Reddit can be a truly wonderful community sometimes. For example, there was a recent Ask Reddit in which people with less than a year left to live got to talk about their situation, and all of Reddit rushed in with love, support, and awesomeness. It’s not everyday you see something as special as this.
Thanks to everyone who contributed. If you would like to read more stories like these, be sure to check out the source link at the end of this article. Comments have been edited for clarity.
My dad is currently 1 year into “6 months to 2 years” of a glioblastoma diagnosis. He has had a good life and didn’t have much on his bucket list but we are going to Key West this summer so he can enter an Ernest Hemingway look alike contest.
I have stage 4 brain cancer. I have confidence I will beat it, though. I had it 19 years ago when it was self contained, so I have a good idea of what to expect. This time it is inoperable, because it is skull based, but chemo begins next week. If I don’t make it, I am content with that. I found out who I was and what I wanted out of this life 19 years ago, and no, unless your work is really important, it will never define you. I can say that I truly lived and can die at any time without regrets and full of inner peace and happiness. I can’t tell you how important it is for all of us to take a step back, look at the big picture and find out what is really important to us. After that, life becomes very clear and the way to live it becomes even clearer.
My fianc was diagnosed with an inoperable Glioblastoma, Grade IV in February. We are looking at maybe two years, but are hopeful that it can be prolonged with clinical trials. He has thought long and hard about his bucket list, and always comes back to just wanting to spend as much quality time with me and his twin sons as long as possible.
I could die tomorrow, any one of us could. So, how can we help each other today?
My neighbor, who is 94, called me last week and said she is terminal and has about 4-8 weeks to live. She’s a super nice lady who I have always enjoyed talking to. She asked me to mow her front yard until she dies. I’m happy to help, as long as it’s one less thing she has to worry about.
My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer this Spring. He’s gone through two rounds of chemo and, so far, it has actually done a good job of shrinking the tumors. He’s pretty miserable while doing chemo, but he has reasonably long stretches between treatments when he feels fine. Based on his age and overall health, he could live more than a year, maybe a couple years. But it’s pancreatic cancer… we are not taking anything for granted.
He’s already taken a trip to Italy, (where he was born), and he’s visited or made plans to visit many old friends. We’re all doing our best to just do everything normally. I will grieve after he’s gone, not before.
The one thing he really, really wanted, that he never got, was an old Volkswagen bus. He used to own one, years ago, but had to sell it for various reasons. Around 20 years ago, he bought a “restorable” one. Basically a rusty shell. He paid a local VW mechanic thousands of dollars over several years and did lots of free database work for him, but the guy was a total flake and took him for a ride. He managed to get back about half the cash he paid, but of course no work had been done, and he was also out all the time he spent working on the guy’s database. Several years later, the mechanic died in a shop accident, and that was that.
He sold the shell some years ago for a few hundred bucks. It had been sitting in our driveway for years doing nothing.
Now, old VW buses, (specifically the split-window ones that he loves), have exploded in price, and not only is it not feasible to do a full restoration on one, he can’t even really afford to buy one in rough but drivable condition.
I thought about looking up local VW clubs and seeing if anyone would be willing to lend their bus to us for a day or a weekend or something, but I’m not sure if that’s realistic. I don’t know if anyone would be willing to lend out their rare and expensive classic car to a total stranger. On top of that, I’m afraid that even if I do manage to score a VW bus for a weekend, it’ll only lead to him feeling worse because it’s not his.
So I’m not sure. I think I just wanted to talk about this. I still think he would love to drive one before he dies.
I’m going to a VW club meeting tomorrow evening to talk to some people and hopefully set something up. One thing is for sure – I will definitely get my dad behind the wheel of a VW bus, even if only for a little while.
Well, I’m enjoying permanent and unrelenting nerve pain. Ruined my life, lost my job, lost my health, lost my sports and activities. My partner is still around, but I don’t think they really want to be, so that will probably end soon.
Drugs don’t work, therapy doesn’t work. Still try them though, give it my all and will keep doing so. Doesn’t help, been doing it for 4 years now. At a certain point that whole, “Stay positive, you can do it” attitude can really stop.
