I ALWAYS WANTED TO – go diving in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef… then do it. Do stuff. Do all you can before you start treatment that will affect your health and limit your mobility.

ABOUT MY INSURANCE – What will it cover? What will it not cover? Know your policy inside and out. Turn to knowledgeable people for help, but don’t just assume everything is covered. Talk to the person at your doctor’s office who handles insurance. Ask them for help.

PAPERS IN ORDER – such as wills, bills of sale, business licenses, and investment papers. These things can’t be underestimated. The stress cancer can place on your significant other can be intense. Do not compound it with trying to sort out your business affairs.

WHAT ABOUT MY DOG – or cat, or horse? Most animals whose owners pass away wind up in a shelter. This is a fact. And many shelters euthanize based on space available. This is also a fact.

Make provisions for your animals well ahead of time. If you cannot find a friend or loved one to take your pet, then approach a rescue or no-kill facility.

But remember things cost money. Offer them cash with the animal or your car to sell — something. Because the cost of keeping your animal is expensive for them. PLEASE make provisions for your animals.

PetFinder, an online site linking shelters and rescue animals to new owners has an excellent page on providing for your pet’s future without you. Read it here.

END-OF-LIFE ISSUES – Yes, it is terrible to think about. But if you don’t know what’s coming, you will never know what hit you. Think about what you want, and then think about budgeting for it. Think about how you want decisions made in term of your care. If you cannot express your own wishes, then write that down. Make it legal.

The hope is things never go this far. But if they do, there is great comfort knowing you already took care of everything.

The unknown can be daunting, and for someone newly diagnosed with cancer, it is easy to be overwhelmed by that diagnosis. You find yourself alternately wondering what to do, how to tell loved ones… and none of that makes things easier for “you”.

This section of our site is a constant work in progress because no two people are the same and every set of circumstances is different. We want to lay out a few things to consider. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

And please, if anyone in our community can think of something we can add, let us know here.