Recovery Has Reframed My Priorities

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by Sean Baumstark |

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I’m realizing that short-term disability insurance provides value beyond the financial benefit. Of course, the continued flow of income is important when it helps sustain your overall well-being and allows you to remain independent. My state-sponsored disability insurance helped me to stay on top of my recurring bills, such as rent, during almost four months off work due to an injury.

But I’ve been back to work for two weeks, and I’m realizing that the income wasn’t the only benefit of my leave of absence.

When my post-surgery journey began, family, friends, and leaders at work said things such as, “Just focus on your recovery,” and “Don’t worry about anything but getting better.” Initially, I was grateful. I heard these sentences as nice sentiments and polite things you say to someone after a major injury or surgery.

The income from disability insurance and the financial support of others were significant pieces in the chaotic puzzle my injury created. I asked myself a lot of “What if … ?” and “Now what … ?” questions regarding my physical and financial independence. The income gave me peace of mind and allowed my mental and emotional energies to remain focused on other important targets. Not having to worry about the roof over my head or my credit score allowed me the freedom to engage in solid and consistent rest and significant physical therapy.

Each of these has proven to be vital to my overall recovery process and my individual wholeness — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The challenge as I make progress in my recovery is to continue prioritizing my rest and paying attention to what my body can and cannot handle.

I wrote a column last year that encouraged readers to be OK with a season of rest and rejuvenation. Right now, I’m putting a greater focus on my season of getting back to work, but that doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice the rest my body needs.

Perhaps this step in my recovery demands more rest than it did 30 days ago?

After a full day at work, I’m coming home tired, depleted of energy, and in no mood to exercise. Some of this is because of my injury and some is because of Friedreich’s ataxia. This emphasizes the importance of planning ahead, protecting my personal time, and being careful not to overcommit myself.

Going back to work and continuing to invest some of my energy into the nonprofit I help lead and the podcast I co-host are important priorities for me. I like to stay busy.

And although I will have to carefully and intentionally plan and steward my time, especially now, that exhausting challenge won’t be an excuse to not give this season everything I’ve got.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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