News from Virginia Thorndike

Adapting life to new physical and financial realities

In late 2013 my husband Irving Spitzberg and I learned that he has a rare blood cancer, multiple myeloma, that has no cure.  Since then we have been reorganizing life to adapt.

Six months ago, after radically downsizing, we closed on our home of fifteen years in Northern Baltimore County and moved into a little cottage in Asbury Methodist Village, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in metro DC.

Our new address is:

444 Russell Avenue

Gaithersburg, MD 20877

We have a land line – 301-216-5291

Our cell phones are: Ginny:  443-415-5360; Irving: 443-415-7023

Emails: Ginny is  vvthorn@gmail.com; Irving is irvingspitzberg1@gmail.com

We are finding Asbury congenial and our cottage (“villa”) and little garden nicer than we might have imagined. This sub-community of Asbury (some 75 “villas”) allows us some normalcy – a garage, mailbox, relative privacy, trees across the street.  We share a wall with the Browns; Cathy is Wellesley Class of 1965 (!) and Bill Columbia Class of 1964, like Irving.  Residents are very involved in all aspects of the organization with meetings everywhere you look, making it very de Toquevillesque.  We have met active, smart, accomplished people, kind and thoughtful people, and courageous people facing illness and disability -- a good cohort of folks with which to face old age.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) do not involve any property ownership.  One buys in with a very large lump sum, pays monthly rent.  In return, Asbury promises to keep us and meet our needs even if we/I outlive our financial resources.  We look on this as a very expensive insurance policy.  Given that my actuarial age is already 95 and we have not recovered from losses in the Great Recession, we took the leap.  We are something of experts now on CCRCs, having researched them for over a year, so if anyone wants to pick my brain just write to vvthorn@gmail.com.

In December 2016 I had a total hip replacement and five weeks ago a complex rotator cuff surgery.  Shoulder rehab will take 6 months to a year.  Irving is in month 23 of front line chemotherapy.  He will always be on chemo of some kind.  The two patient advocacy organizations for MMs are vibrant hubs of hope and information. 

Wishing you all well on your respective journeys.