From Mystery Malady to Pancreatic Cancer
Fear and Loathing of Pancreatic Cancer

Bucket Lists and Telling Our Stories

It was the 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman that gave us the phrase – and title of the film - The Bucket List.

Since then, bucket lists are a common meme among most Americans - I don't know about other countries – and some people take them quite seriously.

If ever there is a time for a bucket list, it is when you are diagnosed with something as serious as pancreatic cancer.

In off moments since my diagnosis, I've been running the idea through my mind to see if there is something I want to do. An experience I've missed. A place I long to visit. A do-over maybe. Or something.

And nothing comes to mind.

The thing is, I've had a terrific life. Nothing spectacular, some disappointments, a bunch of terrific jobs that introduced me to ideas and people and places in the world I would never have done on my own. And taught me or led me to pretty much everything I know.

Most of my friends and acquaintances over the years have been smart, interesting, good people that I love spending time with even, these days, at a long distance. Too many I love died too young. I miss them but I hold them close in my heart still.

Further, in doing this blog, I've found how many people are unprepared for retirement and flounder around for a long time without a place to go every day, without a job or title by which to define themselves.

It was different and so much easier for me. In no way did I plan it; I just got lucky. I started this blog before the end of my career, segued with it to full time and now, after about 14 years, it is who I am and what I do: I write and produce a blog about what it is really like to get old.

And people actually read it. How good is that.

I would like to keep doing it for – oh, how about another 14 years or so. May the gods - and modern medicine - grant that wish.

But just in case, isn't there something I can come up with for a bucket list? Well, yes - if it is about longings. Two items but only one is doable.

Bucket list items, by their nature, are one-time things so this doesn't fit exactly but I think about it all the time: I wish I could live in New York City again. Not just visit. Live there. It is where I belong. The ground that I love. It is my home.

That's the undoable one. Here's the other:

There is a small, unpretentious restaurant in the coastal town of Cannon Beach, Oregon. I don't know its name but I know how to get there and they make the best fried razor clams I've ever eaten. As plain as the restaurant is, their razor clams dish is a world-class.

It's been awhile since I've been to the coast (it's only a two-hour drive) and a good friend has already signed on to take us there for lunch as soon after the surgery as I can do that.

On Monday this week, I came to see that there is something else, not a bucket list item, that is the best thing ever to get me through this “trial” and, after the surgery, to carry me forward for as long or short as it will be.

Two neighbors, a couple, came by my apartment that day. They are heading the little “committee” that will take care of necessities (like the cat) while I'm in hospital.

We finished that business and then spent the next 20 minutes or so telling funny stories about the pets (they had just adopted a new cat to replace one who died a few months ago) and other animals we've known and loved. We laughed so hard and I am still smiling from that as I write today, Tuesday.

Later that day, I had a phone conversation with an old friend on the east coast, telling him about my new predicament. We got through that and then we talked politics (we're both addicted) and comedians we like and some movies and TV shows and we laughed a lot about all kinds of things.

About life. Not death.

That's what I want from everyone right now. I'm not even in the hospital yet or in recovery yet but what energizes me and makes me happy and makes me feel alive is being with people, telling our stories and laughing together.

What's on your bucket list?



Okay Ronnie, no Illness talk.
How about that Sessions testimony to Congress yesterday.
What I'd like to know is how somebody with such a bad case of amnesia hold such an important position?

I don't have a bucket list.

The one thing I really wanted to do, live in San Francisco, I got to do for 15 months after I retired. It was great, I loved it, but the cost was prohibitive for a retired school teacher's pension, so I'm back in Fresno living in the house that's paid for. My life is quite lovely, so no complaint about that SF thing.

Another thing I hope to live long enough for is to see my grandchildren grow up and become successful adults, and perhaps even have their own children. They are 5 and 8, so that's a long time for me to stay healthy and enjoy every minute I have with them. We are going on a road trip at the end of month to your city, Ronni, Portland, with side trips to McMinnville and the coast.

Excellent news to hear about your neighbors who will be "in charge" while you recuperate. Sounds like great people--cat people who can laugh.

