65. Trying to take control (and failing)

On the day of the appointment to discuss the DIEP with the lovely reconstruction breast care nurse we had had an Ofsted monitoring visit, so immediately after the appointment it was back to school.   My school was graded as “RI” requires improvement last March and since then the Principal and entire team have been working hard to improve outcomes for our students.  We’ve had a variety of visitors, many look at the data and think we should be in a different category, but when they come to see the students in classes, the teams working together they see more than the data – they see the community working to get year 11 over the line, to ensure that there is rigour, challenge, pace and enjoyment in lessons and to see that progress is being made.  The monitoring report is now available on line and it doesn’t paint the full picture, not least as the HMI is limited to using a certain number of statements and judgements.  One thing was clear the HMI would return in the Autumn term.

With this in mind I decided to write to Mr X to plead for the surgery to be sooner rather than later.  If my rebuild could be in the late Spring then I’d have the Summer term to recover, have a phased return in July and then the summer holidays to be in tip top condition for a September start.  I outlined this and my other reasons

  • Ofsted will return in the Autumn and I want to be in school and part of the team.
  • My classes are just about ready for the last preparations for their exams.
  • Physically the cannonball implant is hideously uncomfortable, feels as it it is made of concrete, is painful by the end of the day and I’d like it to go.
  • Psychologically I’d been preparing for the rebuild from September and had the dates of 20th/27th March in mind.

I knew it would be a long shot, and am aware that the NHS has limited resources, increasing demand and this surgery is elective yet…and yet….. and yet…..

So the letter was sent a month ago and there has been no response.  Maybe consultants don’t write direct to patients, maybe it goes through the GP or maybe there is no chance and no one actually wants to tell me.  So I decided to pluck up the courage and speak to Mr X’s secretary.  I phoned from school, spoke to a young man and was told I am now 14th on the list and “it could be July, could be August, could be September or…closer to Christmas”. I am beyond disappointed.  My plan once again is not the same as the NHS’s plan.  My glass is not half full, it is completely empty and cracked. My bag has been packed for a month.  I’ve asked to go on the short notice list… highly unlikely that this will happen given the nature of the rebuild.  Life is back in limbo… it is so difficult to plan anything – just in case.  Every day on my return from school I look to the post and the ansaphone – nothing yet.

Tip:  It is difficult to accept the fact that you have no control.  Feel free to feel disappointed. 

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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