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  • The List

    “You should write a blog about cancer”. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard that statement over the past 6 years. My reply, “No, thank you.” When in all actuality, I wanted to respond, “Heck no!” You see as a cancer survivor I want to stay away from all things cancer. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s too heavy, maybe I just don’t want to go back there. You see, I didn’t survive cancer to live with it anymore. I survived cancer to grow old with my husband and children and to live life to the fullest. Stuff to do you see. People to meet.


    When I was going through treatment, I was challenged by a former chemo buddy of 70 years of age to write down everything I wanted to do in life and “Go for it”. It was a bucket list- long before the movie. He wasn’t going to survive and knew it and told me his only regret was talking himself out of doing things.  He recognized that he was his own biggest obstacle standing in the way of accomplishing his goals. So fast forward 6 years and I was standing over a young patient that had died (I’m a nurse), and suddenly I felt flush and realized that I had done very few things on my bucket list. I was granted 6 more years yet hadn’t done all that I could have done. Not to sound like an old Army commercial with “Be all you can be” but I was granted 6 more years than my chemo buddy and I hadn’t done much of what I promised (him or myself) I would.

    No longer. No longer am I going to stand in the way of myself accomplishing these 1300+ items. Will I accomplish them all? Perhaps not- but not on the account for lack of effort, money, or self-doubt. Will I be accomplished in all that I set out to do? No- but I have a great sense of humor and ability to laugh at myself along the way. Will I add more and take some things away? Yep. Why? Because it’s my list. I’m in control of my choices, actions, experiences, and attitude. At least that is what I am teaching my children, so isn’t it important that I be a visual example?

    Some of the items are simple like learning how to do a backflip on a trampoline or making 52 different cupcakes in one year. Others will require time, money, and opportunity like flying with the Thunderbirds, climbing Machu Pichu, or having a family portrait in front of the Eiffel Tower. And some are just plain weird to others, but I am kind of a nerd and I’m really ok with that. After 37 years, I have embraced my nerdiness and quirky sense of adventure. But I will learn, grow, smile, and laugh at myself along the way. You can see a small portion of my list here — I will learn about places, foods, cultures, sports, traditions, holidays, etc.  I will cross them off my list and journal, take pictures, and video as I go. Am I a photoshop, video, photography pro? Nope- but I will learn, as will you. I have an insatiable love of learning and would love to teach you along the way during this journey. The most important thing I can do is take the first step. I hope you follow along and if there is something just utterly amazing that you think I should accomplish or set my sights on before I leave this Earth, please drop me a line. The most important thing is to just start and learn as I go.  So here I go taking the first step, so learn with me… learn with Jenny.



    Julie Coryell

    This has definitely encouraged me to expand my “list”. I made a list years ago and I’m proud to say that I’ve marked several things of that list. Your list makes me realize that there are so many more things I want to do and they are all worthy of making “the list”!

    27 June 2011 at 7:31 pm Reply

    Let me just say loosely “I’m in love with you” thank you for adding sunshine to my day, my friend shared your blog with me and I will look forward to following you. What a breath of fresh air you are. Cheers lovely to Health & Joy!

    16 August 2011 at 12:39 pm Reply

      Aw shucks Bridge- what a kind thing to say. This has been an adventure like no other that I have ever experienced. So humbled by your compliment and excited to have a new friend to enjoy the journey with.

      16 August 2011 at 1:43 pm Reply

    Jenny – I absolutely love your zest for life and your video. Kudos for having such a great supporter in your husband. I look forward to reading more of your adventures and to planning mine :) With more go and less no!

    20 December 2011 at 11:33 am Reply

      Thanks, Angie! Jeff is indeed a great cheerleader. And I look forward to hearing all about your adventures. Life is good- say yes to as much as possible.

      20 December 2011 at 12:21 pm Reply

    Hi Jenny,
    I totally get where you are coming from! I had cancer just over 3 years ago and it feels like I have been holding my breath ever since. I was fortunate that mine was removed with surgery (mind you it was massive surgery that basically cut me in half!) and I didn’t have to have follow up treatment. But still, there is always that lingering feeling… But like you, I have decided that it is time to re-focus on LIFE this year; I am exercising, making a list of things I want to do this year (I just turned 44, so I have a 44 things to accomplish before December 23rd!), I am doing my own version of Project Life and getting back to my scrapbooking projects (my biggest fear when they said I had cancer was that my kids wouldn’t know who their mum was if the worst happened)…in short, I feel like I am taking in oxygen again. So I will be cheering for you and following you on your blog now as we both get on with the business of living without cancer! And if one of the things on your list is ever visiting Australia, just let me know!

