08/05/2014 09:40 BST | Updated 07/07/2014 06:59 BST

Making Right Decisions


If you could close your eyes and magically go back in time for just one moment, would you change anything in your past? I have one regret, a decision I made in haste without realising the long term ramifications. Knowing what I do today, if given the chance over again, I would act very differently. We cannot see into the future, and no one knows what's in store, so I've decided to come clean, and share with you a piece of important advice. Even if only one person pays heed, it will make my lack of judgement when young, to have not been in vain.

Many years ago, (now I'm making myself sound old, so let me rephrase that), several years ago, as many young married couples do, we thought we were invincible, far too young to think of writing a Last Will & Testament or taking out life insurance policies. It was only when under tragic circumstances, I lost someone very close who was relatively young, that I realised the importance of having a Will. This was a huge wakeup call, and suddenly understanding what difficulties can incur when no Will exists, we quickly took care of this.

We are all so smart in hindsight, but when young, it's difficult to look too far down the road. It's not a matter of being negative expecting the worst, life insurance gives you peace of mind, making sure those you love are protected. Knowing your spouse will not have any financial worries should something happen, is a comforting thought. Therefore life insurance is essential, and although it may sound morbid, especially when newly-wed, taking out policies is the smart thing to do.

I took out a life insurance policy at the time; the insurance company accepted me, knowing full well I had Gaucher disease, but this was years before I was further diagnosed with Parkinson's. Little did I know cancelling that policy, it would not be a simple matter of being re-insured in the future. Our insurance agent with my best interests at heart and many years of professional experience under his belt, ardently advised me not to cash in this policy, warning me it was an unwise decision long term. Did I listen? I think you know the answer to that question. Unfortunately I didn't follow his recommendation, not thinking for one moment I would have further serious health problems down the road. This small policy that one day would come back to haunt me, was cashed in.

So years later, at the age of 44 I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, which in my particular case is hereditary, for a connection has been established with Gaucher disease. My father who was a carrier of the Gaucher gene, had Parkinson's later in life, and I had a brother with Gaucher disease who also suffered Parkinson's and sadly died at the age of 63. With a huge change in my health situation, no longer able to work, we had to re-evaluate everything. I was shocked to find, now suffering two chronic illnesses, Gaucher and Parkinson's disease, I was not eligible for life insurance. As unfair as this sounds, look at it for one moment from an insurance company's perspective. I was a high risk in their eyes, and consequently found out, not a single company was willing to insure me. You can now see how I found myself in a predicament.

The moral to my story is simple; if you have a life insurance policy, don't cash it in no matter what. Listen to good advice when given by your agent, for you have no way of knowing your future health status, and once diagnosed with certain diseases, insurance companies are loathe to insure a person who is considered a bad risk. Absurdly I am worth more alive than dead! Talk about giving me incentive to keep going despite living with Gaucher and Parkinson's disease.