Follow my unexpected cancer journey...the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Where Oh Where to Begin...
Here's my attempt
I've attempted to think of words for over a week and still not quite sure how to put anything to words. As you know, I started this blog right when I got diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Since my type of cancer is "rare" there wasn't much to google (and you know that's the first thing anyone does when they are diagnosed with something, especially that's supposed to kill you). I wanted to know people's stories, experiences, and get information of what I might endure. There was really nothing, which is why I wanted to chronicle my journey for anyone else that came after me wanting to know more.
I'm not sure how my cancer journey that was supposed to be personal, positive, and informative ever got turned around to be used against me negatively, but unfortunately that's exactly what happened and I was blown away.
See, I was over the moon to finally try to leave cancer behind and start my life over getting back to work and my passion of teaching. As you may have remembered, before school even started I was "made aware" in the administrators office that calls had already been received not wanting their child in my class and the c word was brought up. Again, speechless. These people hadn't even met me or gotten to know me, much less seen me teach and do what I love, but to each their own. So, I got to embarrassingly stand in front of 40+ parents at curriculum night with the first words coming about of my mouth being I was told some parents didn't want me to be their teacher because I was a cancer diagnosee, but that I had finished all of my treatments over 2 years, felt better than ever, and was beyond excited to finally get back to what I loved to do and was fully capable in every aspect (or I wouldn't of interviewed and been hired). Put yourself in my shoes and think how humiliating and unethical that is. Regardless, I got the elephant out of the room and kept on chugging along with my normal shpeel of information seeing as though this wasn't my first rodeo and I wanted them to see that. With a bright red face and sweating bullets from how the presentation started, I finished not caring who the parent/parents were that were the ones who called. I was going to teach no matter anyones concerns, and which I wish they had seen me face to face to talk to me or raise their concerns before calling about me and before even seeing me fully healthy and capable and just trying to get my life back.
I thought for sure these issues would subside and slowly fade away, however, they didn't. Week after week I was called to the office with some crazy or absurd comment or concern from admin they received or were worried about. ALL of my personal social media has always been PRIVATE, but yet someone had hacked their way in and stalked all they could to send administratration with yet more concerns. Now, if you read my blog you are more than likely friends with me on social media, I have never posted anything negative or in the wrong by any means, but yet somehow my words kept getting twisted and used against me. If you know me, and if you are in education for that matter, you know that if you don't have a sense of humor you will never survive this career. Apparently my humor or jokes were just another thing to use against me. Really?! So at this point I deactivated my class blog, personal (and private) instagram, and cancer blog in hopes these crazy situations would end because I just couldn't handle much more and what was being asked of me in return (which is a whole other issue and topic). Once again, my hopes did not come to fruition and I continue to get the most strange concerns when called to the principal's office weekly. Had I known this was going to be the situation for so long I would have gotten my lawyer and teacher advocate involved a long, long time ago instead of continue to endure the relentlessness alone and feel more and more secluded, bullied, and quite frankly (in my opinion), harassed and discriminated against. I'd go to my therapist in tears and tell her everything and she would be just as blown away as I was, and seeing as though she used to be a school counselor in the same district she knew all too well the happenings that went on. I also told my oncologist what had been going on who again, was just as speechless as me and commented, "what do they think, you're going to give them cancer or something?! If that were the case I'd have cancer!". Needless to say, the emotional toll it took on me was far more than anyone should handle. My passion was dying because of these sad and unfortunate continuous issues that were beyond ridiculous. Fast forward to January and I had just had enough and couldn't take anymore weekly principal meetings, ridiculous situations and things that were being given and asked of me....so this is when I contacted help.
Now, obviously I am the LAST person that needs to be without an income or medical insurance...but hopefully that just gives you a better understanding of how bad the situation got.....my therapist even called it "toxic" which I would completely agree. I didn't want to leave my kids. I didn't want to leave my amazing parents (99% of my class parents....although I got in trouble for using that percentage too even though mathematically you'd never use 99% for a class of 22).
Before cancer, I kept jobs for YEARS, after cancer I felt like I was just hopping around because of everything cancer puts you through. I am the last person that quits or gives up, but this situation had gotten too much. Thankfully, my lawyer wrote my letter to the superintendent to be released from my contract so I could resign with no negative ramifications on my teaching certificate IF I chose to stay in education after such a bad experience. Thankfully, this was granted. I felt horrible for my amazing parents who were so supportive, sending me messages, going to admin, going to the superintendent, wearing lime green ribbons on the kids backpacks and shirts, and even our beacher shirt for picture day. They were at a disadvantage too, but thankfully had seen first hand the issues that I wasn't even aware of so it wasn't just my word against someone else's.
I had less than a handful of days to yet again pack my entire class up, load it up and bring it back to storage (my family are moving pros at this point). It was hard, physically and emotionally. I would be taking things down and the team would be putting things right back up so the classroom would be ready for the sub. It just didn't feel right on so many levels. Not to mention the kinder team shouldn't of had to be tasked with having to set the room up on their own time for the long term sub coming in which made me feel even more horrible, but again, that's a whole other story.
Now, I was made aware by several parents who the "perpetrated" were and what all had been happening behind my back since before school started (oblivious to me) and I was still just in awe. Let me just point out, NO ONE IS PERFECT....we all have a junk drawer you don't want anyone to accidentally open, we all have days you just leave dirty dishes in the sink because you are too tired to clean them right that second, or a playroom you just can't motivate yourself to clean the toys for the 12th time that day......we all have "ghosts in our closets" that you don't want anyone to know about. Before you go digging in someone's personal life
(who not to mention is there to make a positive impact on your child's life), look in the mirror first, we are all people...with feelings! No one is perfect so before you go trying to degrade another, put yourself in their shoes first (although as we all know, that's impossible).
TIME FOR MY SOAPBOX
Cancer = a financial, mental, emotional, physical, social death sentence....even when you live through it. I just hope no one else has to ever go through any of the situations I endured, cancer or no cancer, treat people with kindness, never assume anything because I promise 99% of the time you will be wrong and have no idea what that person's been through or going through. Don’t judge. Teachers obviously don’t teach for the minuscule paycheck they barely get by with month to month yet they still do so much more than you’d ever believe. I’m not saying I’m a phenomenal teacher by any means or trying to sound egotistical, but this society is losing great teachers and it’s because of parents/administrators/district/government laws etc NOT the kids or the poor teacher pay (we knew what we were getting into financial wise when we chose this career path).
I had to share this video below....holy moly, she hit the nail on the head. I feel like that's been my life story since August and feel her pain. What courage this amazing woman has to stand in front of the board and make this speech! If only more people knew the truth.
"You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what's been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you."