I’ll probably run out of savings in another 6 months. Eight, maybe. I sometimes do manage to get some contract work which helps. If that happens I’ll probably check out, otherwise I’m good.
It’s funny really. I took my health for granted, chased down money and things. Now money doesn’t matter, because what am I going to do with it? Things don’t matter because pain makes everything un-fun.
My dad was recently given a year or so, after being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer that has metastasized to his ribs, pelvis, spine, femur and tibia.
He just hit 66 and retired last year, then BOOM, terminal diagnosis. He’s a big Final Fantasy MMO player is his retirement. I don’t even know what he’d have on his bucket list that’s not family or FF14 related. He’s pretty reserved, and rarely opens up about his impending departure.
Just to put it in people’s minds, lots of people around the world constantly need blood. Whether it is leukemia, accidents, or blood disorders, there is a constant need for blood. It takes about an hour to give and you get cookies and juice (usually). Do it!
I have MDS, which is a form of cancer affecting the bone marrow and blood cell production. If left untreated, in my case, it is fatal in less than 18 months. The bone marrow transplant procedure itself is has a 20% fatality rate, but I am preparing for it this fall.
Due to missed work, because of the frequency of doctor’s appointments, I’m in danger of losing my job, am behind on every bill, and rent is always a concern.
The point being that money is extremely tight and must be prioritized to the penny. On my bucket list, I would very much like to read these two books:
Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look At Making the Magic Real
Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show
Note from the article author: Since this was shared, jwvanno has received both books, as well as financial assistance.
A friend of mine recently lost both of his parents within a few years of each other. He was their primary caregiver. He’s been struggling with his own health issues for quite some time and landed in the hospital this weekend. He’s been given 30 days to live. He’s not in a position to fulfill any bucket list items, but I think it would be a kind gesture to flood his final days with cards, flowers or other sentiments.
Note from the article author: Since this story was shared, hundreds of people have contacted gilbertshrum to send cards and flowers to their friend. In response, gilbertshrum said: Thanks for the prayers, kind words and positive energy.
Days later, gilbertshrum had a follow up message:
Unfortunately, Ramon “Ray” Figueroa joined his Parents today in Heaven. I sincerely appreciate the outpouring of… putting pen to paper to try and make his last days a little bit easier. I can’t thank you all enough for your generosity. There is definitely some good hearts out there amongst us all.
I’ve probably got more than a year left in me, but with Stage IV colon cancer, who knows. I’m actually in a chemo infusion right now. The only thing I honestly want is to spend every waking moment with my young children. The thought of them growing up without me, without knowing who I am, is probably the thing that weighs most heavy on my mind.
But as far as actionable list items, I need to climb a mountain again. I grew up near the Rockies and have backpacked and hiked all through the southern Rockies. I keep thinking about when I’m done with chemo seeing if I can’t bag a few of the simpler peaks near the Denver metro area. I’d like to start a group in Indianapolis with this or similar hikes/climbs in mind, but haven’t done so yet. I’ll look into starting this though.
I wanted to tell you all my dad, who has liver cancer, and it has metastasized. He still feels good, but at his last doctor’s appointment they wanted to get him started on palliative care, so it’s not looking good at all.
He wants to go fishing with his only grandson… but I only had him 3 weeks ago, so he’s not going to be up for fishing this year.
We just had our third child. I found out during the pregnancy that something wasn’t right. The baby is healthy, but it’s an 80% chance that I have cervical cancer that has spread. I’m not even 30 yet.
Life has been extremely stressful lately since I left my job. We lost more than half of our income, I was working 12-15 hour days at the time and couldn’t do it anymore.
Not me, but my grandmother. My grandmother on my mother’s side is a Korean citizen living in Korea. She is my last remaining grandparent. She is currently hospitalized.
Korean culture is such that many of nursing duties that are not strictly medical in nature must be performed by a family member. This leads to the expectation that a family member be at her side.
My father was taking care of my grandmother when there was a situation such that doctors had reason to believe that her liver was failing and therefore needed to be sent to a major hospital. My dad approved the ambulance to take her to the hospital, (as the ambulance fee is not fully covered by the national health insurance, if a family member is present, the family member must consent).
