Back to work after 8.5 months off…

Hi there #teamklb!

I hope you are all well. I am doing well and feeling well.

I have completed nine of 25 days of radiation so far. I will be finished on March 16th, just two days before my 32nd birthday. I will be very happy to be finished before my birthday. So far, radiation is going well. Not much skin irritation or feelings of exhaustion. (Although I am more tired lately but I’ve been quite busy planning a surprise party for Jim – it was yesterday and boy, was it fucking awesome!- I’ll add more party details here soon) Occasionally, I’ll feel a bit more pain in the area that’s being radiated – the right breast, but it’s pretty infrequent. It is a cumulative process, so I imagine things will start catching up with me soon.

I start work tomorrow! (YIKES!) I’ve had a slough of mixed emotions about it over the past few days, but most of them are positive. I met with my long term sub last week and we discussed the transition back into the classroom. I’ll be working from 8:00-11:30 each day and he’ll be teaching in the afternoon. This will allow me to slowly ease into things and continue my radiation. My radiation appointments are literally less than a quarter mile from my work, so that makes it easy. After that, I’ll have a bit of time to rest in the afternoons. I’m looking forward to getting back into my pre-cancer life.

I hope to bring to the classroom an environment that encourages kids to take care of one another and focus on compassion and support for each other. As a kid, I remember thinking that it was really important to be smart (THE most important thing, in fact). My Uncle Bob and I had a conversation about which Disney character was better, I said Mickey because he was smart, while he thought Goofy because he was nice. I very vividly remember this conversation, sitting on the davenport (any non-Essenmachers know what that is? The sofa!) in my grandparents living room. This conversation has always stayed with me, and until becoming a teacher, my answer remained the same. But I now know that being kind is a much more important character trait. From my experience, you can’t teach adults to be nice, but you can teach them new things. All of that to say, my classroom will be one that fosters kindness, caring, and support for all students. This is not to say that I never cared about fostering these things before, it has always been important to me, but it is so hard with all the standards and all the students to always make it a priority. But we only get one life, and I want to make sure that my influence on the students is through a learning environment that supports kindness, caring, and support. Although, I will really miss hanging out with the Roxbury dog pack everyday.

Many of you know that the BRCA1 genetic mutation that I have also increases my risk for Melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers. (Thanks to the doctors office pamphlet for that little tidbit of fear-inducing information.) I had my annual mole check the second week of February and the doctor decided she wanted to biopsy a mole on my back just in case. Those four days of waiting we’re pretty tough. Jim says he knew it would be fine, but I no longer feel that way about any test results. Luckily, it did come back negative and we’re all good.

The PSA for the day is that you should be doing mole self checks (for me she suggested monthly) and be going to get your skin checked by your doctor as needed. I’ve said this many times during my cancer treatment, but cancer has taught me that life is for living. Not to put things off or think, maybe next year I’ll do that thing that’s I’ve always wanted to do. Nobody has the luxury of time, none of us know our futures. If you want something important in your life, make it happen.

Thanks for your continued love and support! I’ll continue keeping you updated. Lots of love!

Xoxo,

Katie

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