View Full Version : GOSH, didn't know I was so bad

Linda From Australia
08-11-2010, 02:13 AM
When you are so passionate about something and it is stolen from you in such an ugly way - it is soul destroying.

I LOVE teaching Year 6, I LOVE my job, I LOVE MY life…..
I was called to the Principal’s office yesterday after school. Some parents are concerned about me, their kids are getting stressed out because me, and not happy and some don’t even want to come to school. I had a meeting with a parent representative today, and it is all true.

Before my Lupus diagnosis – 7 weeks ago - it has been made very clear to me by my Principal, other teachers, parents and students that, I am an outstanding teacher, very detailed, fight for those who are disadvantaged, and always go the extra mile for anyone, teach excellent subjects, the kids have improved in an exceptional manner, the parents am so happy I am their child’s teacher, basically, apparently I am the teacher you would want for your child..

BUT –APPARENTLY - Mostly this term, (all of nearly 4 weeks), and the last 2 weeks of last term, I have changed. I am not the same person that I was at the beginning of the year. I took the parents’ concerns seriously and brought it to the attention of the students in my class. I went to class, told the kids I have something very difficult to discuss with them, and I told them that I have been told that I have been hurting their feelings and causing them stress, then I apologised to them. I then did the very difficult task of asking them when I changed – and they hit the nail on the head. It started from the time I was diagnosed with Lupus, 7 weeks ago. They also were very clear that they know it is because I am so sick. And I said that is no excuse, I need to change and they need to help me to change.

So next, the most unbelievably difficult thing I could ever do was that I asked the kids to please tell me all the things I have done to cause them to be upset. With incredible hesitation by the students, and plenty of tears on my behalf, they poured their hearts out. They crucified me, BOY THAT WAS PAINFUL!! There were many students upset, not because of what I have been doing to them, but because they knew they were saying things that really upset me. They wanted to stop because they were upsetting me, but I said “If you don’t tell me I cannot change”. Then BAM!!! the pain went on.

MY GOSH! How can such a good teacher (not my words but words of teachers, parents and students), become such a crap teacher in just a few weeks. To summarise what the kids feel:
1. I am not as clear with my instructions as I was before, confusing the kids
2. I do not listen to their problems as much anymore
3. I am miserable, in pain and nauseous, not the usual happy energetic teacher
4. I am not as patient as I normally am

Ok so that was my last few days – My teaching career, my passion, my love, my life – has been stolen from me, because of Lupus. How can, in a few weeks, someone change so much? I knew my teaching was being affected, but not to that degree! So this is what is being done. The Principal and teachers are organising the time tables so I can cut down on my working hours. This is not what I want, but this is what I need. The staff at my school are a great support, they see me suffer every day, and are also shocked at the severity of how this disease has affected me. I think everyone is looking forward to the old teacher to return to school. I know this is just like giving birth – It is EXTREMELY painful, but it will get better, in a few months I hope – AND PRAY!!! (There are heaps of people praying for me)

OH MY GOSH – this is such a long post

08-11-2010, 02:59 AM
I sent you an IM.

Linda From Australia
08-11-2010, 03:04 AM
Thanks for the comment, but what is an IM?

08-11-2010, 03:14 AM
Instant Message. You know where at the top of the screen it has your name? Beside it says Notifications. Under Private Messages, it should say you have one.

08-11-2010, 06:33 AM

I think the fact that you are talking to your students, and are so concerned about them, shows that you are still a good teacher. You are a good teacher who has been enduring some pretty awful stuff as of late. There are many perfectly healthy people who do not perform up to a high standard in their job when they are perfectly capable of it. Then there are other people, people like you, who soldier on despite having a chronic, sometimes devastating illness such as Lupus.

I have changed too. I am not the same person I was back when I was healthy. My personality, my job skills, even my ability to do the simplest of things have all been radically altered. I've had to learn a new way of living that is within the limitations placed upon me by SLE, and MS. The adjustment has been very difficult, but I've learned new ways of doing things, and how to live my life and enjoy that life despite the illnesses. If I can do this, so can you.

