Mrs. Brandt’s Return

Max Cook

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If you have ever had Teri Brandt as a teacher, then you would know how focused and enthusiastic she is about learning.  If you got the chance to sit down and talk about more than chemistry with her, then you would realize how strong of a person she is.  After her recent battles with cancer, I got the opportunity to do that.

 

The first week of our last summer vacation, Mrs. Brandt was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer.  She said that with how fast everything happened, she was extremely overwhelmed and frightened.  Unfortunately, she knew what she was going to be in store for because she has seen it happen numerous times in her family.

 

Mrs. Brandt found a lot of support from her friends and also her faith based community through her church.   Mrs. Brandt said, “Like any challenge you go through, it makes you a tougher person and draws you closer to people you’re close to.”  Due to the help of everyone, she was able to find peace with herself.

 

For treatment, doctors chose to do chemotherapy in order to shrink the her malignant tumor.  Despite how harsh of a treatment this is, Mrs. Brandt did not miss a day of school due to her chemo.  After doing chemo all throughout the summer and most of the fall, the tumor had shrunk enough for her to do surgery to remove it.  The chemotherapy went so well that when doctors went in to remove the tumor, it was practically gone and not expanding.  She was gone from school for roughly 6 weeks after the surgery.

 

She returned to school at the start of the second semester and is completely cancer free.  The only repercussions of her treatment and illness is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.  According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, neuropathy is a nerve disorder that can cause weakness, numbness, tingling , and pain in the hands and feet.  Mrs. Brandt feels the effects of it in her fingers and on the balls of her feet.  Her fingers cause her to have problems handing out papers and other daily challenges, but she works through them.

 

One thing that stood out to me about my interview with Mrs. Brandt was how open she was about everything. She was always honest and never held anything back from her students.  She even talked about how she is living her subject, and how there were chemists working on her body to cure her.

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