Thoughts and prayers every day.

When my father's lung cancer was diagnosed, it was just happenstance that I had moved back to that general part of the country as a single parent of his only grandchild. So I was able the drive to my home town (less than a hour) frequently to spend time with him, mostly talking about everything else other than the fact that he was dying. We are an emotionally suppressed group anyway, so the subject was only barely skirted a couple of times. In the ensuing years after he was gone, I felt a bit guilty wondering if maybe he wanted to talk more about the impending end of life. Now that I have been diagnosed with an incurable form of leukemia, I realize that just spending time telling stories and/or listening to his, was exactly the right thing to do. As Garrison Keillor wrote: "You get old and realize there are no answers, only stories."

(I don't have a bucket list)

On my bucket list is to go to Nantucket, rent a cottage and paint.

Travel....but not on big ships. I want to see the world from a small ferry. Norway has some wonderful ones as does Alaska. I'd like to see what the USA offers. I discovered some marvelous spots on the Green River in Utah. I bet there are other wonderful surprises just waiting around the bend for me to find.

That's a good start for sure.

When I was 65, a long time friend and mentor in his mid-nineties asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I hadn't really thought of it that way, but I found myself blurting: "go outside." How's that for reverting to 8-year-old dreams?

So I have, to the best of my ability. I have run, very slowly, two ultramarathons since then.

Now as I am reaching 70, I'm still intent on going outside -- this summer we intend to walk in Spain on the Camino de Santiago.

I told another friend, a gent of 88, about these plans the other day and he urged: "do it now." I'm trying to take the advice of my good friends.

One of the gifts of my life is that I've always enjoyed older mentors!

Okay, a bucket list—something I never think about. It wouldn't be about going anywhere, but there is one thing. I'd like to move back to the country, where I could plant and nurture a very large garden. The garden I have today is a small strip on a cliff beside our condo building. It's fine, and keeps me connected to plants, which I love. But some days, I still yearn for the beauty and challenge of a large garden!

I love Cannon Beach, and find it a beautiful healing place. Love the stacks in the ocean, and the Lodge there. Enjoy each tasty morsel of those clams. Many of my fondest memories in life are about beautiful places and nature and delicious meals, as well as vibrant conversations.

What's on my bucket list has been sitting there for about 15 is to somehow get an RV and travel with my dog, hiking, cooking outdoors, writing, meeting new people and being in nature for about 2-3 months) Would love to start this by retaking the trip that took me to Canon Beach, from San Diego to Vancouver, about 9 years ago (also taken with my dog).

Oh Ronni, what blessings are piling up around you. It's great to hear that the one feasible thing you want to do has already been arranged. And who knows about the other, the one that now seems impossible -- as a song from the musical version of Cinderella pointed out decades ago -- "Impossible things are happening every day."

I have no bucket list either. What brings me the greatest joy, I already have -- in spades. A great group of people, known as Wild Ones, who advocate for native plants, the environment, butterflies, pollinators and birds, has been a saving grace for me for a few years now since I discovered them (which is a blessing I believe I received during a particularly challenging time in my life). WO is a national not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Appleton, WI, but with chapters all over the country. Full of smart, funny, interesting people, our local Rock River Chapter has gotten me outdoors more and helped hone my knowledge and appreciation of nature. I've had a love of nature since my earliest years, but while working like crazy and raising children and taking care of various family members, couldn't seem to justify the self-indulgence of spending much time in it. Now I see beautiful and fascinating plants, birds and butterflies daily when the season is right, right outside my window. Yesterday I was within inches of a hummingbird which was chiding me because I was obviously invading its space. That same day I discovered swallowtail caterpillars in the dill. For me, life doesn't get any better than that, and I am so very grateful.

I'm hoping you get those razor clams sooner than you think you might. Until them, I hope you enjoy savoring them in your mind. Anticipation can be pretty sweet, too.