You are still very early into your diagnosis, and I know how awful you feel right now, but please know that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, but the trip will be difficult. You are having a rough patch, but that does not mean you are no longer a good teacher. Lupus cannot take away the fact that you love what you do. It also cannot take away the fact that you care very much for your students. In time, things will get better. I know it's hard, but hang in there.


08-11-2010, 07:12 AM
I dont know what to say that will make you feel better, reading your post made my heart ache for you...but know that I understand those feelings and emotions that you are having lately...you are not alone!!! XOXOXO

08-11-2010, 08:57 AM
Dear Linda,

I really feel for you having been a teacher myself. I am retired now. It's like we have to be superhuman and "perfect" as teachers. It's a standard we can't live up to. We are only human. You have been and still are a good teacher. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

Angel Oliver
08-11-2010, 04:45 PM

I agree with what everyone has said here.Its early days and you will adjust to the illness,but it will be hard.I too have totally changed from who i once was.But like Rob said there is light at the end of the tunnel.You are a very caring person....sometimes cruel to me by not telling me about my favourite programme ......JOKE lol....Im sorry you were told about all these things from your principle,it must have hurt so much.But just take it one day at a time.You are sick and im glad your fellow teachers are praying for you.Just dont let it knock you too hard.Take it slow and know every one understands how it is.We are all here for you...ok!!
lots of love n gentle hugs

08-11-2010, 04:48 PM
Hi Linda, you *are* the teacher I'd to have teaching my children. They can learn a lot from a person of your character. I think it's great that you have the kids participating. They'll learn quite a bit from the experience too, and we're not talkin' some "curriculumed" book stuff. Life. As has been mentioned, you're just in a rough spot in the road right now. You'll get things settled on a routine and find your pace before long. We're rootin' and prayin' for you from here! Get all the help you can from the school's administration. Perhaps there's a mom or dad or 2 available who could come in and help you with some work around the classroom? They might be able to record grades for you, or copy tests or homework assignments or some-such... ??

Linda From Australia
08-12-2010, 03:06 AM
Thanks everyone for your kind words. I got everything approved today about slightly reducing my hours. I am always in my Principal's office letting him know when I need time off for appointments, letting him know I try to get them when I have student free periods, but he said not to worry just make appointments and he will get a relief teacher for me. We are going to review my hours at the end of the term and adjust them accordingly to what ever I need. He also said to go home when I have student free periods. We have organised that on Fridays I can go home at 10:30 after the first lesson and come in late on Wednesdays, to start teaching for the second lesson for the day at 10:45. Before school today I showed my Principal the new time schedule for me that a senior teacher and I worked on after school yesterday, and by the time the siren went for the beginning of the school day he told me he has already organised a relief tacher for me. I don't know how I would have coped if I worked at another school. And there was no mention of a pay reduction, especially since I take so much time off for appointments.

Anyway, how did I feel today - miserable. I was nauseous all morning, which felt a bit better after taking an anti-nausea tablet ... which made me so tired. I couldn't teach maths today because I was so sick, so I just gave the kids quiet independent work to do. I didn't want to go home because My Principal was at a funeral this morning and he was going to take my last lesson because I had another appointment to go to. And yesterday one of the senior teachers took a lesson for me so I could have a break because I was so sick. She actually told me to go home yesterday, but as usual, I stayed to teach my last lesson. I think I really have to take some time off if I am not feeling well, but I NEVER take sick leave and this is going to be a huge adjustment mentally for me.

I wonder if I will feel better in 6 months time when another school year starts. I may have to be pulled out of being a classroom teacher and do part time support work if I am not 100%. I hope there is work for me at the school, otherwise I am really going to be stuck big time! At the moment I am doing everything I need to do to make sure I get better. I just wish I knew when that will be. Thanks again for all your encouraging words.

08-12-2010, 12:41 PM
hi linda,

wow, what an incredible teacher you are....your students are very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from you. Not only do you teach the required subject matter, you teach them recognition, acceptance, communication, and problem solving....all within the realm of life's realities. I promise you, those kids that were involved in your "sit down and talk" session will always remember that class.

I too can completely understand what has happened in your life. I used to be mentally on top of the corporate game....now, i work a few days a week, and my job responsibilities are extensively reduced. I used to be happy with a huge laugh, now i just go through the day. There are occassions where i find myself laughing and enjoying life, but not as often as before.

