as possible so you can have more money. While my husband feels good, we will do as much as we can to enjoy each day. Fortunately, he has very few signs of being sick, so we can enjoy ourselves for a while. At best, he will have a lot of days in the future where he will be very sick from treatment. At worst, it will be the last time he sees our bulbs grow and bloom.

I hope someone receives something out of this post. It's sure been therapeutic for me. :-) I do hope though that my post will remind people to spend their money and their time wisely. Life can, and often does, change in the blink of an eye.


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