I just love your attitude! All the best to you! Just read your news as we have been mostly off line having just returned from completing one of our bucket list items, a Scotland/Baltic cruise.
The Oregon Coast is a bucket list item in itself, made more delightful when paired with a sumptuous meal!

We've been to Cannon Beach once, Ronnie. I think we ate at that restaurant. Fabulous seafood.

I don't have a bucket list, but if I make one it would surely include eating Seafood Pad Thai at a Portland restaurant near the Benson Hotel. I believe it is called The Peacock or Peacock Thai? Such a plain dish, but we nearly slid off our chairs with pleasure at the first bite.

Another thing for sure is a canoe trip on the Boundary Waters, but just on one lake. No more portages, please, but a freshly caught lake fish for dinner would be just the thing, pan-fried in butter with some garlic.

Wow. Who knew fish would play such a part?

I had one more thing which I intended to mention in my earlier comment. Yesterday I saw the HBO documentary, by Carl Reiner, "If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast." Maybe others here have seen this already, but I was not aware of it previously. It was a collection of old footage, more recent interviews, and discussions between Reiner and some of his fellow nonagenarian celebrities. Reiner was so honest and open, and the others in the film were so authentic in telling their stories. And, for the most part, I don't think they relied on make-up or otherwise tried to present themselves as younger than they were. A few had died during the production, but most are still alive and kicking well into their nineties. This documentary was moving, inspiring, funny and very interesting and I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it.

The one thing that would have topped my bucket list was to move to Colorado. I was fortunate enough to do that 12 years ago, when housing here was still within reach (barely). Today such a move would be impossible, as housing costs have skyrocketed. But I'm here, within an hour or two of all my favorite places, and just a mile or so from my son and his family, so I'm quite content.

Just this morning I was sitting on my balcony thinking how sweet my life has been... Stress? For sure. Uncertainty? Years of it. But I've done some crazy-ass things... and had some fun.

And I've gotten to do a lot, learned a lot, have and had great friends, two wonderful sons who have spent the last couple of years teaching me how to mind my own business 😂. I love being retired! I don't travel, have to pay attention to how I manage my money etc.. But I have hours and hours to read, have time and space to reflect, and think deeply about life, and as an introvert who had to and did function well in an extroverts world, I can now sink into solitude with a great sigh of relief.

Ronni, can I suggest something for your bucket list? Turn this blog into a book? I've searched for good, rich, honest books about aging and there are very few out there. Books written by academics, and especially young academics don't count. With aging you can't write about it if you're not living it - it is a new country indeed. And I've let my AARP membership go since they've become a marketing organization and target wealthy 50 somethings... what you've created here is exactly what older adults are craving.

And lastly, like all here you will be in my thoughts and heart throughout your surgery and recovery! 🌿✨

My father died at 59 of cancer. My goal after that was to live my dreams by that age and I did. Which left me wondering what now at age 60. That's when I discovered telling tales and laughing. I found a hiking group whose primary goal was to have the hike over by happy hour. Many of those hikers have said the happy hour is why they do the hikes. It's all telling tales and laughing as hard as we can.

I tore my bucket list up a few years ago when I knew that it was too late to do any more traveling. My list started very early.

Seeing far-away places with strange sounding names had been my dream since childhood. Fortunately I did see some of them and now I live in my memories and photos of the best of those places. I now take pleasure in reading about those far-away places.

I tell anyone who will listen "Do it now. Throw away the excuses and make it happen if you have a bucket list." Ronni, maybe you can use your New York friends to help you find an old duffer who has an apartment he will share with you for your scintillating company.

If you are not into old duffers, perhaps a nice woman who shares your interests and living style would welcome an intelligent fascinating room mate. Just a thought.

Fabulous post. I'm posting the link on the Facebook page and on the Bucket list Stitch forum.

