Feeling ignored

I told work today that I was having brain surgery in June. Since I am a teacher, I wanted them to know it is possible I could be late coming back to school in August be sure I have no idea how much time or if I need half time. Who knows? No one said a word. No one said hope you are okay. Just ignored it.
I realize people who don’t have one, don’t understand, but ir sucks. It makes me feel alone.
I am not looking for sympathy. I am not. I just want to be acknowledged. I know now that my surgery is only a month away, I feel more anxiety and it makes me feel alone.

People often don’t know how to respond. One thing I can assure you, after your experience you will be very supportive of others. I have someone in my life with cancer, and people closer to her than me don’t keep in touch with her as they should. She always says I give her the most support and remember all her important tests, appts, etc. It often takes having a serious medical issue to understand and enpathize, and to know what to say and when to say it.


I know it is me being sensitive and I am tying to rewrite my will and that is nerve wracking. It will all be better soon.

BIG +1 for this response.
Some thought I needed sympathy and I was drowned in sympathy ie ‘Ohh, you poor thing…’ What I actually needed was empathy/understanding. I’m sure I went over and over it all repeatedly, but that was me trying to process it all for myself, sort it out in my own head (No pun intended). Some interpreted this as self pity. That was not my intent.

I also have to agree with @Judi in that others who have never been here often have no idea what to say or when to say it, often out of fear of saying the wrong thing, so they say nothing. I told one colleague, an older lady, I was having brain surgery, she looked shocked but then said “ohh, that will be nice dear…” and walked away. Nice? NICE?!! I could think of a million words to call it all. ‘Nice’ was not one of those words.

Then you have others who try to take over your role and although they maybe doing so with the best intentions it often undermines us. Some are ‘trying’ to be supportive but wrap you up in cotton wool, like you are fragile. At times it’s all rather demeaning. And then you have others who walk away like "Well, that’s your battle, not mine…;’ showing no concern for you at all. For me personally, I think the worst was me catching 2 female colleagues having an in depth conversation about my health, about the impact on me and about the opportunities it may open up for them if the impact was negative. Like they were praying for a negative. (I think that was part of me pushing myself to recover, I was determined not to give them the satisfaction). I did return to that role and out lasted both of those female colleagues :stuck_out_tongue:

I was the sole male in a female workplace with 15 women, so the opportunity to openly and comfortably discuss were limited. I had a diary and started writing down some of those thoughts, basically to get them out of me. I was finding that I’d get stuck rolling the same question over and over. It would drive me nuts, so I’d write them down with the idea I’d go looking for answers later. Some I did investigate further, but for some, once I ‘got them out of me’, the concern passed, somewhat. I also found I was repeating myself a lot, almost like I had a script I was reading out verbatim. The reality was I was still trying to process it, work through it all myself. Some understood that, others never will.

Not that it always helped, but I’d ask myself “What can I do?” if there was something I could do, then that was on me to follow through with. But most of it was out of my control, it was up to the dr’s, the medical team, I had no control over any of that. I had no choice, I had to accept that. Now, I’m a bit of a control freak. I am in control of ‘Me’, for me to hand that control over was not easy. I had a real battle with that (and a couple of heated Q&A sessions with Dr’s.) I wanted to know everything. Once I could process it, have some sort of grasp of the who-when-where and what of it all, I could be, somewhat, at peace. Don’t get me wrong here, I was still a ball of stress, a calmer ball of stress possibly :wink: .
I just wasn’t going into it blind.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

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When we look for empathy, it can be really difficult to find. Most people can do sympathy but don’t understand the difference between the two. One of our neighbors at our previous home passed away unexpected recently and when I called her husband to ask if he needed anything he said he didn’t want anyone in his home, he was tired of people saying they were sorry. I get it and it is trying to have to hear it over and over again, so I just say death sucks but only for the living. It’s something I came up with after I ruptured and told the Priest when he was giving last rites to my Dad😂

I think updating a will is always a good idea, having a will is wonderful. We never know when that Mac truck is going to hit us. Good for you! I hope more members take the time to read your posts and understand the importance of compassion, empathy and doing a will.

