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A few weeks ago, I wrote about terminal cancer and grief. Let's continue the discussion by talking about the idea of a bucket list. The term is based on the 2007 film "The Bucket List," featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill men who went off on an adventure to fulfill a list of things they wanted to do before they died.
It's important that we all create a list of the things we'd like to either experience or accomplish in our lives (terminal diagnosis or not). These are the things you've always wanted to do, but for some reason never did. It's a life experience list.
Create your own bucket list and make plans to fulfill them one at a time. Begin with simple items that might be fairly easy to accomplish, and move on to others that might take some time and support to accomplish. It might help to share your list with a close family member or friend. Talking about what you want to accomplish can help you begin to fulfill your dreams and give you a sense of pure joy and happiness.
As a cancer survivor, you may have changed your life priorities, goals and important items on a life experience list such as this. Please share your ideas about a bucket list. If you don't have a bucket list yet, this is your invitation to start one.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Hey all, I am very new to this. I was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Lukiema this year and went through 8 days of chemo. I feel ok now, but my family, especially my wife, is not doing well with it. She has slowly pulled away from me. But I am working on that. Why I am posting this is I want to try and create a "family" style bucket list. Any ideas? I need to draw my family closer together to each other. I am 42 with 3 beautiful girls and a very beautiful wife. I am sure someone out there has had a similar situation. Being in Law Enforcement, my job is very stressful and of low pay. So I am looking for advice.
This is very informative blog and i am very glad to read it..thank you for writing such a great blog.
My longtime Husband lost his Job & our insurance 2 3/4 years ago! In 2010,I got Triple Negative Breast Cancer! Going without is how our life goes. Those months of 3 different Chemo were Disabling! I have little quality of Life & NO income! But I have this list! I know I'm alive for a reason! My Gift after Treatments were to Drive past & Dream of The New Remakes, Dodge Challengers! How I Dream of one! So I'm still Hoping! I hope for a Honeymoon finally after over 31 Years of Marriage! I want a real Diamond Ring. A Pink one! I guess my Ebay one I ordered isn't coming from Hong Kong! I hope to make memories with my Husband Children Grand children and Meet my Cyb er/internet Friends! I hope one Day meet Celebrity! See & touch a ocean and some Sand! I hope to see prevention & The Cure for All Cancer! I hope to one day be able to earn a income again. I hope we won't lose everything we have since we're down on our Luck! I hope to prove to my oncologists all of these I'm dealing with aren't permenent! I hope to never Get Cancer Again! Or see anymore Loved ones of mine die from it! Thought they are now painfree! I hope one day for our starter home to get needful repairs! Like a working Furnace! But until then my Hot flashes Help! Replace our old cupboards & flood damages. I hope to one day be able to Trust & Use my Body. I hope to always be a good earth angel and Help others! I'm here for you as long as I'm breathing! I hope to one day see your dreams fu
On April 25, I would be 1 year cancer free. Having been diagnosed with double primary endometrial and ovarian ca at 36, I felt I was just too young for this. The movie was just so inspiring I had to do one. Some of the items on this list I've done already and I've started working on the "wish list" for my teenage son- but his list included a long life for me which I have relabeled to be quality life. Thanks Sheryl, this is the site that I have been searching for, for quite some time now.
A year ago I was told I was terminal, but am still here. A stem cell transplant was cancelled due to poor response to chemo that was needed to proceed. I have since had radiation where I had a good response, only to have my cancer return 3 months later in September. Radiation followed with a more recent good response. I really don't know how long I'm going to be here so....I'm making the most of it. I have done a few bucket list items. I recently took a Caribbean cruise and am now going to visit a friend who has a home in the tropics on the ocean. All this sounds glamorous but what really tops my list is enjoying my husband, friends, and dogs. I enjoy nature and the simple things the most. The cruise was nice and I was able to see places I have never seen before--some beautiful rainforest gardens etc. However, if I hadn't gone and had just stayed home it would have sufficed. The rollercoaster of poor response to tx.- then having a good response is a challenge at times. However, my motto is be kind to others. Love the people in your life and enjoy simple pleasures and most of all trust in God. Be thankful for everyday and try to do something positive in each day.
reading others' comments is gratifying. The courage of people is endless, I am grateful for the healing staff of Mayo and now I am grateful to know and admire the heroic cancer patients. thank you.paphye
Thank you, Kathryn, for suggesting we call our list a "Life List". That is something I can live with; bucket list sounds downbeat to me. My husband and I both have cancer; his is severe. We treasure every day. I'm also glad to be reminded of the value of a Life List, to keep a bigger perspective and focus on possibilities beyond our day to day concerns. My husband and I have always been adventurers and we do our best to approach our cancer treatments as adventures with their own set of challenges and opportunities. I hope we can do so to the end of the trip.
I do not have cancer or another terminal decease, but I think i tis something we all need to do is to make that bucket ( wish) list and put our hand in God,s hand and take him with us to enjoy every sunshine, rainy day, friendships that never fail, job opportunities, children, grandchildren, helping others, seeing places, opening our eyes to all that is beautiful, and finding the beauty in all that is ugly, because we do not know when our day comes when we are needed in the paradise. I hold you all in my Prayers, and these positive comments have made my day complete, may your bucket lists always have a challenge
Yes I have a bucket list. Trips to places I have only read about until now. I have had the chance to do most of these so I am very lucky. I am also blessed to have my husband of 44 years by my side. If I had a choice of going or doing things or having my husbamd with me I would definitely pick my husband. Cancer has blessed me with another chance to love my husband, appreciate my children, but most of all to know what real friendship is about. May each of you that are struggling with a terminal disease be able to enjoy a realistic bucket list and smile and be smiled at each day. Don't forget to put a hug from a friend or family member on your list, or a call from a grandchild, or helping someone that is just starting on the road you are traveling. You can ease their pain. May God bless each and everyone of you. I am now having a recurrence of Stage IV Metastic lung cancer. Yes I am Struggling with cancer more than the first time around, even though I know I am terminal and it will come back time after time. Again I have put myself in the Lord's hands and know that His will be done.
