Author Topic: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?  (Read 3195 times)

Carlin101

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Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« on: February 16, 2017, 12:33:25 AM »
Hi,

I'm a 24 year old male currently working part-time (3 days a week) and slowly coming to terms with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as a potentially life-long battle.

To the seasoned "Mustachians" out there, what advice would you have for someone who is unable to work as many hours as a normal Joe Bloggs due to health issues, yet wants to utilise the principles and philosophy of this way of life?

I live in Sydney, Australia, where rent is unaffordable, even to many full time workers (I live with my parents), don't have any debt (other than student loan debt, but that isn't an issue until your income reaches a certain threshold). I have a very modest car, I commute to work, and already live quite frugally, yet comfortably, and within my means.

I used to be an English Language teacher, but decided to leave this behind as the requirements of the work are full time hours.
I currently work in an office job with flexible working arrangements around my health, yet hope to pursue other work/employment/means of income in the future. However if this health condition continues, then I will be restricted in my employment options to jobs with flexible working arrangements, and a lower income due to working less hours.

Currently I work 16.5 hours a week on a casual basis, and assuming I'm not sick or on study leave, I would earn roughly $22,000 a year (Australian dollars).

Any more advice or tips for someone who has long term health issues would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Carlin




cakie

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 01:36:38 AM »
This isn't really what you are asking about, but just wanted to chime in as a fellow aussie who spent several years with CFS until it was eventually diagnosed properly as multiple autoimmune diseases. (Though I still spent more than a year fixing my health after the diagnosis) This was from age 18 pretty much right through uni. Don't give up chasing things that might help you and take advantage of your family support!

I lived on about $16k/yr in a sharehouse in melbourne but my mum found me a fancy integrative dr, paid several grand of medical bills and made sure I had a couple healthy meals a week at home. That support got me through and now I work more than full-time hours in a manual job! Towards the end of uni I thought I'd have to give it up altogether (my dream job), but my persistence paid off.

Anyway, a story I thought worth sharing... Hope it helps your perspective :)

Miskalkulation

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 02:11:33 PM »
This might be something you would be interested in....:

https://www.quantifiedbob.com/

Carlin101

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 05:48:00 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story. It always helps a lot to hear from people who have been through similar things!

I am incredibly grateful for my family allowing me to live rent-free. I've had this condition for roughly 4-6 years, and the thing that has helped the most is just living in an understanding way with this health condition, and doing the best that I can to care for myself on a daily basis.

So you saw an integrative dr, like a functional medicine kind of dr? Did you get a kind of test for the autoimmune diseases as well?

This isn't really what you are asking about, but just wanted to chime in as a fellow aussie who spent several years with CFS until it was eventually diagnosed properly as multiple autoimmune diseases. (Though I still spent more than a year fixing my health after the diagnosis) This was from age 18 pretty much right through uni. Don't give up chasing things that might help you and take advantage of your family support!

I lived on about $16k/yr in a sharehouse in melbourne but my mum found me a fancy integrative dr, paid several grand of medical bills and made sure I had a couple healthy meals a week at home. That support got me through and now I work more than full-time hours in a manual job! Towards the end of uni I thought I'd have to give it up altogether (my dream job), but my persistence paid off.

Anyway, a story I thought worth sharing... Hope it helps your perspective :)

HappierAtHome

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 09:51:50 PM »
Hey Carlin!

It's a shame you're not in Perth; there's a few of us here balancing health issues with mustachianism / life in general.

My story: sick in a very vague way, on and off, from about fifteen or sixteen. Saw many doctors over the years who diagnosed me with all kinds of things, mostly CFS or "a bad virus". None of them ever made the connection with my hand and wrist pain and thought heck, maybe all this is related. Eventually a good GP referred me to a rheumatologist who took all of five minutes to work out that I have inflammatory / autoimmune arthritis, probably systemic lupus (I'll never get a definitive diagnosis of which type of autoimmune arthritis for a range of reasons). Subsequent to that, a better rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and hypermobile joints in my thumbs and wrists additional to the arthritis.