I totally agree with everything @Judi wrote, people don’t know what to say but you will become a more empathetic person. I believe it’s the Universe’s way of keeping compassion in society, sort of like the movie “Pass it Forward”. When we go through trial by fire, it gives us a greater understanding of life and we are better able to pass it forward. Hang in there, come and talk to us whenever you need to, everyone here understands.


@Abbycat70 You are not alone. I too after my rupture and was home I did not hear from any of my colleagues for a long time. I work at a school too. It is strange how people react to you before and after a life changing event. It’s true people don’t know what to say because they can’t begin to understand what you are going through. Just know we are all here for you!! :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:


Hey there, it can feel like a bit of a lonely journey, but you are not alone and the existence of this community lets you know that.

I understand about the wait for the surgery as well. I waited a month and a half before my surgery was performed and found great help in some meditation videos that focused on healing. It is a unique thing to experience, and when I tell people that I survived an aneurysm that didn’t rupture, they just sort of look at me and smile. Unless you’ve experienced it, you really don’t know what that means.

We are here with you and blessings for a successful surgery.


How long before you went back to school,?

@Abbycat70 I have not returned yet. I still find noise and lights bothersome. Being in a classroom with teenagers would be too overwhelming for me. I prefer to work one on one with students in a separate quiet setting. I have a couple of students that come see me after school but that is it. The last time I went into the school (a couple of weeks ago) was overwhelming. My option to return to work is to work at an alternate school with less students and more online. That is hopefully in September. I know I am not ready now. Now is the key word. Everyone is different in their recovery and if the rupture was extensive then I feel recovery is longer. It just depends what kind of rehab you have in the hospital and post discharge. I didn’t get the resources I needed until last November so it is taking longer.


Abbycat70, you are brave & stoic! Others don’t understand the complexity of your situation but we do at this site. Or they don’t know how to express their concern so they choose to be silent bc of fear of saying the wrong thing. I too felt alone until I found this site. The difficult part was the anxiety. Recovery & returning to work varies individually. For me, it was extremely painful returning to work as a school principal. I rarely took any days off but it was necessary. Eventually, I took a year of medical leave and still have not recovered fully. My suggestion is take care of yourself through rest, diet/hydration and meditation. Talk to mental health which was difficult for me bc I was use to helping others. Our blood vessels take longer to heal so it could be a long process. I thought I was built like a tank until my procedure and that humbled me big time. I felt so discombobulated but the only comfort was hearing others recovered in a year to 7 yrs. I repeat it bc it took me a while to understand & process that. Take as much time as you need and take care. From one educator to another, Ben


Thank you. I’m not a person that has terribly good organization, however, I am putting everything together in my classroom in case I have to take a little bit of time off in the beginning. I’m not going to apply for FMLA until after I’ve had my surgery and so I can see how I’m functioning. If I feel like I’m not functioning as well as I thought, then I will apply for FMLA, but it is hard, especially being in special education, teacher, to walk back in to a place that’s toxic, due to Admin, and mentally exhausting, because of meetings and IEP’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. Right now I’m actually running two classes because my friend went out on FMLA. They were unable to find a full-time replacement and so I am doing her lesson plans and mine. So yes, I know about running yourself into the ground.
Extra time May what is needed

Totally understand, wife is a SpEd teacher also and one class is challenging enough. Wow, you must be amazing to workout two classrooms. Sorry admin. can make things difficult for too many wrong reasons and get that also. Many of us only look at the numbers and trying to please both sides with parents & staff but teachers have to always come first. Just take care of yourself because no one else will. Good plan to wait until the time comes and having a backup plan is necessary. Like I mentioned, I was in too much of a hurry to return and it backfired on me and overall health collapsed. I was on several medication along with pain killers while having staff meetings and dealing with parents lying down due to extremely high blood pressure. If I took the time to recover and heal, maybe things would have worked out differently. We at this site will be on your side to support you and will always wish you the best! You can count on that! It was the only thing that would give me any comfort. Finally, find ways to deal with the anxiety bc that’s part of this process which drs never told me. Take care and keep us updated. Always welcome to contact anytime. Ben

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