Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time Traveling

First let me begin by saying yes I know it is late or early for some 3:33 AM. I am having a bad night physically. I am sure by now most of those that read this know I had my 20 year class reunion in August. What most did not know at that time was about a week before I heard the words that altered my life and shook me to the core as nothing ever before or since. The doctor came in the room and gently and softly said she was sorry but the mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI all showed that I had one rather large tumor and another that was not as big. They did the biopsy and again the doctor came in the room and said I have an aggressive stage 2 breast cancer. OK now I had to figure out how to process this. I couldn't. I didn't tell anyone, literally no one. Hell, no one even knew I had a mammo. Slowly I began to tell a very small circle of people I felt I could really trust. I was referred to a cancer care center and I have since had surgery and it was discovered that there was actually a third. The problem was it was growing between the collarbone and the breastbone. Like being wedged in. Now my doctor who is wonderful began to consult with other docs to figure out how to remove it without breaking or fracturing the bone because of the high concentration of cancer cells the chance of them getting into the bone according to the docs would only have given me maybe a 30% survival rate. The next surgery they did it with 3 surgeons in the room. I was terrified going into the OR but felt confident. I have since had many more imaging tests and they showed that there was part of that tumor they did not get. So it is still there. I have been going through radiation therapy and it is exhausting. It scares me and puts things in a perspective that I have never had before.
Now to the time traveling. Tonight first, I am in physical pain, and to be honest emotionally I am not in a good place. I have lived a colorful life to say the least. I fear that if this tumor is unable to be taken care of I don't what my life expectancy is. I have learned over the years of my colorful life to smile and just act as if nothing is wrong. I am very good at that, mastered it. Tonight I am having a bad night. There are so many things I want to do and kids I want to help and future teachers to help them understand kids as I was. Therefore, it has thrust me into a place that I am unfamiliar with. So I have begun to share my life story with future teachers. I did so on Tuesday to a group of college students specifically going to be special education teachers, which I was a sped kid too hyper and smart for my own good. I don't know if it the docs can get this into remission or not I don't know how much time I have on this earth no one does and I have decided that it is time to share my story with those it can help. I have the help of a former teacher which is a HUGE blessing. I couldn't do it alone. It is still difficult. I tire very quickly. It's like taking someone who lives their live at a 100 miles an hour and taking them to 50 mph instantly. That has been the hardest adjustment. There are times I am still in denial that this is even happening to me. I feel like I brought it upon myself because of things I have been through in my life. It doesn't matter if it was willing or not I still feel it is my fault and I brought all this on myself.
Due to speaking to these college students has sent me on a journey that is difficult but I want my message to get out to many people as possible so when they become teachers or whatever they will have a greater understanding of those kids that have live a life similar to mine. I want other kids to not have to experience things I did in school or home. The problem with that is it brings it all back to that moment. The time it happened, my mind goes back to that age and I feel it as if it is happening all over again. Now with the cancer my perspective on life. I need to share my life so others can learn learn from it. I will do anything I need to do regardless of how difficult it is. I can handle the physical pain; the emotional pain is more challenging. Sharing my life story is even more difficult.
My perspective on life has changed and I don't know what it holds for me. Will I live or die from the cancer. I am terrified to share it but I will do it through the terror. It is not easy thank God; I have a friend that helps me through the hard parts. She is a blessing in my life and was in sixth grade. She just didn't know it then. I hope she knows it now.
This person does not get everything I have been taught to believe but that is OK. Sharing my life with a group of strangers let me tell you it challenging, but this person challenges me in ways no one has done before.
I don't know that my future holds, but I am going to do as much as I can and make s much of a difference as I can. I know that I need to share my life with people and as hard as it is, I will do it. I will do whatever it takes to make a difference for all the kids like I was. You can look back at other blogs I have written to see what some of those are.
Maybe it is the medicine my defences are down I am taking, but I feel compeled to share just a few instinses. (I edited somethings out here in case my young neice or nephews see this) I have had some awful experiences with former teachers. However, I have survived it all. Not without repercussions, but what can you expect when I basically raised myself. I have compassion for people more don't. My life isn't that bad there are bright spots, my parents aren't bad parents, nor were all my teachers were horrible only 2 in particular.
This whole cancer thing and speaking to future teachers has caused me to think differently. Life is precious and I try to make a memory of everything that I do.
Tonight is a tough night for me. I am feeling very discouraged tonight, not to mention the physical pain tonight. I put a smile on my face and just continue on as if everything is just fine with me. Even when it's not. Which is now. I am afraid to tell people the latest result of all the imagine tests.
My life is what it is. I can't change it, but I can help others with it. I am fighting to beat this but there are times I feel I just can't do it. Thank God for good friends, a great doctor, and the prayers that are going forth for me. I have never run from a fight or backed down from a challenge. I am tired of the pain and and being tired. I am still feisty and there are days I feel I can beat this and other days that that I want to through up my hands in defeat and just let the cancer take its course.
If my life story will help one future teacher or save one kid, it's worth it. I had never shared it with anyone until speaking to the university students until that evening. I walked away from the college students was a milestone for me. Being told you have aggressive breast cancer everything. I will say that it puts thing about life in a completely new perspective.
When I was talking to the college student it really, it was difficult. They seemed respectful of my life. I pushed myself harder to get the job done.
So I do have pain and but to save 1 kid or help 1 sped teacher it's all worth it. So the physical pains groans on, I have a smile on my face, this time traveling through my life as hard but continue I must.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Response to school district tax levy issue