This is my fisrt time to see this add. I have a comment. I also have had lung cancer, 4-14-06, will be 5 yrs. They took out my whole left lung. I stayed cancer free till 10-13-10, double mesectomy! (ductale & lobular) There where 4 small cells in lymphnode. So they say i have a15% chance of it spreading some where eles. Cant dwell on that! I have learned in the last five yrs. that our lives are too short! I made my piece with God 5yrs. ago. I smile more, forgiven all, and say "I Love You" a whole lot more. I've learned that wakeing up in the morning is a blessing in it's self! Itake more time to look at sky, clouds, and the beautiful flowers all around us all. Don't get me wrong, I do get in that corner from time to time, but I don't stay there long. I get up, dust myself off, and say "look out world, here I come!" I while not let this cancer get me down. And...if it does, I'll be smilling!! My bucketlist is short, just enjoy what you already have, like the smell of coffee in the morning,the beautiful sky or the failing rain. My children and my grandkids, and all my great friends. I ain't got time to worry about bieng sick. I wish each and every one out there the best with your situation. As for me, I'm going to enjoye my life as long as I can. God Bless All,Linda
I am a cáncer survivor and yes, having constantly had for some years now a list of the things, trips that I want to enjoy now That I can, has been a ver y important guide to Live each Day fully and mindfully, Lorraine from Mexico City, reading Thich Nhat Hanh's books has been ver y inspiring
Twenty eight years ago I had a mastectomy and the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. The oncologist said "probably five years if you are lucky". Well I decided to live my life to the fullest and went 22 years before a recurrence. Now I am 75 and refuse to lay down and give up. I got married last year and this year I am going to see a gr granddaughter, another grandaughter graduate college and a grandson marry. While all this is going on, I will be praying for my grandson who is in the middle east and getting ready to go on a cruise to the Panama Canal with one of my 4 daughters and my husband. Drug side effects get me down at times (femara) but I keep pushing to enjoy how ever much life I have left. I have completed most of my bucket list and just keep adding to it!! Prayer and meditation help too.
I have lived to see all of my grandchildren and three gr grands--an important part of that list!!
Bitterness... or hope..?
Which shall I express here? The above comments help me learn how fortunate I am by comparison to other cancer survivors... I am grateful. I have no one filling the role of spouse/significant other in my life. Dealing with these issues alone is a hardship. I guess I just learned what needs to come first on my own "life/bucket list."
I too was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 59 - last year. I had a autologous stem cell transplant in Aug 2010, and had a complete response. My bucket list does not include fancy trips to foreign countries or beautiful clothes and a wrinkle-free face; just time with God, time with my 3 new grandbabies (born in 2010 also) and with family and friends, an extra cup of hot coffee in the morning, contributing at work (I work part-time now), and leaving a legacy of kindness and courage to the people I love. I will not let this cancer define me, but will "live my life," even as I know it will contain relapses and more therapy. Each day is so precious, which sounds trite; but after the initial devastation of finding out I had incurable cancer, I have come to realize that I hadn't "stopped to smell the roses" much the last few years...so that's my gift to myself each day. God Bless each of you.
I have always subscribed to the fact that you live in balance; take time to work and take time to enjoy life. My uncle died from cancer a number of years ago, 6 months from retirement and months from fulfilling a lifelong dream of going to Hawaii. This has always stayed with me. Having survived cancer myself (proton beam treatment), I am glad I took this lesson to heart.
My auto-stem cell transplant a year ago only gave me 12 weeks multiple myeloma-free, instead of the 2-3 years projected. My relapse seemed to destroy my doctor's orders to become a person instead of a patient. Now I am in a second remission and emerging toward maintenance treatment. It's another "Mayo Miracle." My financial adviser said to make a "wish list" and prioritize. I like the idea of a wish list which includes finally holding my second granddaughter and spending time with my 90 year old Mother I haven't seen in a year and a half, except on Skype video. Continuing the remodeling of my home is second to a cruise in Europe. I am blessed to have been given a third chance on life and living. God-willing, it will all happen in spite of the chemo effects that seem to drag me down right now. Sunni, it's finally great to "meet" a woman with MM. It feels good to dream again, even though I don't know for how long.
I thought I would get resistance from my husband on filling out a "Life List" (a better name than "Bucket List", don't you think?). So I brought up the subject on a long ride to the Mayo Clinic, when I was driving, because he could not. He was a captive audience. I handed him a pencil and spiral notebook. He was very receptive, and began writing a list. His enthusiasm and the length of the list surprised and delighted me! And all items are doable, and practical! Nothing crazy or put of our budget! Now, a month later, he is working on it, and periodically, adding to it!
Having a bucket list is fine for those who are mobile...my husband is paralyzed from prostate cancer that has metasized to the bone/spine all this after a remission of 12 years.
I just found out I have my third recurrence with inflammatory breast cancer over a six year period and I am devastated. Losing my husband suddenly when I had my second recurrence was bad enough. How do I cope for the third time. I have no control over this and pray that I may live to see my grandchildren.
Great idea. I am on in years, 79 and there is so much yet to do. I will start prioritizing them right now.
I loved that movie. It really made me think about doing one myself especially after my diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma. Having rec'd a stem cell transplant, it seems life is starting anew! There's so much I want to do now.
Nice way to put this Sheryl. If more people did this, their lives would be so much less stressful. Thanks for the post.
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