“When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience.”
― Jaeda Dewalt
Yesterday, Ira and I experienced our first 2022-2023 ski day at Keystone Resort. For most people on the slopes it was an average overcast December day. The day took on a totally different meaning for us. After a summer 2020 diagnosis of glioblastoma, we were ecstatic that Ira could experience the start of his third post-glioblastoma diagnosis ski season.
Ski conditions were better than many previous early December days. While only a small percentage of runs were open, we fortunately did not run over any rocks or obstacles. The snowpack was adequate. We gleefully traversed on a handful of black, blue and green runs. It was great to ski once again. Skiers and boarders always appreciate the thrill of the first day of skiing on the slopes.
While Ira was emphatic that he could beat the odds, neither one of us could predict how he would respond to his standard of care treatments. Without a magical crystal ball, it was impossible to know if Ira’s resiliency would prevail. Ira’s positivity coupled with excellent medical care at UC Health and our lifestyle choices have made it possible to fulfill Ira’s desire to live longer than most glioblastoma patients who pass away within 12-18 months of diagnosis. Being an outlier was only part of the equation. Ira insisted that his active lifestyle, which included skiing and hiking in the mountains, had to remain intact. Each year, Ira’s positivity has been enhanced by his ability to do the things he loves.
Appreciate Each Day
Ira’s 28+ month glioblastoma journey has opened our eyes to many different aspects of the human experience. Each day, I am inspired by Ira’s determination to live each day to the fullest. He refuses to let the cancer control his life. Instead, he focuses on what he is able to do and tries to minimize the day to day stresses caused by our interactions with others who do not share our values. Sadly, few people appreciate what it is like for us to live each day with a terminal diagnosis hanging over our heads.
Realizing that time is at a premium, we have reached the conclusion that we need to enrich our lives with memorable moments. Spending time in Summit County, one of our favorite places, is near the top of the list. Even on days when we don’t ski (like today), we are content to look out our window and simply enjoy the majesty of the mountainous terrain.
Travel Plans Promote Positivity
As passionate explorers of the world, we will expand our horizons by visiting more places in 2023. We were fortunate to have experienced a wide array of travel experiences in 2022, including our latest trip to Dana Point, California. While I had hoped to take advantage of the perks associated with being an award-winning travel writer, few destinations and travel entities have responded to my query letters. Since neither one of us wants to have any regrets, we will reach into our savings to fund our 2023 adventures.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” —Michael Altshuler
Within just a few weeks, 2022 will become a memory. As we turn the page in the calendar to begin 2023, we will continue to navigate our glioblastoma journey. Every glioblastoma patient must create their own path. I sincerely hope this story will inspire others to enjoy life in whatever way is possible for them. Simply enjoying Mother Nature’s paint brush is a great way to spend a day. Time outside is a precious commodity. Glioblastoma patients who are able to travel should put aside their fears and take a vacation while it is still possible. Time should be spent embracing the things that you enjoy the most.
I wholeheartedly agree with President Abraham Lincoln when he said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
Sandy is an award-winning author and lifestyle and travel journalist. She is the author of 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die, a guidebook offering an easy way to pinpoint your best options in this sunny, high altitude college town. Sandy’s second book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. As a licensed Colorado teacher, she taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad. Sandy also taught college-level courses at Front Range Community College and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
To follow Sandra and Ira’s travel adventures, visit TheTravelingBornsteins website.