Ronni, you are an inspiration! Thank you for openly sharing yourself with your readers. Your humor, wit and candor are invaluable. I "see" you being strong and healthy and remaining so for a very long time! Crabby Old Lady has a lot more to say! (Love her 😊)

Hi Ronnie....I do have a Bucket List. I am not a house person. I am of the belief that the house will always be there and just get through and live each day. But....eventually the house has to be straighten up. My husband is gone now 6 years and I just started to move some of his things out. Not much though, as my son says, baby steps. So at the top of my Bucket List is to 'Let Go' no matter how difficult. The next is the house look nice again. I think right now if someone broke in they would think someone else bet them to it! My son says I'm lucky I live in a row house because the other two houses hold mine together. My third is a road trip to Maine. They rest are small things that may happen or not. I have to stick to the primary 3 first before I add anthing else. Take care and hang in....thoughts and prayers going your way.

Though I rarely comment, I enjoy reading your blog, Ronni, and am wishing you well in your upcoming surgery and whatever treatments lie ahead.

The subject of bucket lists has been much in my mind over the last year. I, too, have one that is undoable, and I have been surprised at how that realization has affected my emotions. I have had a list since I was a child, though at the time, of course I had not heard the term "bucket list." It was mostly places I wanted to visit. Ever since I accomplished the first two at age 20, the same item has been at the top of my list. After retiring, and finally talking my husband into it, I was planning to, at last, visit the place I had wanted to see since I first saw the photos and read about it in National Geographic in 6th grade - Machu Picchu. In talking with my doctors about it, they told me that it would not be wise to attempt 12,000+ feet of altitude. I am still amazed how the loss of that long-time dream has affected me. I still get weepy every time I think about it. It has to be more than just the loss of that one trip. The loss of health? The loss of ALL the things I had wanted to do until I die and am no longer able to do? - Skiing, hiking, gardening - all gone. This is something I never thought of when thinking about retirement and growing old. I had always just thought I would carry on with life, doing the things I loved, until one day I dropped dead. Hah! One of the bits of wisdom I've gained through this ageing process is how silly our younger selves' ideas about ageing were. As Susan remarked, young people, even academics, (and our former selves) don't really get it - you have to experience it to know what it's like.

I console myself with the knowledge that perhaps I just did it backwards - As a young person I had the good fortune to travel far and wide, and often. Before retirement, I had more than most retirees get to do. So now, instead of impossible dreams, I look forward to our "game days," when our daughters come spend the weekend at our house (they both live within 40 min. of me) for a marathon of board games. And in spite of the chaos of having my house "invaded," I think about how lucky I am that my grown children actually want to spend time with their parents!

Thank you, Ronni, for sharing your wisdom, thoughts, and feelings with us all. It helps to know that we're not in this alone.

Hi Ronni,

I used to live in Manzanita, so I know Cannon Beach and am so happy you'll be eating those razor clams soon.
I moved to Manzanita to be with the love of my life (we reconnected at our HS 30 year reunion) and we spent 12 wonderful years together, the last 2 in the roller coaster of cancer care. He died of colon cancer in 2002. We approached his disease with all the intentionality, grace, and humor we could muster. We talked about a bucket list, and he concluded he had been everywhere he wanted to go and done most of what he had wanted to do. He wanted to be in our home, in our garden, with our good friends and our cats.
We spent a lot of time talking about life and death and eternity, and whether there is communication after the separation of death (there is, as far as I am concerned). We talked about fear and joy and actually we laughed a lot. The story I want to share is short and always makes me laugh, to this day.
I have been a student of Native American spirituality, and am fond of smudging to clear a space, to call in the sacred. One day after we had been to Portland for his chemo, he was lying on the bed and I was smudging the house and both of us. As I waved the smudge stick over him, a live ash dropped on his chest. With a straight face, but dancing eyes, he looked up at me and said "You're a little previous, aren't you?" And I cracked up. It may not be that funny or even that understandable to others (he was referring to cremation), but I guess my point is, there are moments even in sickness and approaching death where humor can rise to the surface and make everyone smile. And how can you be simultaneously fearful and joyful? We chose joy, even at the end, and gratitude for our wonderful life.
My bet is you are doing the same. Blessings, Ronni.
PS I agree with the other poster here about a book from this blog.

Like you, I haven't had a bucket list because my life has been so full. I usually let the Universe provide me with new adventures.

