If you only had six months to live...

If you only had six months to live…

…what would you do?

My expiration date has been set by 3 doctors as being between 6-12 months.

Because of my illness, my ability to get around is limited (so a walking tour of Europe is out of the question - but I could get around pretty well in any place that was handicap accessible).

My initial thought at my final treat was finding a nice Caribbean beach house with easy access to the beach but there would have to be doctors and a hospital on the island. But then I began to wonder if there was a really nice Caribbean island with a beach house with easy accessibility to doc’s and a hospital.

Money is not a real object - I could probably spend $100K without depriving anyone in my will of anything…

Any and all suggestions will be entertained - but you should keep in mind that I have always loved to travel, have seen most of Europe and the Middle East, and that I am handicapped to the extent that walking a mile is just out of the question.

Thanks in advance,


It may not be exotic, but I suggest Disney World! If you’ve never been there, you’d have a blast…I’m just not sure if your illness would affect your enjoyment, but Disney World is pretty handicaped accessible.

Oh, and I’m sorry to hear you’ll only be around another year; hope it’s a great one :slight_smile:

I’ll bet you can find what you require somewhere in the Caribbean. Sounds like that’s where you’d really like to be.

I hope, however, that you prove your doctors wrong and that you defy the odds.

You have my sympathies, and my admiration for tackling it head-on.

If I were told I only had 6 months to live, I’d work at proving them wrong.

If that were not possible, I’d want to spend as much time with friends and family as possible. Go see everyone you know or used to know. You may not last but their memories of you will.

Thanks for the suggestions thus far - my ‘last ditch effort’ was a heart transplant and I was turned down during the review process because of the advanced state of my diabetic neuropathy. I have good days and I have bad days and I have friends that help out and I’m pretty comfortable with the inevitable (although I avail myself and will continue to avail myself to any and all medical treatments as they are suggested).

And I do intend to make what time I have left as near great as possible!

I’ve been to Disney World - hmm - 6 or 7 times. I looked at some villas (with private pools, private access to the beach, maid & cooking services, etc.) for rent on St. Johns, USVI, but there are no doc’s or hospital on the island - you have to go to St. Thomas for that (and the ferry schedule is pretty tight).

I’m going to continue to look at Caribbean properties for rent - I love sitting on the beach and I bet a could work up a fee body surfs on good days… I’ve thought about a trip to London (where I lived for three years) but what I most enjoyed about London was the walking - and I just can’t do that any longer (well, and the shopping, which seems kind of pointless now - unless I’m shopping for others).

So - again - what would you do if you wanted to treat yourself (within the physical limitations). I’m not going to hire a bevy of hookers (I’ve been impotent for a while now) and I’m not going to drink myself to death (not much of a drinker) nor am I going to stray (too far, anyway) from my low-sugar low-cholesterol diet…

Please give it some more thought - and offer some more suggestions! You might have some ideas that I have not thought about (a friend this morning suggested cruises, for example - and said that there is always a doctor or doctors aboard a cruise ship so that’s something that I’ve never done and am going to look into…).

Many thanks,


I’m sorry to hear the news. Although I’ve seen some of your posts, I haven’t really gotten to know you, in my short time here, but it’s always sad to lose a fellow ursine.

As far as what you should do, well, as I said, I really don’t know you. What I would do, given that budget, is hire an RN to travel with me, fly or cruise to Australia, and spend about a month or more seeing the highlights there (by car, boat, plane and helicopter). Then I’d do the same basic thing in New Zealand. Lots of helicopter time, there. Then any parts of southeast Asia that caught my fancy. Maybe Komodo Island, to see the dragons, if that doesn’t involve too much walking. Then up to Tokyo, to see the Ginza at night (car, again), and a real Kabuki performance, if possible. Then Alaska, on the way back. It should be summer, by then. After that, every National Park I’ve ever wanted to see and hadn’t made it to, stopping off to see old friends and family on the way.

Is that too much? Too little? I don’t know what your energy level is. Really, what I would do is spend some time making a list of everything I’ve ever wanted to see or do, eliminate the ones I couldn’t physically do, and prioritize it. Then get going. And, keep going. Some of the might take some extra planning, and extra cash, to deal with your physical limitations, but almost anything is possible, these days. One thing I wouldn’t do is plunk myself down somewhere and wait for Death. If the bastard wants me, he can chase me.

You have my Positive Thoughts/Good Vibes/Prayers, boo_boo_bear.

If St. Thomas has docs & hospitals, why not go there?

My suggestions are pretty small, I want to see a Van Gogh painting in person and spend a lot of time with my friends & family. I want to drink a lot of good coffee & re-read some favorite books.

