2019: Year in Review

A year ago, as 2018 was ending, I made 2 lists in my planner. The lists were 2018 Reflections + Highlights, and 2019 Goals.

2018 was a great year. The kids were doing great, we bought a house, and completed a half marathon. We went on really fun trips, saw friends, I dyed my hair red (ok, so no one but me could actually tell –it was very subtle — but I loved it!). I wrote down the things that I would want to remember if/when I found this planner buried in a box in 10 years. Including yes– a clean colonoscopy, having fun driving a new mini convertible, adding an au pair to our family, and a lot of professional accomplishments that I was really excited about and proud of. This was the first time I had taken an inventory of what had happened in the prior 12 months, and it felt really good to write it all out and see all of the things together that were good and fun in my family’s life.

My 2019 goals were pretty broad. And, as 2019 is coming to a close, I’m happy to report we have done our estate planning (although this was not done in the leisurely way I had imagined– more urgent, as in “BRAIN CANCER! SURGERY! SH*T!” Luckily we found a fantastic estate lawyer and she helped us figure things out with beautiful efficiency). And my husband and I took a cooking class with some friends. And I think I can check off “creativity” between my knitting projects and this blog… But, as we all know by now, the rest of this cute little list of goals evaporated in April. Let this be a lesson– do NOT put “Mindfulness” on a list of goals. What was I thinking? (J/K… mostly)

Instead, in 2019 there were a series of events I survived. The cancer stuff: Biopsy, awake craniotomy, rehab, chemo. The hardest stuff: telling my husband that I had a brain tumor. Explaining the situation to our kids.

In 2019, I learned all about brain cancer. I realized that because there is no good answer to solve my current medical problem, I needed to help figure it out– and thus, I’ve been actively raising money for oligodendroglioma specific research. So far, I’ve raised over $30,000 for oligodendroglioma research, working with www.consano.org and www.oligonation.org. I’m really proud of this– and am looking forward to doing more this coming year.

In 2019 I learned how strong my support system is. I knew and know I have an amazing family and friends, but nothing tests the system like this– needing help with finding the right doctors, rides to appointments, help with the kids, etc etc– I’m so thankful for this web that has protected us from falling flat, bouncing us up when we needed it the most.

What else happened in 2019? I’ve been on a work hiatus– this may be it’s own post in due time, but I miss working, and have never been away from work this long in my life. I’m thinking a lot about what going back to work could look like, and also what not going back would look like– both very different from what my life was like before.

There have been some bright patches of 2019, too– I saw my brother get married, I rode my 300th Peloton ride in the studio in NYC, and our oldest son just turned EIGHT years old. We celebrated with a sleepover with his school friends at our house. That was a momentous event for everyone.

I do have goals for 2020, although I’m going to tread lightly. I’m not a superstitious person usually, but… I’m also not a fool.

So, here’s my general aims for 2020:

– Continue to figure out the answer to “Well, What are you going to do about that?!” And work to push science and medicine toward a cure for oligodendroglioma. I’ll keep working with Consano and Oligo Nation, and maybe other groups that are invested in brain cancer research and making improvements for treatment and outcomes.

– Keep working on staying as healthy as I can with what I have control of– keeping up with healthy eating and exercise.

-Save Money and figure out small changes that can add up. Coupons? Coupon Apps? I have no idea. But maybe meal prepping and menu planning will help with our food waste/ grocery over-spending. I’m planning on being better about budgeting, more conscious about what we are paying for day to day. Luckily so far we’ve been OK money-wise, but this has definitely been a wake-up call to the level of what unexpected costs in life can be.

-Prioritize time with the kids. This has been a bit harder with the puppy over the past few months, but I hope it will get better once the dog settles down a bit. The puppy is still too young to go out for walks or to parks with us yet– but when we can all get out of the house together that will be great. I want to enjoy my children–I want to laugh, and build and draw and read and explore with them. I know a lot of this time will be spent disciplining, teaching, with grumbles and groans from us all– but I know that if I spent this time in other ways, it would be a huge regret in my life.


I think that’ll do it. I wish you all a very happy New Year!!! Cheers to 2020.

7 thoughts on “2019: Year in Review

  1. Naghmeh Moshtael

    Love these practical goals for 2020, girl! But above all, I am so happy that you are working so hard to stay alive and healthy!
    Early happy 2020 and wishing you nothing but the best Alex and family 🙂


  2. Bahareh Keith

    My sweet lovely friend- I can now read these without crying!!!! Wooo! I love your lists and it’s clear your goals are so good and right! As always, you are inspiring. Your wonderful spirit is so strong!
    Though nothing is certain I have a feeling and lots of hope that we will be ringing in many decades together!
    All my love,


    1. Hi! I worked with a non-profit called Consano (consano.org) that works to raise money for medical research through crowd-funding. So I made a page, then advertised it on social media, I was on the news, and then won an award that came with $25,000 to research too! Most individual donations were in the $50-100 range.


      1. That’s so fantastic! Thank you for sharing. I get pretty discouraged bc I think if people won’t even buy a shirt what more can I do? I have a very rare type of tumor and would LOVE research for it. Thanks again.


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