I have found that my family and close friends can tell when i am going into a flare before i can....they say i get grumpy (did not even realize it).

You say you were diagnosed 7 weeks ago....are you on plaquenil? If so, many people suffer with stomach cramps and nausea for several weeks after starting the med. Give it a little time, and hopefully the stomach stuff will subside. I had a couple months of sheer agony with my stomach, but now, i don't have any problems.

Also, I found that the BRAT diet helped with my nausea....that is, bananas, rice, apples, and toast. When my stomach does have a bad reaction to medication, i go on a rice diet for a couple of days, and it really helps. Also, green apples are known for helping with nausea.

Don't beat yourself up. Your life will need to make some adjustments because of your illness, but (like rob said), you will find a way to balance everything. You have an incredible support group at school, and you just relax and let them help you.

Angel Oliver
08-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Yes i agree with Phyllis you are an amazing teacher and you will find a way to balance everything out.Dont think of the future jjust take one day at a time or you'll stress yourself out,thats what i do anyway.

Linda From Australia
08-12-2010, 10:52 PM
Thanks for your advice Phyllis. I take comfort to hear that it took you several months to get used to the Plaquenil. I am really trying hard to cope with the side effects, looking at my diet and have been put on anti-nausea medication. I am going to see a dietition to help me out as well. I have heard abut the BRAT diet, but for the past 2 months when I eat bananas and more so for apples (red, green, purple, blue, doesn't matter what colour) I suffer HUGE abdominal pain. SO that only leaves me with toast and rice. This will have to be white rice and bread because I don't need to have very much fibre before I explode.

OK, I have gone out and bought some bandaides, but I am not sure how to apply them. These are for the injuries from beating myself up, like you have all told me not to do. I have made an appointment to see a psychologist I see often for my daughter (autism). He is seeing me on Monday, so he can teach me how to use these bandaides. I am so independent, and never ask for help. I am so detailed and try to have everything organised to a high degree. I need to make sure everything is done properly (except my housework!). So having to admit that I am not coping is HUGE for me. But, I have made a start. I usually tutor a group of my students for free Monday afternoons after school for free, just to help them on a more personal way to increase their skills. I told them today I think it will be very wise if I stop tutoring them for the rest of the term (another 6 weeks). They were so upset, but I was tough, I stuck to my 'getting well principles' and said sorry, but no. They understood. They don't want to reduce my time, but I am not going to give in to my usual thinking (I will do whatever it takes to make sure my students get as much help as possible). Well actually, that is exactly what I said to them, If they want me to teach well, then I will if I teach them less subjects.

I have started my reduced hours, painful as it is to accept the fact I can't do my job properly anymore, it is a necessity. This is part of my recovery. OK this is starting to sound like a blog, but tough, read it or don't. It's time to have an afternoon nap before everyone gets home from work in 3 - 4 hours. What am I going to do during my time off work, basically nothing - just watching TV, sleeping, or just relaxing. Perhaps having a bath might be a good idea. But mostly, it will be filled with appointments.

08-13-2010, 03:04 AM
Linda, sorry I'm so late to tell you. We all need to adjust; I personally just finished the most stressful unmedical 2 days. I was ready to walk out on my job. I didn't.

Enough about me this is about you. You are lucky to have coworkers and a principal that are willing to work with you. Here are tons of hugs for you. You will adjust to the changes that are necessary.


