Playing the Cancer Card

I can’t deny that I’ve been using the cancer card. It got me the appt I needed with the doctor today (was supposed to be next Tuesday). It got me the appt I needed with the doctor tomorrow (who wouldn’t have been able to see me for two more weeks). Now, I need it to get me some leave time from work. I’m eligible for 17 days of paid leave, but I need 40. Five days will be during my spring break, so really I only need 18 days of extra time. I can apply to my union’s sick leave bank. The fact that my union has this program where you can borrow sick leave (the days come from employees who have an overage) and don’t have to pay it back – it’s amazing. Here’s the sad pathetic letter I just wrote to them (which goes along with an application completed by my doctor):

To Whom It May Concern:

On January 10, 2013, I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma – stage zero breast cancer. Because I am a BRCA gene carrier (cancer is hereditary in my family), I am at high risk for developing invasive breast cancer at a later time. Therefore, my doctors have recommended that I have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction before this current cancer becomes invasive. This is my best chance at eliminating the current cancer as well as the possibility of developing breast cancer again in the future.

I haven’t worked at *** for very long, but I intend to stay at the university for many years. I have already done significant service at the university and will continue to do so.

My family cannot afford for me to take unpaid time; it will be a significant financial hardship. I hope you can see it reasonable to grant me 18 days from the sick leave bank so that I can have enough time to recover adequately. I will do whatever I can in the way of service to the union when I return from leave.



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