    3 February 2012 at 1:15 pm Reply

      I totally understand that fear of your kids not knowing who you are or what you stand for and/or desire for their future. The kids were 1, 2, and 6. So I pretty much knew that if I didn’t survive, my 6 year old would pretty much have a couple of memories and that’s it. It was very scary. That’s why I do believe memory keeping (of some simple sort) is essential. It’s record that we were here and made an impact and that our story mattered.
      I’m so glad you are doing well and on the path towards thriving and living. Love the part where you said “I feel like I am taking in oxygen again”. That is powerful Lesley.
      And it most certainly is on my list to visit Australia so I’ll have to be intentional about making plans and getting there. Thanks Lesley and I’m rooting you on as well.

      3 February 2012 at 1:56 pm Reply

    I’m loving your blog Jenny. You have just inspired me to do a list. I have one of those in my head and on it is… WRITE A LIST. So that is exactly what I am going to do once I get off this computer. I just turned 40 so there is no time like the present. It’s so easy to take being healthy for granted. Pretty foolish on my part if you ask me so I love that you are inspiring not only the beautiful people who have gone through so much and are able to grab onto life again but also those of us who haven’t gone through it themselves because really things can change in a split second. It’s all relevant and it’s real. Live life I say. Thanks for the boost. Oh and Australia does ROCK. You’d love it! Hope hug a koala is on your list. xo

    4 February 2012 at 2:58 pm Reply

      Oh Kristina, this thrills me to the core. I’m so excited you have started your own journey and I can’t wait to hear about how you are checking things off your list. You will feel so unbelievably alive. And I have on my list to go scuba diving in Australia, see the fireworks in Sydney on New Year’s Eve, and now I’m adding hug a koala. Thanks so much for your comment – I can’t stop smiling.

      4 February 2012 at 3:46 pm Reply


    I found you through my friend Shawna and love your refreshing honesty and candor. You have a wicked sense of humor which I love.

    Don’t know where you are geographically, (I am in Marietta, an Atlanta suburb) but if you want help on things Judaic, since I noticed you had latkes, Sukkot and other things on your list I would love to help you.

    In fact, Purim is coming up soon and I make some great hamantaschen if you want to help or make yourself, or have me send you some.

    Hope to meet you and help you achieve some of your goals.

    All the best,


    5 February 2012 at 9:30 am Reply

      Thanks so much Kathy. I think I have a twisted sense of humor at times. :) I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I would love any recipes or suggestions you could send me. My husband was rasied Jewish so I would still like to expose my kiddos to as many traditions as possible. We are great at celebrating Hanukah and Passover, but need to improve on the other holidays. We celebrated Sukkot and Purim one year and they were fabulous. I would love your hamantaschen recipe!
      Thank you so much for your willingness to help me out. This has been such a fabulous adventure, made oh so much better with all the excitement and help from others. -Jenny

      5 February 2012 at 11:03 am Reply

    Hi Jenny,
    I’m French and I’m a photographer wannabe so if you ever come to France, I’d be glad to photograph your family! I’m not a pro yet but I could send you a few pictures beforehand so you know whether you’d like the photos. Also, it would be free! ;)
    Thank you for the blog.

    6 February 2012 at 6:43 am Reply

      Oh thank you so much Marjorie. We just might take you up on the offer as soon as we can get there. Would love for that to be soon. Thanks again for the generous offer and will keep in touch.

      6 February 2012 at 9:23 am Reply

    Wow. You are awesome. Your mindset is so encouraging! You’ve really given me a lot to think about, which I think is a sign of a truly great writer. Thank you for sharing this post, and for the inspiration to do more and live more.

    23 February 2012 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Hi Jenny,
    Good to know you are doing fabulous. You and your family are beautiful.

    Love Always,
    January…….now O’Connor!

    22 September 2013 at 1:03 pm Reply

    I just saw your post on Becky Higgins blog today and just signed up for yours. After seeing your list I want to make a bucket list. Oh, and I got to go Hot Air Ballooning last year for my birthday (and I hate heights), but LOVED it! I would definitely recommend it.

    23 February 2014 at 5:44 pm Reply

    I just had to let you know, I’m in love with your picture of you and your husband! It just makes me smile! You both look so happy and carefree… I guess it’s something I long for in my life (I haven’t given up hope). I loved reading your story and have been so inspired by it. Thank you for sharing it :)

    15 October 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply

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