Heeding the doctor’s advice, my father approved the ambulance, which incurred a charge of around $90. Once my grandmother gets to the hospital, my uncle calls and throws a fit about how my father loves to waste money and does not know how things work in Korea. My parents lived in America; I still do. He accused the doctor of milking the system for money and my dad for falling for it. He raised a fuss in front of everyone, until my father offered to pay for it out of his own pocket, instead of my grandmother’s health insurance fund, despite the fact that both my father and my grandmother, (once she was stabilized), believed that the decision was a good one.
We all know the reason why this is happening. My uncle thinks that my grandmother will blow all his share of the inheritance on medical costs, and sees my dad as an enabler. My grandmother has been feeling sad, but her depression is getting worse as she realizes many of her children have already written her off, and sees her as only a potential bag of money they have to try to redeem.
I think my grandmother just needs assurance that she matters in some way. My dad and my mom are caring for her, but they are only two people who both work much more than 40 hours a week. I just wish there was something that could be done.
She was born into poverty and colonial oppression, experienced life in one of the most horrific wars in history, and still managed to raise 4 children, one of who was deaf. She has continually sacrificed for her children, was basically married off to a horrible man who came home drunk every night, and endured life in a society where this was all somehow her responsibility to bear. I think that after all these decades, she just wants be loved before she goes away from the world.
I have a very rare autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis. It’s very similar to Lupus. I’m not terminally ill, but I’ll probably have a shorter life than most. My main wish is that I could talk to more people who are living in my situation.
I’m 27. I have systemic, metastasized, inoperable cancer of uncertain origin. Maybe a year left. Maybe a bit more, depending on what treatments become available and work. Possibly less.
I always wanted to be in movies and make movies and be on the stage, and I’m probably not going to get to realize that now. But I love talking about movies, too, and I think…maybe…I could do that well. I registered a YouTube channel for movie reviews. And that’s most of what I do at home I sit around and talk to my mom and my friends about movies so if I made a bunch of videos of that, she’d have them once I died, and it’d pretty much be like I was there, which she would like, and knowing that would make me feel good, too. And it’d be way more fun putting thoughts and videos together if it felt like you people were watching, ’cause that’s how my brain works I guess.
My son, who is 21, has an inoperable glioma on his brain stem, he does not know how long he has. Due to his illnesses, (he also has juvenile diabetes), he had to quit school a few years back and has no friends now. We live in mid Michigan, about an hour outside of Grand rapids. He is a big-time gamer. Because his illnesses affect his socializing, and he has no driver’s license, he can’t get out with friends, or develop friendships. His schedule consists of at least weekly doctor visits, that’s it.
I just wish he had a person or two who would like to hang out, he’s funny, and acts more like a 16 yr old. I just wish my son had a friend in real life. Half his problem was when he would reach out and tell someone about his cancer or whatever, they would think he was lying & stop talking to him. That’s all.
Note from the article author: The mother who shared this story has had many, many messages flood in from people who want to reach out to her son.
For all of you feeling hopeless, here’s my story:
I was born with a heart defect and an intestine defect. Along with those, I was born deaf and with very bad eyesight. The doctors told my parents that I wouldn’t survive until age five. When I was four years old, my skin broke out red. The skin on my hands and feet became loose and were peeling. My tongue turned bright red. My eyes were bloodshot. It appeared as if I had a blistering rash across my back, genitals and stomach. My dad freaked out and took me to the emergency room. The emergency room told my parents it was a bug bite. They sent me home.
I got worse, I wasn’t feeling well at all. My entire body was turning red, so my dad drove to another city and took me to their emergency room. The hospital ER took me in immediately, and they were fairly certain I didn’t have a bug bite. They couldn’t figure out what I had. The doctors ran several tests. Everything was coming back negative. After being in the emergency room for several hours, an elderly Japanese doctor happened to be walking by my room and diagnosed me on the spot. He was absolutely correct in my diagnosis as the treatment for it, worked.
He diagnosed me with Kawasaki Disease. It started a rather interesting change of my life. My parents were already trying to figure out how to pay my medical bills. But, this doctor set me and my parents up with contacts in San Francisco, Stanford, and Los Angeles. I spent the next few years traveling to the University of California, San Francisco every weekend, on the train. Every once in a while I would go up to UCLA. For the very first time in my life, because I got a rare disease, the big hospitals became extremely interested in my case.