Is there any place in the US that you haven’t been to or would like to see again? My Mom’s dream is to drive an RV all over the US to places she hasn’t been to.

Also, this may sound silly but hear me out… have you ever been to a day spa for a full body massage? (Not the ‘happy ending’ back alley places, I mean the legit ones). If not, book yourself a one-hour massage post haste! Get one every few weeks. Pure Bliss, I’m tellin’ ya. And don’t feel weird about getting a massage, a lot of men go to the day spa that I go to. It’s a little thing but I find them highly enjoyable & relaxing - how better to spend your last few months?

Best Wishes.

I have found this to be a very difficult post to reply to. In order to offer you suggestions, I need to see what I would do, in your situation. Your bravery and incredible attitude are astounding. That being said…

You mention that you love to travel, but you haven’t mentioned any travelling in the US. Go check out some National Parks, as Davebear suggested. Many do have accessable walkways and nature trails, and would be a terrific way to quietly enjoy your time. Most parks I’ve been to have roads leading to some of the best views/attractions. Best wishes.

From the sound of it, I doubt the National Park idea would be very good at all – they’re far from good hospitals, and require a lot of ambulation. I second the cruise idea, since the medical staff aboard is attuned to the needs of older people, though you’d probably want to alert the ship’s doc to your severe condition when you embark. If I were in your unenviable position, I think I’d try to share as much of that time and money with loved ones. How about inviting along as many people as you can afford to to come on the cruise too?

There are beaches in the US. Why not find yourself a beach-house rental in the Carolinas, or even Hawaii? Since you like to travel, perhaps you could hire a traveling companion with some medical training to accompany you. And although you may not be able to walk long distances, a wheelchair could be pushed by the companion. I’ll admit, this isn’t the best time to be travelling abroad, though.

I think for me, I’d want to spend as much time with my family. In a way, you’re lucky you know what’s coming - at least you have the opportunity to leave nothing unsaid. I hope your time is filled with love and family.


Oh, I do intend to include friends wherever I go/whatever I do… I have no family left but I have four very close friends and their children as well. We discussed the cruise thing the other night as well as a month’s stay at a villa that we found on St. Thomas (not my favorite USVI, but close to medical facilities).

And, believe me, I’m not brave at all! After almost four years of treatment, I’m just accepting. I moved to back to Birmingham, principally, because B’ham is second only to Houston, perhaps, in the treatment of coronary problems and transplants (I have, amongst other things, something called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - my heart is just too big and inefficient to pump the blood and oxygen I need and it’s too weak to undergo invasive surgery). I do have a good attitude, though, on most days! At 44, I’ve led a pretty exciting and fulfilling life - I didn’t do everything I wanted to do, but I have enjoyed my time and, for the most part, feel that I’ve made other people happy as well.

I just want to treat myself (and my friends) to a ‘going away’ present that I’m included in and I need to do it soon as my symptoms are getting worse by the day, it seems. My close friends take great care of me but I know that I’ll soon need a 24 hour nurse/caregiver and I’ve let all of my doc’s know that I intend to snuff it in my house, in my bed (or the living room sofa - watching a favorite movie). My friends and their families will be well taken care of, my funeral arrangements (minimal!) have been made; in short, everything is in order.

Everyone is gearing up for the month of June right now and the idea of just laying on the beach with a book and a fruity beverage (which, I’m afraid, would have to be non-alcoholic because of my meds) is very, very appealing to me. One of my cardiologists has put the word out about my wishes and I see him today at 1:30 p.m. and I’m hoping that he has some suggestions as well.

And I am very, very lucky, I think, to know what lies ahead… my Dad died of his first and only heart attack at 58 and his Dad at 62. It’s likely that they had some form of cardiomyopathy as well - most people just have ‘sudden heart failure’; mine has been gradual and I’ve been able to deal with it fairly well.

Again - many thanks to all who have replied; I hope to have something concrete in the next week or two (one thing that has occurred to me is that I might be able to find a way to do a cruise and a villa rental - there are tons of cruises that dock at St. Thomas, USVI).

I’ll let everyone know where we’re headed!



Best wishes for your next few months to be wonderful ones, b_b_b. I hope you are able to do what is most fulfilling for you.

I don’t have much money, but I guess I could quit my job and still get by for six months. I don’t think I’d do anything exciting; just enjoy the free time, pursue hobbies and visit friends and family. Pretty simple, I guess.

What kind of medical facilities do cruise ships have?

I’d be great to take an extended around-the-world kind of cruise.
Basically going nowhere slow - just for the heck of it.