To all the proud, No voters at the last school board meeting. How proud you must be. No band or orchestra in 6th grade, no band lessons in high school, higher athletic fees, loss of teachers and aides, cutting librarians, program support teachers, gifted and talented teacher cuts at all levels, increase in class sizes 35 – 40 and mandatory one additional class to be taught, getting rid of 1 east and west teacher and replace them with an aide. Wait let's not forget counseling services, school social workers, athletic directors, dean of students at McLane, possibly eliminating a principal position at elementary level, all gone without a tax levy.

Hang on there's more beautiful things the no's I am sure are proud to stand behind. The elimination of business and technology departments and all classes go too. Middle school exploratories, world culture and tech ed. Elementary fitness, which the no's can scream about childhood obesity and laziness of our youth but still use TV and video games as babysitters. Makes sense right? Sure, sarcasm was needed there.

The most humorous part was reducing the school week to 4 days and increasing the hours per day to 9.5 to 10 hours those 4 days. Show me a school age kid that will sit in a classroom in a teachable frame of mind for that many hours and I will show you a kid that is over stimulated from hours at school and extra homework demands from it, beyond exhausted up most of the night doing homework or work and homework, plus the after school extra-cirriculars they may get home by 8 or 9 maybe. Now you also have a weekday without school but parents would still be working, which creates a higher demand on the family budget for daycare or babysitter for the younger ones, and more time for the older ones to watch TV or play those video games all day eating I am sure very nutritious snacks that will not add to the obesity issue. I am sure those video games are very educational teaching all kinds of good things relating to all the cuts of classes the schools would have to make. Maybe they will go to the public library to check out all the porn they have head so much about lately, the horror…

Before you go and holler about the schools needing more money take the time to find out why and what drastic measures they will have to take to get it otherwise. Don't just educate yourself from just the conservative aspect; look at the liberal side as well. Somewhere in the middle is the answer. We all know that these are fiscally tough times for every family but to push it onto our children's shoulders and the effect it would have on them in the future for college entrance or employment if kid wants to go into business or the tech industry we would be sending them to college or out into the world much farther behind than other districts. Our kids would be at a severe disadvantage competitively they wouldn't make it past the first cut. Think about that. Talk to an educator as I did, ask them what they think about this and how they think it would impact their ability to continue the quality education they give our kids now with longer days, less teachers and aids, no counselors or social workers to offer student support, higher class sizes and more classes to teach. Ask that educator if all of these cuts are done and they don't get a salary increase for all the extra time they would be mandated to teach added classes that if another district offered them a job with the same responsibilities but a salary increase would they go. Let me answer that for many of them, in a second. Try to find quality educators to come and teach in West Bend when we get a reputation for not caring about our kid's futures and ability to merge into adult society successfully.

Stop thinking about this as what this levy would do to you, and ask yourself what it would do to all the kids. Is $100.00 bucks or so a year worth under educating them? No! Take the 10 bucks a month you spend on fast food, coffee, case of soda, or something and set it aside at the end of the year you will be up $200.00 bucks.

The district did not set out secretly planning ways to 'get' the taxpayers. The district was put in this mess by the state cutting their funds without telling them before this year's budget had to be completed. Pat Herdrich or any other school official is not trying to screw anyone or squeeze more money out of people to spend on extra candy vending machines or so the admin and teachers can give themselves all raises and fly to Europe for fun. They are asking for it so classes are not cut, teachers let go, and in the end, the students are the ones left with the consequences. This is defiantly a NEED not a WANT.