It's everyone's worst nightmare. Doctors tell you you've got months to live. What would you do with the time left? What would be on your Bucket List?
Last year a tumour the size of a baked potato began to burst out of my chest. Pushing into my lungs and heart, hot and angry with a pulsating vein, it was the most agonising pain I've ever endured. I knew exactly what it was. Four years previously, I'd had and survived triple negative breast cancer. It was back and this time it was bad.
Sat in the consultant's room, I was 95% sure this was secondary. I hoped I was wrong. I wasn't.
"We're in trouble," the doctor said. He proceeded to give me the facts straight: I had stage four cancer, the last stage. There was no cure. I now had a terminal illness. Without any treatment, I was looking at three to six months to live. My baked potato would get bigger (want cheese & beans with that?) and I'd die a hideous, painful death I thought. Broken.
"Will I die tomorrow?" I asked, feeling like I might.
"No, there's some time" he replied. "We'll try and save you for as long as we can."
Still in my thirties and with my career and life finally taking shape, I obviously opted for treatment. But even this prognosis wasn't good. I was told to expect to live a year but not to think about making two years. To me that's laying down the gauntlet! Fortunately I'm still here. Unfortunately, the cancer's spreading and I know I'm now living on borrowed time.
Everyone keeps asking me what's on my bucket list. The problem is: I don't actually have one. People seem surprised when I tell them that. Why? Are all terminally ill people expected to have bucket lists? Do they help in some way?
I'm not really sure where the whole bucket list phenomenon came from. And I can't decide whether or not to write one. On the one hand, I see them as pretty cliched. Everyone seems to have the same list of things to do and I really can't see how having a selfie with Johnny Depp is actually going to help, apart from making me smile! Then again, every time I go online and see others with terminal illnesses jumping out of aeroplanes or swimming with sharks, I can't help but think how fun it looks!
I do feel that if I don't have one then I'll miss out on something before I pop my clogs! I guess I've got a serious fear of missing out.
I'm now like a rabbit in the headlights. I feel like my life is in fast forward and there's more pressure now to do spectacular things, but I can't think of what I want to do. Perhaps it's because deep down I'm rebelling against the fact that I'm actually dying.
In the hope of some answers, I did something I'd never normally be brave enough to do. I pitched my dilemma to the BBC. One thing led to another and I now find myself making my first ever documentary - all about bucket lists! It's hard to do between treatments but it's so exciting and tonnes of fun. All I need now is some help and inspiration!
I'm looking to hear from others living with terminal illnesses and see if they can help me solve my bucket list crisis. It might be that you've completed a bucket list, or you're in the process of completing one, or you might just think they're a waste of time and energy. Whatever your thoughts, I'd love to hear them.
For now I'm throwing my energy into this film. I want to raise awareness about the diversity of terminal diseases and about how people live with them day to day. You pass people in the street and would never know anything was wrong. But behind the surface there's hardship and heartache and laughter and life. And that, ultimately, is what I want to show the world.
Personally I don't know what to expect. But I'm determined to live the rest of my life as fully as possible. I'm sure there are people out there who can help me. So please, spread the word and get in touch. You can watch my appeal video here and get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully hear from some of you soon!
Rowena Kincaid is making Before I Kick The Bucket for BBC Cymru Wales.