While an assistant principal and in my 29th year, I had surgery for a 30 pound malignant tumor in my lower abdomen, followed with 320 hours of chemotherapy. I did not seek disability. I returned and completed my 30th year and retired.
On the last day of school in 2007, I received the dreaded telephone call from my oncologists to inform me my lyposarcoma had returned in my groin area. After further tests, it was discovered I also had a second type of cancer, Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had successful surgery on both areas. The follow-up treatment required chemo -- again -- and radiation. While going through chemo and radiation, I continued to teach, taking only the day after chemo off from school to regain my strength.
I get a charge out of working with kids. The more difficult the student, the bigger the challenge. For this moment, I am cancer free. Believe me, I fully understand that I am only as good as my next CT scan. I will have one later this fall. The oncologist has explained to me that there may never be a reoccurrence of this disease. If it does return, it should follow the same pattern as last time and be very slow growing.
When I saw your newsletter regarding the January 1st, 2009 deadline, I knew this affected me directly. Butler Tech does not offer health coverage to "rehired" teachers. I have spoken by telephone to several private health insurance carriers. Their responses have been "of course, we will give you coverage FOR everything BUT cancer." Due to all of my health screenings, I have tried to explain that I am probably the healthiest person in the room.
I would like to offer the following suggestions for you to consider:
1. I should be able to pay FULL monthly premiums on my retired wife's STRS health insurance as any other husband is allowed.
2. Start the rehire health coverage plan effective only for teachers who switch jobs or start working after January 1st, 2009. That would "grandfather" those who were not able to consider this situation.
3. Allow present rehires time to finish this school year, 2008-2009, with health insurance coverage.
I believe these are very logical and reasonable suggestions. I would strongly suggest a blend into new procedures and guidelines.