Apr 22, 2022 03:56PM
I am an elementary school teacher. When I received my BC diagnosis in February, I continued to teach (with a couple of 1/2 days off here and there for appointments) until my surgery. It was so stressful. I wasn't sleeping and my job is not one that you can function well (with 27 kids in my care) on limited sleep.
My nurse navigator had explained that I would have the lumpectomy w/ node biopsy, followed by 4-6 weeks of radiation three weeks later and then, likely, tamoxifen. I used that information to communicate with my principal and we decided that it would be best to get a long-term sub for the duration - to provide continuity for the students through the end of the year and to give me the time to properly heal without the stress of my job. I know that many, many people work through radiation, but I am choosing not to do that. When I am teaching, I work from 6:30am-4:00pm and then bring work home most nights, plus the weekend. I have 7 months of sick leave saved up from working for 22 years and hardly ever taking sick days. At any rate, I figured that I would likely be out until almost the end of the school year - if not the whole school year. In my mind, this would all work like clockwork!
Well, here I am now at 3 weeks post-surgery. My surgeon wrote me out for 2 weeks to heal, but I had my 2nd post-op and radiology consultation appointments this week. I figured that radiation would start next week and it seemed not to make sense to go back to my class for one week, only to leave again. I communicated this with my principal, and - once again- we agreed that it would be best for the students not to have a teacher who is in one day and out the next.
I have an appointment next week with my oncologist (first appointment) who will be discussing chemo as an option. My radiologist explained that my Oncotype score of 19 puts me in a "gray area" because of lymph node involvement. So, the oncologist will discuss pros/ cons with me and then I will make a decision. If I decide no chemo, radiation will likely start around May 9th. That would give me 2 weeks (minus a couple days of appointments/ simulation/ oncology) where I could be working. I was raised to believe able bodies work.
At any rate... I'm so torn as to what to do about work. There is a licensed teacher in the room. She is set to be there until June. I know that is probably best for the students rather than me coming back for a few days and then leaving again.
I know this was long winded and rambling... Are there any others out there feeling torn like this?
Plus having to "decide" about chemo. Ugh. I'm not even good at deciding what I want to order from a menu for dinner!
4/1/2022 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel
4/1/2022 Left breast
ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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