08-16-2010, 08:02 PM
Oh Linda,
Your story really got to me, because it was so much like my own. I helped to open a new high school in 2002, and had the honor of designing the Latin program. Other than a few problems with Meniere's Disease, I was fine. A few years later, I got to the point where I could no longer use the stairs and had to use my cane to get around. I often fell in front of my classes, so I started explaining Meniere's and arthritis to my students at the beginning of each school year. If I fell, they would pick me up, turn me toward the white board and we would keep learning Latin.
As my health got worse, I developed Spasmodic Dysphonia, so I explained to my students why my voice would get weird sometimes. They would know when I was due to go get another Botox shot. During the last year that I taught, I used a wheeled walker, called a rollator, to get around. It was self-defense in the hallway, since we had over 3000 students in the school. I had knee surgery during winter break that year, and teaching was getting tougher and tougher for me. My students were wonderful. They were very understanding and protective of me. Like your students, I think that they really understood just how sick I was getting.
In March of 2009, my husband received notice from the AF that he had been accepted into a very special PHD program at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. It was hard for me to turn in my resignation, but I realized that my body had been telling me that it was time. I helped the school to locate another Latin teacher (not always an easy task) and I gifted him with all of my lesson plans. That program was my baby for 7 years - it was hard to let go.
We've moved to Ca and I've started a whole new life. I rest a lot more, but I try to stay involved in life - that's why I'm involved in the Officer Students Spouses' Club.
Many of my former students keep in touch with me on Facebook. One boy even writes to me from Afghanistan. One of my young ladies recently made me cry. She wrote to me to tell me that she had been accepted into the Air Force Academy pre-med program. She wanted me to list each of the ailments that I suffer from so that she could research them. She promised me that she would try to be the med student who would discover the cures for my diseases, in my honor! I'm crying just thinking about it!
So, Linda - take care of yourself and do what your body is telling you that you must do. Just know that you have made an impact on those students and they will remember you for it.
Lots of Hugs,

Linda From Australia
08-16-2010, 10:33 PM
Thank you Marla for your comments. I went to see a physchologist last night and he told me that there is not just one way to teach, I have to find different ways of teaching. If I have problems, then there are other ways of doing things. He gave me a few tips and I have them on my teacher's desk for me to refer to. I am going to see him every 2 weeks for a while and discuss some more strategies, until I start feeling better. He also told me that I don't have to be a super teacher all the time, but it is very hard to adjust.

08-22-2010, 05:18 AM
Hi Linda
how are things progressing for you? Is it any easier for you now?

Linda From Australia
08-23-2010, 01:02 AM
Thanks Nonna for checking up on me. I am applying a few strategies the Psychologist suggested, and it makes things easier. I am writing heaps of notes in my daily work pad (where you plan your daily lessons) so I don't forget things. I google some concepts that just pop out of my mind just at the crucial time. And I tell the kids that we can look further into it the next day, so it gives me another day to make sure I know what I am doing. I think the major problem for me is that I feel sick and tired all the time, so of course, I cannot function as well as I used to. But I am trying not to beat myself up all the time and making some strategies to cope with challenges when I face them. I slept really well last night, from 8:30pm - 6:30am this morning. Today I have been a little more alert, but I am developing a cold. My husband reminded me that I took some head cold tablets before I went to bed last night and some of the ingredients make you drousy and sleep well. So may be I might take some more tablets tonight so I can get another good nights sleep.

I am seeing a dietition on Wednesday, so I am hopeful she can have some suggestions as well to help me overcome, or live wih the constant nausea and YUK feeling. AND NO! I AM NOT PREGNANT!!!!

08-23-2010, 04:27 AM
Would you believe I had a reply all typed in and my itouch went blank. don't know what happened. so I'm going to see if I can remember what I said. ......... I completely understand about teaching. I'm the only one in a family of teachers who does not teach. Family dinners also consisted of talking about school and the different situations that everyone got into. Accounting is not so different, with the deadlines I have memory is very important. I keep a notepad on my desk and make lists with keywords to jump start my memory.

Phyllis suggestion about the BRAT diet is a good one. I find the macaroni & cheese works really good for me even though the doctor says to stay away from dairy products.

and I don't guess about pregnancies ever since someone asked this fat lady if she was pregnant. I saw how upset she got so I don't ask or think it until someone says yes they are?

Hope you're getting a good nights sleep as I just got up about an hour ago.
Nonna,,,,,,,,,,,,, still twitching away as much as ever

08-23-2010, 06:17 AM
dear linda i am sorry you are feeling sick and having trouble adjusting i found it hard as well i was so used to doing things myself and not asking for help that when i was diagnosed and feeling unwell i found it hard to cope even though i was a stay at home mum and carer to my autistic daughter and sick husband you find it hard to release your control on things especially when you have routines you need to follow i to have trouble with the medications having nausea and stomach problems i am on prednisone and plaquenil and mexotrexate they all have there side affects i take stemetil for the nausea. my diet consists of jellies and broths when i am sick. i also write things down now in diaries and on whiteboards as my memory is not what it used to be. i think you are wonderful doing what you do and if seeing phycologist helps well i think what ever makes you feel better and helps you cope is worth it. i am learning that there is no shame in asking for help sometimes we just need a helping hand and i am glad you are getting the support you need. hope things get better for you soon my fellow aussie i will be thinking of you many hugs kim l

08-24-2010, 10:51 AM
From reading all that, I say you're a GREAT teacher no matter what, and you also have great kids too.