Bucket list? That's too close to "kicking the bucket" for my taste. Or maybe that's where it came from. I obviously didn't see the movie.

Anyhow, except for missing some people who are now gone, that I'd loved to have spent more time with, I guess I don't really hanker after lost opportunities, or wish I'd done this or that.

I've read my quota of books (and then some),wandered around a fair amount of our world, had wonderful friends and perhaps not too many who aren't.

At this point in my own life, I'd say I'm grateful for what has come my way, and will be grateful for whatever experiences are next.

Ronni, I second those who suggested compiling your columns into a book. You have dispensed wise advice thru these 14 years that could help many more as they come of age..our age. And this is something that might keep your active brain busy while you are recuperating.

OMG I am with you on the razor clams! Just make sure you hit the coast when they are in season and fresh. Dave and I by accident found a restaurant serving them on Quinalt Beach in WA State once but the frozen ones from Pike Place Market weren't the same! Yum!

No bucket list here; however, other TGB followers have amazing comments on the subject. After 2 years, I'm still adjusting to retirement. Like EVA and her late partner, I'd like to kick the bucket (yes, I think that's where the term "bucket list" came from) in my own home with my husband, if he survives me, and our 3 cats. I've never been much of a traveler and have no unrealized travel dreams.

As I've said before (maybe too many times!) I don't much like the losses that come with ageing, but as long as I'm here and more or less functional, it is what it is. . .

All good thoughts--prayers not really since I'm a non-religious person--to you, Ronni. May The Orange Apparition be declared impeachable or resign the day of your surgery!

To quote Gandhi, "Your life is your message." A cyber hug and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

sometimes all we have is laughter, it is our salvation and our shield. There is no really good organization dealing with the real issues of aging, it's a do it yourself project. AARP is useless and misleading in it's marketing. You have provided information and solace and validation to all who follow you. I am glad to be a follower and understand you are brave, even though you are scared. That is real courage. As everyone else says, you are in my thoughts and prayers and I see you recovering. If I had one piece of advice to anyone, this is what it would be, Never miss an opportunity to laugh

Ronni - Redstone and I are living in our 'bucket list'. During our fifty-four years together we have relocated our family from coast-to-coast, corner-to-corner chasing dreams as well as a paycheck! A journey that few have traveled but many have envied. With each move came expanded horizons and an even newer landscape. What makes this world so wonderful are the occasional people you meet along the way . . . a PhD student building bird cadges in Wyoming, a Tarahumaran Indian who runs hundreds of miles in just a few days, a train ride through the jungles meeting an Indiana Jones kind of guy who is no one's stranger, and the list goes on. Then there are the endless landscapes and sunsets in Alaska, the Bahamas, the Colorado Rockies, and the coast of Maine, Oregon, and California. There is so much to see and do - and still more. Life is worth living - so live every damned minute.

BTW: While in Oregon on a few trips we keep finding this little, quiet restaurant in a few places along the Oregon coast - usually right smack dab on the ocean. Look for Mo's [Chowder] and try that clam chowder in the bread bowl.

Happy trails, Ronni. Always remember we, your traveling companions, are still here. Sitting right next to you!

Y and R

After watching the movie, The Bucket List, I too made a list. One of the items on my list was to visit the Vatican. I never thought I would be able to do it, but I did visit the Vatican thanks to my daughter. You may not be able to live in NYC again or maybe you will. Maybe you will live in NYC for a month or two each year. Keep the faith. I love the blog. I will be praying for your full recovery.

Just a word to say how brave and courageous and high-spirited you are during this difficult time. In the Five Wise Guys, a TV series at the Third Act Project website, the old guys were talking recently about bucket lists. Some have 'em, some don't. Matthew Tannenbaum (owner of an independent bookstore for 41 years in Lenox, MA) in his inimical way, said something like: "At our age, there's a bucket list and also a fuck it list -- the things we no longer feel we have to do." I love that idea! It's a great stress reducer.

Continued good luck, and may you continue for another 14 years in the same brilliant way.