I was a kid. I already was told I was going to die one day. They knew this since I was born. But, the doctors in San Francisco came up with a plan. They wanted to try and save my heart through experimental procedures. My heart was made worse by Kawasaki disease, it was an all or nothing type of operation. There was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it out alive. My mom would constantly ask me if I knew what this meant. I didn’t fully understand it as a kid, I just thought I would go to sleep and not wake up. I was terrified of sleeping. My parents described dying as sleeping forever. It made me hate sleep. I liked doing things, I liked having fun, watching tv, reading books. I even liked school…..
The surgery was a success. My mom got cable for the very first time, even though she couldn’t afford it, just so I could watch TV. My heart was still weak, but, they bought me time. A lot of time. Make-A-Wish Foundation stepped in, and granted me a wish. During that time I went to meet President Clinton.
At twelve years old, it was time for round two. This time a doctor from the University of California, Stanford relocated to Madera/Fresno. This meant I didn’t have to take trains anymore. This doctor is an amazing surgeon and a master of his craft. He’s been in several pioneering procedures, such as valve replacements through your groin. He came up with a plan to tackle my heart again, to help curb some of the blood flow problems I was having. He made sure we understood the risks, as it was more risky than the last surgery.
This surgery went smoothly. The doctor for the first time told me to be a kid. But, I was limited. He did tell me I’d probably make it until I was about 16 years old. This was the age where my best friends started dying. I grew up in hospitals. So, my friends were kids I meant in the hospital. Over the next five years, I had all my friends die. So, as a teenager I didn’t like talking to anyone. To this day, I am pitifully shy, because I know what it is like to lose a best friend and I don’t want to cause anyone else to feel that.
My grandma started becoming extremely concerned with me when I was spending my summer with her. I just enrolled in University. But, I was doing terrible. I was sleeping for 18 plus hours a day. I was having a very hard time staying awake. I made it to adulthood. This was a miracle, so I decided I liked school and wanted to go back and try and do more. My parents supported this decision, even though it was an expensive one.
My dad took me to see a doctor. I was on Social Security Disability at the time, due to my heart problems. The doctor wouldn’t take my insurance originally, but, once he learned of my case, the doctor made an exception. He immediately stated I needed surgery. He arranged to have my previous surgeon do my surgery, even though my previous surgeon is experienced in paediatric and I was now an adult. He felt it was very necessary to have a familiar surgeon. So, Social Security Disability dropped me instantly, the day after the surgery was requested.
This time they were going to tackle my aorta and valves. My mitral valve was fixed. Part of my right chamber was fixed. My left ventricle chamber became dangerously enlarged. They figured that was why I was always so sleepy. My heart couldn’t pump blood properly to my body. The aortic valve wouldn’t shut when pushing blood, so it kept growing larger trying to push more blood out, in turn making itself weaker.
When they went to crack open my chest cavity, the scar tissue from my previous surgery was attached to the walls of my heart, innominate vein, aorta and aortic valve. Thus, the cracking of my chest cavity shredded my heart. I died on the table.
The surgeon pulled a hail mary. The five hour surgery turned into 15. They reconstructed the left ventricle chamber, by patching it up with donor tissue and masterful stitching. Tissue to shrink the size of the chamber, luckily the chamber wasn’t too damaged. He had to reconstruct my innominate vein, by using donor parts, and reattaching it. My aorta was easily repairable, but, the aortic valve was a lost cause. He tried to repair it, but, ended up making an emergency decision. He replaced it with a mechanical valve.
After my recovery, it was a long recovery of being in the hospital for over a month straight. For the first time in my life, my ejection fraction was looking stronger. It’s nowhere near a normal person’s. But, it’s strong. I had many, many followup appointments.
This is the first time the doctor changed my lifespan outlook. They now agree I could live a normal lifespan. This was a huge change on my outlook of life. So when I was 25 years old, I found my first real paying job at a company I love and still am with to this day. I can see well now, and I have hearing aids. I went from being terminally ill, to having a normal lifespan.
It was quite the ride.