Like so many other people, Ira and I are happy to say goodbye to a year filled with COVID-19 restrictions and an overabundance of politically inspired animosity. We wholeheartedly welcome 2021. We look forward to when we will not be obligated to wear masks and when we can travel without fear of getting sick. With cautious optimism, we anticipate that life will return to normal soon and that 2021 may be the best year of your life.
Up until mid-summer, our main concerns revolved around the pandemic. In late July, Ira’s glioblastoma diagnosis, an incurable brain cancer, turned our lives upside down. More than forty-five years after we stood under a chupah and exchanged traditional Jewish blessings, we knew our response would be to embrace life. Our future travel plans were temporarily put on hold. We contemplated how we would work together to battle this aggressive cancer.
We were determined to maintain Ira’s quality of life for as long as possible. Anything outside our comfort zone would not be considered. Just like we had faced the ramifications of Ira’s 2010 traumatic brain injury, we would tackle Ira’s latest medical challenge.
Just days after celebrating our youngest son’s pandemic wedding on a Telluride mountain top, we learned the troubling news that Ira would need to undergo brain surgery followed by a regimentation of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Daily trips to Anschutz Medical Center replaced our homebound pandemic status. Being fearful of being in public places took a back seat to getting the best medical care possible. We chose not to travel out of state because Ira wanted to recuperate from surgery and the subsequent treatments in the comfort of our Colorado homes.
Initially, I thought that there would be sufficient time to continue reviewing books on this website and sharing recipes and chef interviews on the Traveling Bornsteins website. Insomnia coupled with sleep deprivation made it impossible to write constructively. I couldn’t focus on anything other than my desire to spend as much time as possible with Ira and to research how people increased their odds of surviving terminal illnesses.
After I made the bold decision to prepare plant-based meals with no processed or refined foods, my writing time diminished further. Analyzing recipes and then cooking multi-course meals became my daily focus. I identified nutrient-dense recipes appropriate for cancer patients. I was flexible and open to combining an assortment of ingredients.
After coming home from the hospital, we took frequent walks in our neighborhood. Eventually, we increased the length of our treks by walking on local trails. Just weeks after being released from the hospital, we celebrated Ira’s birthday by hiking in Standley Lake Regional Park.
For a six-week period in the early fall, I drove Ira to his daily radiation treatments at Anschutz. For a five minute treatment, we spent a disproportionate amount of time driving to and from the hospital. I was mentally exhausted.
Even when I set aside time to sit at my computer, I remained unproductive. A severe case of writer’s block prevented me from sharing my thoughts. I needed more time to reflect on my situation.
Since the end of July, I have read an abundance of materials focusing on longevity, how cancer survivors beat terrible odds, recommendations for herbs and supplements for cancer patients, diets to combat chemo and radiation, cancer patient diets, cooking without processed foods, and ways to lower inflammation in the body. Eventually, I will write about how this information has helped us successfully cope with Ira’s incurable cancer.
At the time of the diagnosis, it was not possible to predict what we would be doing at the start of the New Year. Fortunately, Ira has responded favorably to his cancer treatments and has remained energetic and vibrant. We were eager to usher in 2021 by skiing at Keystone Resort with our two youngest sons. New Year’s Day morning reinstated one of our favorite family traditions. Read New Year’s Tradition: Skiing at Keystone Resort.
With the start of 2021, I can no longer neglect my two websites. I thank my readers for your patience and understanding. As soon as possible, I will start adding content to this site.
Ira’s desire to remain active is a true testament to his inner strength. Unlike other people who struggle with life-threatening illnesses and retreat from their daily activities, Ira continues to embrace life. We look forward to exploring the world and sharing our experiences on The Traveling Bornsteins website.
May 2021 be the best year of your life.
Sandra Bornstein is the author of May This Be the Best Year of Your Life. Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She was a licensed Colorado teacher who taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad. Sandra also taught college-level courses at Front Range Community College and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
In addition to reviewing books and interviewing authors, Sandra is an award-winning author and lifestyle and travel journalist. Many of Sandra’s travel stories appear on the For Readers Page. To follow Sandra’s travel adventures, visit TheTravelingBornsteins website.