Sam Bittman

No bucket list for me either! In the 1980's, when I was in my mid-thirties and early forties, I had a job that enabled me to travel all over the country, and I did. Whenever I got $2,000 together, I traveled to the places in Europe that I wanted to see, and $2,000 was all it took. I wouldn't want to go now that every tourist spot is either too crowded to see anything, or dangerous.

I didn't make it to Paris, and if I get the chance to do that, I'd like to go, off-season, and stay with an old college friend who lives near there. But if I don't - well, I don't.

I do often wish that I had remembered to have children, or a child. Children anchor one's life, and grandchildren seem to make people very happy. On the other hand, I have seen that whole scenario turn out badly. And the time for that has passed, and I do have a lovely partner and a dog.

I think of you often and always send you the best energy I can muster, and strength, and prayers. I live in Seattle and if I did have a list (not a bucket list, just a list) of things that would make my life richer, meeting you someday would be on it.

No bucket list here either. The idea of making one makes me think I'd just end up with a list of regrets. (There are a few modest things I want to do: Keep living until my daughter is "launched" -- any time after that would be gravy. Get over my fear of water and learn to swim, dammit. Drive across the country. Laugh more. Small stuff.) But a fuck it list? (Thanks for the laugh, Sam.) Now that's something I think I'd enjoy compiling! Top of that list: Ever, ever becoming a good cook.

Ronni, like everyone else here, I'm sending good thoughts your way. And that will be the case ALL day on 6/20!

Grateful for my life today with nothing to yearn for, though always some regrets if we hurt another, I think top of my bucket list is that you get to keep writing as long as you damn want to, and that peace and grace attend you, and every word, as they have.

Two neighbours to help you???


Darlene has a good suggestion, Ronni, about possibly sharing a home in your beloved NYC.

Bucket list..

Most of my wishes already came true.

However there is One Thing.

I am a YUGE MOTOWN fan, (60's era) so I would be thrilled to have a tour of "Hitsville," the original home in Detroit where Berry Gordy started it all.

And if we could do a backward bucket list, I'd like to go back to the sixties and work at Motown as a hit song writer.

Ronni, write the book!!

Enjoyed sharing other's BUCKET lists. Since a arrived on my 80th Birthday this week, I had better get started on mine!

I have always been a dreamer. Some dreams have come true, others faded or changed and different dreams have taken their place. It makes me sad that my biggest dreams didn't happen and are "undoable". I never dreamed of meeting my very own Prince Charming and living happily ever after, yet I did.

Ronnie, you have inspired me to do something I can do. I have always, always wanted write. Through the years I wrote blogs, but quit almost a year ago. The last few days when I read this blog, the old writing itch popped up. I am going to start new private journal.

Hi Ronni...Here's my bucket list?

1. Locate a tube sock autographed by Lionel Richie.

2. Write a poem about the the "History of Bleaubonic Plague".

3. Date a juggler

What do think?
Fred in Boston

Fred: I love your list and humor!

Humor gets me through life, one giggle at a time.

I understand about New York City Ronni, that's how I feel about Seattle. Home. Expensive. But living there again is not on my non-existent bucket list. I've gotten to do a lot of wonderful things, knew/know some great people. Some of the things I tried were incredible flops but it's okay. A couple of things I missed I can't do now anyway and I'm okay with it.

Bucket list:
1. Get up every day.
2. When #1 no longer applies I wish to become worm food.

Hi Regina and Celia--I live in a smaller city just outside Seattle. If it's feasible, maybe after Ronni is back on her feet after surgery and any other treatment that may follow, the three of us could make it down to Oregon to meet her and have lunch! That could be worth a place on our "Whatever" List, for sure!

Nomdeplume, that kind of describes it for me, as well.

I'm glad we have traveled so much. I have no wish to travel right now. I'm so happy in my home in Hawaii. But we will go to the Mainland in August to see the solar eclipse if I'm well enough.