08-24-2010, 01:37 PM
Hey Linda,

I am so sad that things are rough for you right now but excited that you have such a great support group amongst your colleagues. I also work with youth and I really try very hard to keep my health from disrupting my time with them. Take care of yourself. Debate if taking time off will mean that your body can heal up for later. I sometimes need to take a full day off and then I can do more taxing things later in the week.

08-24-2010, 02:38 PM
hi linda,

you are making substantial progress in your learning process. I remember shortly after i was diagnosed, i felt like i was standing in the middle of a tornado and my life and future were spinning out of control all around me. I was so scared....then, once i started learning how to live a new life, things started getting somewhat easier. The most important lesson that i learned was to quit beating on myself when i felt like i was not living up to my own personal expectations. that one was very difficult, but i soon realized that by learning to live differently, i was actually achieving my expectations....so i realized that my changes did not mean i was a failure, but that i am a survivor and an achiever.

also, if you have found something that helps you get some sleep on those difficult nights, i think that is outstanding. I can't take sleeping pills, because they cause me to have nightmares, so on those bad nights, i take a muscle relaxer, and say goodnight. There are others here at the forum who take night time cold medicine for sleep. if you want some other suggestions, just start a thread, and everyone will tell you what works for them.

hope you are having a good day. (i guess it is night there)

Linda From Australia
08-25-2010, 04:54 AM
I found out on Friday that I had Diverticular disease, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. The Gastro doctor told me to eat more fibre and not to get constipated because being constipated is the reason why I could have got this disease. I said I never get constipated, have a very healthy diet and I cannot eat any more fibre because I get diarrhoea very easy. I also told him that I am seeing a dietition and he was pleased about that.

Today I saw a dietition and she said one of the symptoms is regular diarrhoea and I was right, I cannot eat any more fibre. Gee imagine if I ate more fibre, I would be in hospital because I would have made my insides explode with the extra fibre - BOOM - and hopefully in front of the Gastro doctor who assumed I caused this disease because of poor eating habits.

Gee some doctors make me so mad! The first doctor told me I had Lupus, my immune system is destroying my own cells, there is no cure and I have this disease for the rest of my life, and take these tablets and see him in 6 weeks. Now Gastro doctor told me to eat more fibre - potentially causing me to explode into a million pieces. Why don't they just give their patients a little bit of information - HELLO - I have been to university - I can understand some things and make some changes in my life.

OK - sooking over - The dietitian was really nice, looked at my diet and said it is excellent. She told me to keep eating small meals every 2 hours to help with the nausea, and to cut out all fats, because it works as a laxative for me. She also said to change from Vitabrits to Wheetbix because Wheetbix has added iron in it. She is seeing me in 2 weeks. And the best thing was, the consultation didn't cost me a thing, it was bulk billed, Medicare paid for it all because I am on a GP's Chronic Patients Management Plan, and Medicare covers all allied Health appointments.

I am still having some trouble at school, but remember what you have all been telling me, I need to make adjustments. So I know this is happening, and I accept it, and not stress. I do not feel as upset, and I seem to be able to think more clearly to rectify the difficulty I have. So, stress really makes things worse. I just say in my head - oops, and fix it up. Very mechanical, no emotion - hey presto - so much better that feeling down about it.

I see the Rheumatologist on Friday, so hopefully he can start sorting out my kidneys, and see what else can make my joints feel better. Thanks for all you advice, it has really helped.