I would recommend seeing different types of specialists if you can. My main symptom has always been fatigue; I had no idea that I was actually in all that much pain other than recurrent issues with hands and wrists, which sounds silly but whatever you experience is just normal to you, right? Apparently this is quite common with autoimmune arthritis and GPs are now being trained to question more closely when fatigue is the defining symptom. Some people with autoimmune arthritis produce blood markers that can be found via simple blood tests, and others do not, but it's worth a shot and, in my opinion, worth seeing a rheumatologist to rule it out.

I was diagnosed at the age of 24 or 25. I'd already established my career and I'm lucky enough to be a high earner. I was also already in a committed relationship with a very high earner (now my husband) and I am exceptionally lucky in that regard, as I do not have a family safety net to fall back on. If I did not have my husband, I would have no financial safety net at all aside from my own income and savings, and Australia's social safety net for which I am very grateful.

My health is managed via medication (anti-malarials, which thankfully do not have bad side effects at all), working fewer hours, taking on less stress in all areas of my life, having good boundaries (which for me has involved seeing a psychologist to learn how to 'do' boundaries), eating well and staying active in the ways that don't put pressure on my joints. The biggest difference for me has come from taking meds, lowering stress and working less. Those three things together make 95% of the difference.

I used to be an English Language teacher, but decided to leave this behind as the requirements of the work are full time hours.
I currently work in an office job with flexible working arrangements around my health, yet hope to pursue other work/employment/means of income in the future. However if this health condition continues, then I will be restricted in my employment options to jobs with flexible working arrangements, and a lower income due to working less hours.

I'm surprised you can't work as a teacher part time, but you'd know better than I would!

Yep, my career is restricted to employers who will basically not mind if I call in sick on a regular basis and only work three - four days a week. I've been working four days a week for almost two years now. About to start parental leave (woo!) but when I come back to work, I will try my damnedest to only ever work three days a week again until I FIRE.

Government tends to be good for this - at least in WA. Since dropping down to four days a week I've still been offered promotions, and people in my area who work three days a week have been offered promotions too. We have reasonably generous sick leave and flexible working arrangements.

The other thought that popped into my mind was, is there something you could retrain in that lends itself to only working part-time and still making good money? Book keeping, or something like that? Might be worth starting a separate thread on careers that earn well, can be done part-time and only require minimal training / qualifications so that you don't spend years and years getting a degree if that's not what you want to do.

As for how my health issues interact with FIRE: there are direct costs associated with my disease - medication, medical appointments, all that kind of thing. My medical costs are our biggest category of spending after our mortgage. There are indirect costs: we've recently hired a cleaner to do a 'deep clean' once a month because my hands and wrists can't handle the real scrubbing a bathroom occasionally needs (my husband works long hours, so I wasn't willing to put sole responsibility for deep cleaning on him), I use air con and heating more than someone who can regulate their own temperature better would, we sometimes end up getting convenience food or paying for other conveniences. Basically, lots of money saving 'tips' rely on time and energy. I usually have free time, but I don't often have energy - I suspect you'll be familiar with that quandary: free time is NOT the same thing as free energy to spend on something. There's the opportunity cost: if I wasn't sick, I could work more and I would probably have taken a promotion or three by now that I've turned down due to needing to manage my stress. I would maybe even have a side hustle on top of a demanding full-time job, like many on this forum do.

On the other hand: there is no better motivation for becoming FI than knowing that you may not always be able to earn an income. I don't assume I'll be physically capable of working past about 45: many people with systemic lupus end up on the disability support pension.

ElleFiji

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 10:02:16 PM »
Posting so that I can find this thread and answer with my experience later. You are absolutely able to do it

cakie

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 01:44:50 AM »
Thanks for sharing your story. It always helps a lot to hear from people who have been through similar things!

I am incredibly grateful for my family allowing me to live rent-free. I've had this condition for roughly 4-6 years, and the thing that has helped the most is just living in an understanding way with this health condition, and doing the best that I can to care for myself on a daily basis.

So you saw an integrative dr, like a functional medicine kind of dr? Did you get a kind of test for the autoimmune diseases as well?

This isn't really what you are asking about, but just wanted to chime in as a fellow aussie who spent several years with CFS until it was eventually diagnosed properly as multiple autoimmune diseases. (Though I still spent more than a year fixing my health after the diagnosis) This was from age 18 pretty much right through uni. Don't give up chasing things that might help you and take advantage of your family support!

