A CANCER PATIENT’S EVER GROWING BUCKET LIST Mar21

A CANCER PATIENT’S EVER GROWING BUCKET LIST...

I have a patient. Let’s call her, Jessica. I love Jessica. She is one of my favorite patients. When I see her on my schedule, I always smile. She is a straight-talking, blunt, loud, and opinionated woman with a big heart. Jessica has metastatic lung cancer. When she came to me two years ago, she was told she had months to live. That day, we had a very real and honest conversation that lasted over an hour. We talked about her prognosis, best and worst case scenarios, a variety of treatment options and their side effects, and her fears. We spent some time talking about her goals and what she wanted to accomplish in whatever time she may have left. We talked about immunotherapy and the latest response rates we had seen with her type of cancer. She told me she was willing to try anything and with a determined spirit she emphatically stated, “Let’s give it a go!” She also shared with me that she had a bucket list. Her goal was to complete her entire list in whatever amount of time she had left on this planet. I told her, as long as she felt up to it, she should go for it. For the next two years Jessica continued on immunotherapy and traveled with friends and family. Her husband surprised her with a prom that he had planned with all of their friends where she danced until midnight. She fractured her foot while chasing seagulls on the beach. She got bright pink highlights to accentuate her silver hair because, as she reminded me, “You only live once!” After six months we laughed as she told me she had rushed through finishing her bucket list and had completed it! And she admitted...