What a great idea to post your bucket lists. I am really enjoying reading them. I wish I had a bucket list myself. But I did get a chance to go to Paris for a few days before visiting my son in Belgium where he was an expat for a few years. We spent our few days there walking the old neighborhoods and stopping at cafes people watching and we found the French to be very kind and helpful. I would love to go back and spend 10 days. Who knows, but at least we did it once. Michael says: We'll always have Paris".
Hugs to you brave girl.

Whooo, another great topic!! I often feel as though I should really long to do something. Now I do have some longings, but they are ephemeral. Ireland is one, driving cross country for the last time, with an artist, visiting my old stomping grounds in New York, visiting my favorite museums. I guess I must be fairly content where I am, with my life as it is. Maybe the years of meditation are kicking in, being in the moment is awfully good. Walking under the big sky, napping on the porch to the song of the thrush, still getting some painting in, being with friends now and then, this is the goodness of my life. What I yearn for is better health, the strength to stay here. OH, I have just started the concept of local pilgrimage, which is a joy.
Another great topic Ronni!

Even tho I had Plan A thru G or H before I took early retirement, none of them panned out. Retirement, as the saying goes, is a journey, not a destination. Things changed over the last 5 years. I am happy with what I am doing now: classes and volunteer work. I must get out of the house 6 days a week (and probably 7) even in winter. I don't do well with unscheduled time. I think about what I want to accomplish for the year ahead and keep track.

Bucket list? Travel. Right now, I travel within the U.S. to pursue my hobby. I would love to travel the world especially Africa, Southeast Asia and Japan. I've been to Japan 2X but my last trip was over 20 years ago.

I was wondering how bucket list came to be in popular culture? One day everyone was using this phrase. Now it's the word "literally".

I learned that I had a mass on my ovary, a mass in my bladder, and a mass in my breast in November. The urologist said I was what he called a "sh*t sandwich. My husband had died in April last year (I had been his caretaker and oxygen-carrier) and my dog died of liver cancer in July. I thought I was simply exhausted from deaths and paper work--i ignored the weight loss and slight pain in the side and back.

After the tests and diagnoses, I found two doctors who could perform all three surgeries at the same time in January. Breast and bladder cancer were caught early; ovarian mass was not cancerous. My children (who don't live nearby) spent a month with me but it was my friends and brother who drove or accompanied me to all those pre-surgery and post-surgery appointments--we laughed a lot! By February I felt better than I had in several years.

I have no bucket list and don't enjoy travel. I am an artist so, for my 75th birthday in March, I gave myself a former jewelry store/tattoo parlor in our small town. It will be my studio--an open studio where people can come in, sit around, and tell stories. The building's being renovated and I, with my childrens' blessings and neighbors' help, am slowly moving in. I may never actually open (WTH) but I am enjoying the process--and cancer is no longer the first thing I think about In the morning.

I am content and thankful for each day. I hope you continue to enjoy writing because we like following.

I just had another thought--as if you needed one. While recovery will take a long time, it does involve gradually feeling better, so that long before you are completely recovered, you should be feeling a lot better than at the beginning. Just sayin'

You really do need a hug. Lots of them. I would recommend grief counseling now not later to get the people support you need now. You are grieving. We are, too, for you. I would love to rally the troops but we're spread out all over. Please get a support person or group behind you to fall back on. We all love you.

For a long while now I have been searching for seniors with stories. Those with stories about their lives, past or present, funny or sad, real or fantasy. Whatever, I don't care. I say seniors, because by the time you become a senior, you have a pocket full of adventures and stories to go with them.

Today I found your blog. Your followers love and cherish you. How wonderful! I wish you well and I can't wait until you are back on the blog again.

From Susan, June 14: "Ronni, can I suggest something for your bucket list? Turn this blog into a book? I've searched for good, rich, honest books about aging and there are very few out there. Books written by academics, and especially young academics don't count. With aging you can't write about it if you're not living it - it is a new country indeed."

Ronni, New friend here. Get in touch some time after that Cannon Beach razor clam dinner, when you and Ollie are lolling around feeling bored. I think I can help you shape that book proposal.

Til then.

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