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Bucket List

Posted Sep 07 2013 9:06pm


Maybe I actually have time to create–and partially fulfill–a bucket list . Those 10,000 things to do before I die. Wouldn’t that be cool?

On my last oncologist visit the good doctor said she’s going to check my clinical trial protocol to see if I can have scans less frequently. Wow! Really?

Having less frequent scans would be such a blessing. Not only are the scans expensive and require extra trips to the hospital, but they involve a contrast dye to which patients can develop an allergy over time. I hadn’t considered the consequences of a constant barrage of chemicals and radiation to the system. Frankly, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to have to worry about the long-range effects of alien substances forced into my veins. What a good thing to worry about! I’ll take it! It surely beats thoughts of hospice.

The other item of interest that I learned at this latest appointment is that I’m the only one at Stanford left on this particular clinical protocol. I’m charting new territory for those who have or may get breast cancer. Maybe they can benefit from what is learned from my genetic material and cancer history. Maybe women like me with no family or genetic history who have aggressive breast cancer will have a treatment answer, a lifeline of hope for the future. The ramifications are startling.

Now back to the bucket list.

What do I want to do with my remaining time? Travel used to be so important to me. Now it’s way down on the list. Driving to my treatment center is exhausting enough. I’ve seen so much of the world through prior business and family trips that I don’t feel the need to explore yet another gorgeous place on this blue gem of a planet. I can google locales that catch my fancy; I can watch movies; I can read the blogs of my fellow breast cancer sojourners to see what’s happening in their respective parts of the world or on their travels. In other words, I can climb the mountains and traverse the valleys and rivers vicariously.

High on my list would be holding a grandchild for the first time. Or re-reading some classic books I haven’t touched since high school. Or having my backyard transformed into a garden of plants with low maintenance requirements but lots of colour. Or going out to eat or shop with a friend. Or playing Scrabble or Mexican Train with like-minded gamers. Or learning ukulele better so I can play solos with my fellow musicians when we perform at senior centers. Maybe I’ll even tackle  Somewhere Over the Rainbow/It’s a Wonderful World  with decent strumming and smooth chord transitions. Quite a tall order. But these are the kinds of strivings that rock my fledgling thriver boat.

What kinds of items would I find on your bucket list?

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