08-25-2010, 05:04 AM

There are no words to say how sorry I am that you are going through this. Just remember that you are not alone. Many of us are in the same position as you so post away! We will understand. A gentle {{Hug}} for you this morning

Linda From Australia
08-25-2010, 05:09 AM
Thanks, and by the way, big hugs - squishy hugs - bear hugs are also good you know. I haven't started steroids yet (possibly on Friday) so my bones aren't brittle yet.

08-25-2010, 04:32 PM
Hugs linda

08-25-2010, 08:08 PM
Hugs from me, too.
School can be stressful - I'm glad that you are able to make adjustments and de-stress a bit.

Linda From Australia
08-27-2010, 07:04 PM

I had my first Rheumatology appointment yesterday. Because I have been feeling so sick with the Plaquenil, he told me to take the tablet at night time for a week. If that doesn't work after a week I am to cut the dose in half. Hopefully that will fix my constant nausea. This morning I was nausea free, for the first time in over 2 months. I took my 200mg tablet yesterday morning and I will take the next dose tonight.

He sent me off the get a new set of blood tests. Along with tests to have a clearer picture of what is happening to my kidneys (blood, urine, ultrasound). He also wants me to have a bone density test before I start steroids. If my kidneys are not too bad he will treat me, otherwise he will send me to a kidney doctor. He said he is hoping I will be all better by the end of the year, so that is what I am focussing on. My next appointment is in 3 weeks, September 17.

I have already lost 4 kg in 2 months, and the dietitian said it would be good to loose at the very most, another 4kg. So my goal is to loose 1kg every 2 to 3 weeks, before I pile it all on again when I start taking the steroids. By that time I should be pretty fit, healthy and just about the right weight.

08-27-2010, 08:54 PM
I'm glad that you are getting your bones checked out before taking steroids. They can cause osteonecrosis, or AVN. I have AVN without ever taking steroids, but I sure can never take them. That's why my rheumy went straight to the MTX.

08-28-2010, 08:06 AM
So sorry to hear of your difficulties medically and professionally. Just take things one day at a time and eventually they work themselves out. It seems overwhelming at first with all of the new diagnosis, terminology and appointments. It will become a bit "easier" as things go along, or at least I hope they will for you.

Linda From Australia
08-28-2010, 04:24 PM
I had such a fantastic day yesterday - nausea free. I am assuming it is because of the transition of changing the time I take my Plaquenil. So I missed yesterday's morning dose and took it last night instead. Today I woke up feeling a bit YUK, and now after breakfast I feel a bit worse. OH WELL.... at least I had one day of not feeling sick. My husband noticed as well, he said my whole face looked different. I have a week of seeing if taking my medication at night time makes me feel better, if not, then I will cut the dose in half.

08-28-2010, 10:05 PM
I've found that eating Greek yogurt (the real stuff, without added sugar and junk) helps to settle my stomach if the Plaq gives me grief.

Linda From Australia
08-28-2010, 10:50 PM
I think I remember you saying about getting Greek yoghurt another time Marla. When I went to the shops yesterday to buy the usual vanilla diet no fat yogurt, I remembered about the Greek yogurt you suggested but I was not sure which one to buy. So, if there is any one that is good I will try that. But the brands will be different over here though. I usually freeze it and eat around 200g for morning tea, it helps to settle my tummy a bit.

08-29-2010, 05:43 AM
hi linda sorry to hear you are having trouble with plaquenil i take mine morning and night usually with a gluten free rice cracker or just some jelly i also take mexotrexate and i know it makes me ill so i have to take stemetil hope you work out what dosage is best for you and feel better soon hugs kim l

Linda From Australia
09-17-2010, 04:33 AM
I went to the Rheumy today knowing the count down was over and time to start my first dose of Prednisone had come. My Rheumy couldn't believe that my kidney function had improved, and he has no idea how that happened!!!! WOW fancy that! So he just wants to wait and see what happens. My kidney function is at the lowest level of normal Yippee!!! Now I just have to wait for everything else to get back to normal.

09-18-2010, 09:32 AM
What great news!!! I love it when doctor's are stumped in our favor (lol). I hope that the improvements continue.

Peace and Blessings

09-24-2010, 04:39 AM
Hi Linda.. glad you are winning!! Doctors are not always right.. I learnt that the hard way... just do what YOU think feels right. Only you know how you really feel and you know what is working for you. Best of luck.