When faced with a dire prognosis, one has two choices. Either succumb to the disease or fight. Like other momentous decisions, each individual must rely on his/her own inner compass. What is the correct choice for one person may or may not be the appropriate decision for another.
Individual choices take on a new meaning when you are coping with incurable cancer. What works for one person may not work for another. The cancer patient needs to connect with his/her inner compass in order to set the course for their personal journey.
For almost seven decades, Ira has persevered whenever obstacles blocked his path. If you know Ira, you would not be surprised by his reaction to his glioblastoma diagnosis. Ira uses his positive mindset and perseverance to fight his cancer. Fortunately, he has yet to experience any physical or cognitive deficits preventing him from engaging in his previous active lifestyle. We realize that most glioblastoma patients are unable to return to their pre-diagnosis lifestyle and that Ira’s situation can abruptly change.
To learn how others successfully beat the odds of a dire prognosis or live longer than anticipated, I read many books and articles. Midway through the year, I started a For Glio page to share these resources. In 2022, I plan to add more information.
After reviewing a multitude of options, we have adopted a plethora of lifestyle choices. We have taken a multi-tiered approach to bolster Ira’s immune system and overall strength. Ira also wears the FDA approved Optune device. Ira’s unwavering determination to maintain his quality of life made it possible to travel throughout 2021. Often, the pandemic restriction caused more issues than his diagnosis.
Every day we strive to engage in at least one meaningful activity together and at the end of day we reflect and share our gratitude for spending another day together.
While many people have been fearful to travel during the pandemic, we did not hesitate. Our adventures provided numerous opportunities to embrace life and to fuel Ira’s positivity. Even though we must face our predicament each day, we continue to appreciate the world around us.
By traveling, we witness a multitude of experiences that cannot occur in the comfort of our home. These adventures energize our minds and bodies while reaffirming our love for one another.
Prior to the diagnosis, our quality of life was considerably better than most people born in the 1950s. Most likely that is the reason why our active adventure schedule has remained intact. Ira’s mental and physical strength propelled him forward while his body was recovering from a craniotomy, chemotherapy/radiation, and a second round of chemotherapy.
Our passion for downhill skiing was satisfied with dozens of 2021 trips to Colorado’s ski resorts, whereas our desire to check out new destinations was fulfilled when we visited the Vista Verde Guest Ranch and the Grand Hyatt Vail in the winter. At this dude ranch, we rode horses on snow packed trails and participated in private off-trail snowshoe adventures. Our stay at the Grand Hyatt Vail introduced us to the Back Bowls at Vail which included quality time with our youngest son, Jordan. We also had the amazing opportunity to watch two of our grandchildren be introduced to skiing.
To be able to pass our passion for skiing to the next generation and to simultaneously be able to participate in the process is a special blessing that we cherish.
In 2021, my goal was to plan a multitude of trips in a variety of locations. After deciding that airplane travel fell within our comfort zone, I booked flights for a relaxing trip to Captiva Island, Florida, a family celebration in suburban Chicago, a wedding anniversary trip to Kauai, and a wellness trip to Arizona. Even though we realized that the vaccination and the booster shot did not prevent us from getting COVID, we rounded off the year with a weeklong Caribbean cruise aboard Celebrity Cruises Apex.
Our desire to travel was shared by countless others who filled the airports, the hotels and resorts, the ski slopes, and the beaches. As we traveled from one place to the next, we adhered to the government mandates and remained safe. We also carried cumbersome gear to keep the Optune device running smoothly throughout our travels.
After our first flight, we created a workable routine and laughed off the issues we encountered when going through the TSA security checkpoints at the airport. Fortunately, Ira has a thick skin and is not bothered by the way people stare at his device or the inconsistent treatment at the airport.
When you are coping with a spouse’s incurable cancer diagnosis your entire perspective changes. Time can no longer be wasted. Every day needs to be appreciated. When things do not go as anticipated, humor needs to prevail.
Since travel has been a vital part of our existence, we are not willing to remove it from our life. We search for destination options conforming to our comfort level. By adding active and engaging adventures back into our routine, our spirits soar and our gratitude expands. Realizing that our ability to maintain a normal quality of life is a blessing that may change at any point in time, we cherish each and every moment together.
We encourage others to cherish life’s precious moments and to show gratitude each day. With an unpredictable future, neither one of us wants to have any regrets. Life needs to be embraced for as long as possible.
May 2022 be the Best Year of Your Life.
When Sandy isn’t trekking or writing in Colorado, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an ex-pat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone.
Sandy shares her lifestyle and travel experiences with international and domestic online sites and print media. She has contributed stories to Hemispheres, Destinations Magazine, KUHL’s Born in the Mountain blog, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, AARP, Hadassah magazine, Localliz, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Getting On Travel, Far and Wide, Colorado Parent, Traveler Confidential, Family Circle- Momster, and others.