** Trigger Warning [Health Issues]: If you are triggered by or sensitive about health challenges, you may wish to consider not continue further with this post or follow along with my current story. **
Here’s the link to my YouTube channel if you’d like to learn more about me and my journey: https://www.youtube.com/c/MyRealLifeStuff101
Let’s cut straight to the chase: During September, 2020, I was diagnosed with stage four advanced pancreatic cancer.
What does that mean? Stage four in cancer terms means that it’s an incurable and time limiting… in other words, terminal… diagnosis.
And my particular cancer being pancreatic… well, let’s just say that a five year prognosis is in the lower single digits, percentage-wise.
Even the survival rate of a year after diagnosis is pretty grim.
(I’d tell you what those numbers are, but I actually don’t know them and don’t care to look them up… it messes with my emotional well-being, ya know?)
At the time of me writing this post, it is approximately nine months since I was first diagnosed and while there are constant ups and downs, all things considered, I am doing pretty well.
I mean, chemotherapy isn’t a walk in the park. And the fatigue and numbness in my hands are bummers.
But, I’m still here and there’s still stuff I want to experience.
So, it would go without saying that a diagnosis like this would be challenging at any time, but it’s been completely something else during a global pandemic.
I’ve always been about experiences, so it’s been frustrating that the majority of my time since being diagnosed has been under lockdown.
However, as the Covid numbers in Canada have become more reasonable and with vaccinations on the rise, the restrictions easing and travel becoming more and more a possibility, I thought I would throw my Bucket List out into the universe… hoping that I’ll be able to cross them all off.
But I think it’s also important to mention that we are down to a single income now with some very generous supports, so our daily lives are currently comfortable cared for… for which I am just so grateful.
It doesn’t, however, give us much of a cushion to put toward my bucket list and again, I am putting it out there and some creative ventures to make it happen.
My first shot is to start something I’d like to call the Bucket List Trade Up Challenge, where I will be starting out with an item I currently have in our home and to hopefully trade it up and up and up… to fulfil a bucket list item or two or more…
Still sorting out the details in my noggin, but if anyone out there has any suggestions, I would love to hear them! Please comment down below.
Before we get started, I have five goals I’d also like to highlight, which I don’t feel necessarily belongs on the Bucket List:
a) Raise $10,000 to donate to The Stop Community Food Centre
b) Raise $10,000 to donate to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
c) Raise $10,000 to donate to Wellspring (only organization to provide comprehensive support to Canadians with Cancer)
d) Raise $10,000 to donate to BIPOC mental health training & support (still in the stage of consideration for the organization to which to donate)
e) Raise $10,000 end-of-life hospice care for myself.
More details on these goals at another time, but should you wish to donate, it would be so incredibly appreciated if you can do so by following the links above.
And now… here’s my bucket list! In no particular order (except #1 is #1), here’s THE LIST and I can’t promise that more items won’t be added:
- Start a couple of trade-up challenges to see what would come from them.
- An EPIC all-out trip to Japan, a trip that would encompass experiencing Okinawa to Hokkaido… ideally during cherry blossom season and enough to enjoy these experiences thoroughly.
- Have my mom visit me from Japan while I am still relatively well. (Unfortunately due to the differing Covid and vaccination situations in Canada and Japan, this will likely not be possible until sometime in 2022.)
- Visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, ideally while the Toronto Blue Jays are the visiting team (these are in order, kind of):
- NYC: Yankee Stadium / Citi Field
- Boston: Fenway Park
- Baltimore: Camden Yards
- Tampa Bay: Tropicana Field
- San Francisco: Oracle Park
- Los Angeles: Dodger Stadium / Angels Stadium
- Cleveland: Progressive Field (also to go to Rock & Roll HOF)
- Chicago: Wrigley Field / Guaranteed Rate Field (seriously?)
- San Diego: Petco Park
- Seattle: T-Mobile Park
- Atlanta: Truist Park
- St Louis: State Farm Stadium
- Philadelphia: Citizens Bank Park
- Oakland: RIngCentral Coliseum
- Miami: LoanDepot Park
- Arizona: Chase Field
- Colorado: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
- DC: Nationals Parks
- Cincinnati: Great American Ballpark
- Pittsburgh: PNC Park
- Milwaukee: American Family Field
- Texas: Globe Life Park
- Houston: Minute Maid Park
Detroit: Comerica Park Toronto: Skydome
- Successful #BucketListTradeUpChallenge… starting from a common household item and then to eventually upgrade to fulfil bucket list items
- Disneyland / Universal Hollywood / Knott’s Berry Farm (during PEANUTS Celebration)
- Walt Disney World / Universal Orlando
- European tour (cruise?)
Own a giant Snoopy
- Baseball Hall of Fame (Coopertown)
- Canadian Hall of Fame (St. Mary’s, Ontario)
- Butterfly Conservatory
- Visit to a cruelty-free and ethical animal sanctuary
- Buffalo: Sahlen Field (Toronto’s “home” park, for now)
- Las Vegas to see LOVE, go to the top of the Stratosphere, and dine at Oscar’s, Stirling Brunch
Pretty much from the moment that I have been diagnosed, I have been documenting my journey on YouTube.
Many of the earlier videos detail the learning curve of my health journey and situation, which the more recent ones document the little outings we get up to as Covid restrictions ease in Ontario.
I have been overwhelmed by the support, love and care that I have received from so many lovely and kind folks since sharing my story and I hope to be able to give back in what ways I can. I am so so so thankful.
My husband and I are currently both double-vaccinated, which (while not completely at ease) has allowed up to somewhat lessen our emotional vigilance, which has been incredibly helpful.
Again, if you’re interested in learning more, here’s the link to the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/MyRealLifeStuff101