73: It’s just another manic Monday.

The weekend was over, my lessons for the week had been planned on Sunday evening and I had to set cover for year 10.  This class… 21 boys and 3 girls – they had been hard work all year but we’d turned a corner and had developed a grudging mutual respect.  They have talent, they just need to channel it, I was going to start the lesson then they’d be working with a cover colleague, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

It was the usual routine, alarm, green tea, shower, suit on, lanyards, bag – walk to work, drop bag in office, run up to the top corridor, strong coffee and leadership team briefing. We discussed an event from the weekend involving a vulnerable student, how to support this young person, planned for the upcoming activities including curriculum enrichment days at the end of the week involving different trips off site, activities on site and the plan for those students who hadn’t signed up, how to deal with the sweltering weather and how to ensure the school kept going with a focus on learning for the next two weeks until the end of term. My mind kept wandering to being picked up at 12.00 to get to the Nuffield Hospital to meet with Mr A and the breast care reconstruction nurse who would be my advocate.

The morning passed quickly.  I started the year 10 lesson at 11.20am, half the class were away on work experience and the rest wanted to know why I’d miss part of the lesson.  I told them and they wanted to know who’d cover me and for how long.  My colleague turned up – the students knew what they were doing and off I went.  Nick picked me up from the front of school and he drove me to the Nuffield Hospital (in his quiet electric car) for the meeting.  Parking at his hospital was easy, we signed in to out patients, made our way to the first floor where the next receptionist invited us to have tea or coffee and take a seat – the reading material here consisted of “The Lady” and broadsheets, not trainspottters’ weekly as in the Primrose Breast Care Centre.  The BCN soon arrived and we hugged.  I had my usual uniform/armour on and the trusty breast cancer folder with a new set of questions for Mr A.

We all went into the office and met and sat down.  Mr A was charming and explained that he spoken with Mr X and what options were available including taking material from my shoulder and adding another implant and the  DIEP which he described as an “assault” on the body.  The next thing was the usual… top off, bra off, lie down – examine the breast and cannonball (Mr A could feel the capsular contraction where scar tissue had built up around the implant) then look at my tummy.  All those pilates classes had paid off, I was asked if I could raise both legs… I could and my core was strong.  I also had enough tummy fat to make a new boob. The DIEP is the gold standard and despite it being called an assault I felt mentally and physically prepared.  Mr A was happy, I was happy, BCN was happy, Nick was happy… it was good to go.  See you at 7.30am tomorrow.

It was back to school – share the news and finalise all the last jobs ready to handover.  My Principal gave me a hug and told me to go for it, the Vice Principal said not to worry about my lessons as he’d done a timetable to cover me for the end of term and the first few weeks of the new Autumn Term as the recovery period is 12 weeks.  I finished my final tasks, sent the last couple of emails, tidied my office, said my goodbyes and off I went.  Home by 5.30pm and by 6pm I was back in school to do Pilates.  I’d said to Mr A that I’d try to bake something for the team but the truth was I was too tired after pilates and it was easier to walk up to the Co-op in Stoke Village and buy a variety of cakes to take to them the next morning.  Mr A had said don’t bring them anything as it makes his team sleepy but I thought they must have something for a break during the 8 hour op.

After supper I packed my bag and then laid out the bits and pieces I thought I’d need for each day ready for Nick to bring up. We went up to bed early.  Tomorrow would be a big day.


Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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