So I’ve been home for almost a month after quitting my teaching job in Spain and cancelling my trip to Asia because my mom was diagnosed with Stage Two Breast Cancer. So she had surgery and now she has to go back and probably do some chemo. This isn’t the best news but it could be worse. The doctors are still optimistic for an eventual recovery. And it has been quite a process to get from Madrid, Spain to Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
Quitting my job
I told my boss via text about my mother’s cancer and e-mailed her the diagnosis. Now why did I have to send my mother’s diagnosis? Because there has been more than one occasion where teachers wanted to leave the program early and lied about an illness or death. Talk about bad juju?
Now my head master was worried about not making up the hours and I rudely replied, “That’s not my problem. My mom has cancer.” Other than that my last week at the school was an overwhelming amount of people coming to me and expressing their sadness and asking for an explanation of my situation. People I hadn’t talked with much, people I didn’t work with. It was nice to feel that support but I just was sick of talking about it. A hug is okay but that lines of people asking for details especially when I just know them. It made me glad that when my father had cancer, I didn’t tell anyone but my boyfriend and immediate family. I just didn’t want to talk about it. My life doesn’t haven’t revolve around cancer.
I think after this situation I realised when I comfort people just say “I’m sorry.” This whole “call me if you need me,” is just a hallow bullshit promise unless we are actually friends or family but chick I met at a concert that one time, I’m not calling for anything! And this whole, “what’s going on?” It’s no one’s business and you can ask someone else or Facebook posts. There’s no need to ask someone to explain shit again and again and again. I’d have to explain my mom’s cancer at least five times a day at the school. It didn’t help me feel optimistic.
Telling My Students
I told my five-year-old students and they got in a line to give me kisses. They even got their little rubber stamps and stamped my arm because that’s what I do for them when they are being good. I didn’t tell the four or three-year-olds because they are too young to really understand what was happening.
My primary students were super upset. They begged me to come back next year and I felt so bad that I was leaving. One said that she was going to have nightmares without me. They gave me giant group hugs.
Then of course the middle school students didn’t give a s*** but whatever.
It was hard leaving my students because I had thought about renewing. At the end of the day, teaching is not something I wanted to do permanently. Also, with my mom, I don’t wnt to be an ocean away.
Telling My Friends in Spain
I only have a hand full of friends in Spain. I had dinner with some of them and one girl said, “I’ll be praying for your family.”
“But you’re an atheist.”
“You know what I mean,” I mean I do but it just sounded so hallow and fake to say you’ll pray for me when you don’t pray. But everyone gave me hugs and asked for updates.
I had another group of friends that just took me to a beautiful rooftop bar for cocktails and that was a beautiful good-bye. We just talked and drank with no hallow sentiments.
The thing is other than Facebook, I don’t want to have to keep updating people. Like I post it, then I move on. It’s not like at home with my mom all we talk about is cancer. We talk about it when we are making decisions then go about our days and things. I’m not going to make a f***ing newsletter for people. Check my Facebook posts or don’t but stop asking me for information especially if we aren’t that close.
Cancelling My Trip
Always buy the flight insurance! I didn’t and I lost a lot of money. My mom bought the travel insurance and she didn’t lose much money. So just buy the insurance! Learn from my mistakes because life happens. I was very happy though, that G Adventures is keeping all of my money as credit plus they gave me an extra $40 as a sorry-your-mom-has-cancer-but-you-should-still-use-us! They were so kind and I definitely want to use that credit come January. G Adventures and Tour Radar were so kind about getting everything cancelled and giving me credit. I was very impressed with them.
The first surgery went fine. She was a little sick from the anaesthesia but after I put some eucalyptus under her nose her nausea went away. She was back to normal in a week. It was a great recovery. However, when we found out that my mom’s cancer had spread to her lymph nodes my Facebook broke. All my cousins were crying. We just got a bouquet of sorry-you-have-cancer flowers. I have people I haven’t talked to since high school saying they are praying for me. It’s been a great amount of support but everyone needs to calm down. It’s still stage two cancer, it’s still super treatable and there’s a chance that we can even skip chemo. The doctors and my family are still optimistic.
As of Now
I’m holding off on getting a job until August so I can help my parents. Asia is on hold. If my mom is better by October we might go together, if not I might go alone for just a month and use up my flight and tour credits while I can. But so far, our doctors have been optimistic, our family and friends have been supportive and as a family we are doing fine. But as this process progresses, my life still doesn’t have to revolve around cancer, it’s just something I have to deal with once in awhile.