Thursday, April 9, 2015

Post-Chemo report and work-related roadblocks

So I went to bed at 8pm.  Now I'm up at 4am.  ha!  My body only takes the sleep it needs.

Yesterday's nausea was very mild, even more so than the last 3 rounds.  This morning, I feel pretty good.  Probably going to eat some breakfast soon.  However, if I get up from the couch to get breakfast (which I moved to a few minutes ago, so as not to disturb Superman), then the dogs will have to get up and get breakfast.  Its a delicate balance in this house. :)

8 weeks overall:  successfully completed 4 rounds of AC with very little complications.  Mild-ish side effects, with the help of medication.  One instance of Shingles.  Just a few super sad days or break down moments.  Onward to the next things!  AC, you were kind to me and produced some good results: reduction of 1 cm of the tumor at least.  More concrete results when I see my surgeon for a ultrasound in a week and a half.  Now I shall make friends with Taxol.  Thank you, AC, I'm eternally grateful for your service (and hope we don't meet again.  And I'm sure we won't...there's a lifetime limit on that POtEnT stuff.)

I did come upon a work-related roadblock.  So I turned in my FMLA papers which was approved, stating that I have 60 days of health leave days before any loss of job penalties.  Awesome.  But as soon as I run out of sick leave, I'm being put on UNPAID health leave.  So on to step 2, figuring out if I'm eligible to draw from the sick leave bank, of which I am enrolled because I donated days to it a few years ago.  I thought I would be a shoe-in for this.

Well, I received a response and the answer was basically "No.  Sick leave bank is only for those employees that are on consecutive leave." (not intermittent leave, like myself)  This is evidently board policy and can not be changed until there is a new negotiated contract.

Are you serious?!?!?

So I've turned to Superboss in hopes that there is something to be done.

I had this ALL PLANNED OUT.  I'm officially out of my accrued sick days by the middle of this month.

I have operated under the assumption that I would have access to the sick leave bank, because I have cancer and I have doctor documentation of my needs.
I was going to finish out the year working approximately 3 days a week and having a consistent sub the other two days on my treatment day and a recovery day.  This sub was somebody I proactively arranged myself (with help from a few others).  She has so far been amazing.  The goal was to provide consistency for the kids and in the best interest of the classroom, as well as balancing my own needs of a couple days of rest.  My sub was motivated to take my jobs because of her shared vision of providing consistency for my kids.  IT WAS ALL WORKED OUT.

HR explained the board policy.  Its to provide consistency for the kids and in the best interest of the classroom to have one teacher for the duration of the leave.  I totally get this.  It serves many teacher's needs.  (heart attacks, accident hospitalizations, etc, etc.)  But it does NOT SERVE mine.

The board and myself have the exact same vision.  But because of the word "consecutive", I'm ineligible.

So here are my options:

"My Original Plan" would've resulted in drawing about 15 days from the sick leave bank between now and June 13.

1.  I can be docked without pay for the days I don't work.  So I will lose 2/5ths of my income, if I do what's best for my classroom.  This also results in a significant pay cut for my family, while we are in the middle of juggling a 1 million dollar cancer fight (with insurance THANK GOD!)

2.  I have my doctor write a letter revising the situation and stating I need to take the rest of the school year off for my treatments.  This results in drawing about 40 days from the sick leave bank between now and June 13.  40 days, that I believe I do not need, and will be taking away from others who do.  And keep 100% of my income.

So frustrated.  When I'm frustrated, I cry.  I was receiving my last day of A/C, a CELEBRATION, however crying while my husband made some calls to HR for me to get more information.  Because he is Superman.

I know, in the scheme of things, this is small potatoes. BUT THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN.  I'M A PLANNER!!!   I don't appreciate board policies getting in the way of what's best for my students and best for my balancing act with this cancer recovery.  I understand the policy is in place because someone has abused intermittent sick leave bank benefits in the past.  I AM NOT THAT PERSON.

I'm having a hard time not fixating on the unfairness of the situation.

Yesterday during chemo, my husband looked at me and said, "what are you thinking?"

I told him "I'm making a list of everything I should be grateful for in this moment, and trying not to be mad about the sick leave bank."  I made it to about 17.  All in all, life is good.

1.  Superman and his fix-it personality.  His tolerance.  His love.
2.  Superkids.  Their humor.  Their laughter.  Their questions.   Their normalcy.
3.  My family.  They're always looking for a job to do.  Sending me positive messages and gifts.
4.  My oncologist/nurses/hospital desk staff and their humorous tolerance of myself and superman at my treatments.  We talk a lot.  We tell them more information than they probably want to know.  And they are friendly and awesome through every bit of it.
5.  Friends constantly sending messages of love, and support.  sometimes in the form of music videos!
6.  My bosses.  Endlessly supportive and helpful.
7.  My co-workers:  hugs, smiles, emails, notes, couches, check-ins.
8.  My students:  my purpose and inspiration. smiles. well-wishes. secret surprise get-well parties.  hugs.
9.  My dogs.  Best get well arsenal ever.  Wonderful outlet for gentle exercise, going on walks.
10.  Yoga.
11.  Spring.
12.  Books and television.  Cancer information outlet.
13.  Books and television.  Non-cancer entertainment.
14.  Blankets.  Fuzzy Socks.  Pajama pants.  Head coverings.
15.  Look Good Feel Good program.  Gave me a stash of products to help me look normal. (like $200 worth of free stuff!!)
16.  NAPS
17.  Food:  fruits - bananas, berries, avocado, tomato; yogurt; smooothies; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; macaroni and cheese; grilled cheese sandwiches; spinach; peppers; carrots and ranch; hummus; lentil soup; egg sandwiches; omelets

Acceptance, Gratitude, Healing.


  1. wow....that does suck. I would hope they look at your situation and reconsider. Keep us posted!

  2. Superboss is working on it. But no guarantees.

  3. Your heros are pretty good at pulling through. :)