Topic: Tell a tight-knit, supportive, but overwhelming, work place

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Posted on: Oct 24, 2016 09:46AM

Posted on: Oct 24, 2016 09:46AM

TechTeacher wrote:

Hi all,

Kind of an odd workplace dilemma and, I realize, kind of a good problem to have.

I work in a very tight-knit, supportive school (where my son is also a student). It is the kind of place likely to mobilize in big and overwhelming ways. We love the grand gestures. And, generally, that is something I love and admire about the people here. We also have a grapevine that moves at the speed of light.

Since I set a date for surgery, I've been slowly expanding the circle of people who know what is going on. But it is still all people that I consider friends, or at least with whom I have a friendly established relationship. But I'm taking off a month (possibly more) to recover and people will notice and talk--again with mostly only the best intentions.

So I'm going to send an email to my fellow teachers letting them know what is going on in broad strokes, giving them the time I will be out, and asking that they just keep things business as usual as much as possible for myself and, more importantly, my son. I don't want the big, pink assembly. I don't want to come in and find my desk covered in pink ribbons. And I really don't want my son feeling like he's moving through the school (or seeing me do so) under a cloud of concern and worry. He's more observant and perceptive than most people realize.

So I've started the draft, but I'm really struggling with how to start. "I have cancer" seem like such a bomb to drop. But I also don't want to tap-dance around it. I would welcome any language suggestions.

Surgery 11/15/2016 Mastectomy: Right Dx DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery Reconstruction (right): SIEA flap
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Oct 24, 2016 02:23PM exercise_guru wrote:

Its always hard to navigate this. Do you anticipate Chemo or Radiation? I think that its better to send the letter when you have a full idea of what you are going to need. Perhaps just start with the principal and ask for discretion to ensure you have a long term sub for the time you will have out from your Mastectomy. We had a teacher who actually had BRCA and went through DIEP reconstruction. The staff was very discrete and didn't make her uncomfortable at all. I was PTA president and only found out months later. You probably don't need or want grand gestures. Your son most definitely does not need this.

If I sent an email I would try to keep it as simple as possible and ask for privacy. I am not sure if I didn't need Chemo I would even tell what your condition is. That is entirely up to you. Your son shouldn't have to be involved. If his teacher knows it will be helpful because he might be experiencing some stress from watching you go through a challenging time.

All I can tell you was My kids school was great but the following year I moved them out of the program and brought them back to our home school. It was wonderful to walk into a new school and not have to take the Breast Cancer baggage with me. I am a very private person and I found that it was really tough to have everyone know my health and the personal family drama we were going through but it was necessary as I had multiple surgeries, lost my hair, and my kids were traveling in a car pool and being in the PTO presidency. There was only so much I could do to contain it but I did my best.


I ask a few close Friends at the school to help support my kids by driving them after school or helping when I was in surgery or having my Chemo weeks but I really tried to stay as independent as I could because It caused so much strain on my kids. I wanted to keep their lives as normal as possible. It still was tough. If your diagnosis remains DCIS trust me you will want to try to keep this as a blip in your life the best you can. If its more then you can send out an email when you know what you need and when you need it

Age 42 05/15/2015 PALB2 mutation, DBL Breast Cancer Type 1A Grade 3 ER+PR+(right 1.3cm,.5cm) HERr+(left1.6 cm), 06/26/2015 BMX with TE 8/27/15 Chemotherapy TCH 12/30/2015 TAH/BSO/Reconstruction 1/29/16 Arimidex 3/1/16 Femara 5/6/16 Tamoxifen

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