I lived on about $16k/yr in a sharehouse in melbourne but my mum found me a fancy integrative dr, paid several grand of medical bills and made sure I had a couple healthy meals a week at home. That support got me through and now I work more than full-time hours in a manual job! Towards the end of uni I thought I'd have to give it up altogether (my dream job), but my persistence paid off.

Anyway, a story I thought worth sharing... Hope it helps your perspective :)
Like H@H has explained, it is very difficult to get proper help from a GP, no matter how good they are with general GP things. Part of the problem is that even when GPs get blood tests done for autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiencies etc., it is often too superficial (in depth tests are generally only used by specialists) and/or you will be borderline within the range so they will tell you everything is fine.

I am similar to H@H, I do not really have definitive diagnoses. I know i have hashimotos (thyroid), was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis but I doubt I have it, whereas I am not diagnosed with coeliac because I didn't want to kill my gut to find out, but probably have it. All are autoimmune diseases.

The 'integrative' dr was trained both as a GP and as a naturopath. She dug further into autoimmune stuff when all the inflammation markers (CRP etc) came back high.

The cheap mustachian version of this kind of investigation is to get your GP to check inflammation markers, a few autoimmune antibodies and whatever vitamin/mineral blood tests they can. If you've had them before, get a copy of the results from your dr and check them out yourself... Always book really long appts with your GP so they don't rush!

I am only healthy now because I worked hard at fixing it for several years. At one stage I had 5 drs (GP, fancy GP, 3 specialists), went weekly to a community acupuncture centre and had a whole massive folder of medical crap!! I was lucky to get the inflammation under control before there was permanent damage, though it may spiral at any point in the future - one reason why I am chasing FIRE.

PS the biggest initial boost for me was the lifting of the brain fog when I started taking B12

epower

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 11:02:19 AM »
I've had CFS for the past 4 years. I'm 28, male and live in NZ.

It took me about a year to get diagnosed because GPs's were oblivious.

I did my own research reading numerous books then saw Dr Rosamond Vailings (sp?) in Auckland. Sure there are similar in Australia, just google them.

I was put on 1mg melatonin immediately and still on it to this day. It has made the world of difference as with CFS I was sleeping a lot but only 30-60 mins at a time and never went into deep REM sleep.

I was also on B12 shots weekly into my arm and orally took vitamin B complex, zinc, Q10, magnesium, fish oil, etc.

Was slowly able to recover to be able to work a full 5 day week and walk the 500m down to the supermarket which I wasn't able to do previously.

I also switched my diet to low FODMAP with a paleo spin on it, reducing higher carb with more heathly fats. This also benefited me.

Wish you the best. PM me if you have any questions.

Case

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Re: Advice - being a "Mustachian" with long-term health issues?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 03:01:15 PM »
Hi,

I'm a 24 year old male currently working part-time (3 days a week) and slowly coming to terms with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as a potentially life-long battle.

To the seasoned "Mustachians" out there, what advice would you have for someone who is unable to work as many hours as a normal Joe Bloggs due to health issues, yet wants to utilise the principles and philosophy of this way of life?

I live in Sydney, Australia, where rent is unaffordable, even to many full time workers (I live with my parents), don't have any debt (other than student loan debt, but that isn't an issue until your income reaches a certain threshold). I have a very modest car, I commute to work, and already live quite frugally, yet comfortably, and within my means.

I used to be an English Language teacher, but decided to leave this behind as the requirements of the work are full time hours.
I currently work in an office job with flexible working arrangements around my health, yet hope to pursue other work/employment/means of income in the future. However if this health condition continues, then I will be restricted in my employment options to jobs with flexible working arrangements, and a lower income due to working less hours.

Currently I work 16.5 hours a week on a casual basis, and assuming I'm not sick or on study leave, I would earn roughly $22,000 a year (Australian dollars).

Any more advice or tips for someone who has long term health issues would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Carlin
[/quote

A friend of mine had/has this for ~8 years.  Doctors of all sorts had no idea what to do.  He eventually was prescribed an experimental 'stimulant', which changed his life and ended the CFS.  He said it only recently became approved, and that getting insurance to cover it was a battle.  Because of related concerns, he would not tell me what it is and asked I not share the information, and I have respect his wishes.  Not sure if this info is helpful to you.

I wont say it's perfect, he currently is having some sort of recurrence of it, despite the drug.