Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bucket List

Just finished watching The Bucket List for the umpteenth time.  I love this movie.  When my father-in-law got diagnosed with cancer last spring we asked him if there was anything he wanted to do for his bucket list.  He wanted to see another NHL game live.  And spend time at camp.  Within a couple weeks he was so ill that he never again left the house until the day he was transferred to the hospice care unit.  He never got to do the things he wanted to do.  I miss him every day.  Especially on days that end in Y.

It's been just over 7 months since dad died.  And almost 8 months since I was diagnosed with Chiari.  Dad really didn't get to know about my diagnosis as he was very very ill by then.  But I talk to him often about it.  I know or I believe he is somewhere watching over me, Thomas, my mother-in-law and the rest of our family. I keep telling him he has to watch over me when it comes time for my surgery (and no, I still do not have a date).  I believe that everything will go smoothly with my surgery and recovery, but I still like the idea having dad as my guardian angel.  (for those of you not close to me, my father-in-law is Dad to me.  I've had no contact with my biological father since my wedding day.)

I'm not a religious person.  I don't frequent church sermons.  I was never baptized.  I have gone to a number of different church denominations.  I enjoyed the service at the United church I went to as a child, but when the pastor passed away, it all changed and I didn't like the new pastor as much.  I've been to Catholic - numerous Catholic churches, Lutheran - in English and Finnish services, Episcopalian, and a few other houses of worship.  I've even attended a Hindu funeral - very nice, very peaceful service.  I have never found a church or Christian branch of religion that I felt 100% comfortable with.  I question everything.  And some of the differences in the different churches offers perspective on the whole religious experience.  Sorry to my devote religious followers, no offense intended, no offense taken, but I'm a non-conformist.

Where was I going with this post?  I remember.  Bucket List.  There are 101 or more things that I would love to do before I die. Here is a smattering...

1.   Visit the pyramids of Egypt
2.   Take my husband to Italy
3.   Learn to race motorcycles (but now because of Chiari, I will not risk it)
4.   Learn to speak Finnish better
5.  Meet Petra in person and of course Heidi - again!!

There are other things, non-monetary desires - 

6.   Be loved by my family, which I know I already am
7.   Find my centre at yoga
8.   Be more spiritual

Is there 1 thing I would like to do more than an other?  No, the ranking was just the way I wrote them down.  For now I am focusing on me.  Maintaining my pain until my surgery, maintaining my sanity too.  Using yoga and meditation to get through, hopefully without drugs as much as possible.  Once I've had the surgery, I will begin to re-evaluate again.  And re-write my bucket list.


  1. Hi Cassandra,

    I am a new reader, I found your post while searching Chiari... It is all new to me as I was just diagnosed on Monday. Are you still fully able to do yoga? I was a very active person but am finding it way to painful to go to the gym or hike, both I really enjoy. Not sure what I should do!

  2. Hi Jess! Welcome to the Chiari world. Sorry you had to join us :( I do very very gentle yoga - the class I take is called Relax, Yoga and Meditation. We focus on centering and breathing, 6 or 7 poses - the most difficult would be Warrior 2 or 5 Pointed Star. NO strenuous poses - I can't do them. I was doing more at another yoga studio but I found I had a headache often after Downward Dog or Sun Salutes. Not worth hurting myself. There are 2 great boards I belong to for Chiari - one on Yahoo Groups the other on Facebook. There are lots of resources and help on both. Good luck, any questions, please ask!!

  3. Hi, Cassandra. I was diagnosed on Tuesday, March 9-10 with Type 1. I also live in Toronto and am referred to Dr. Wallace at Toronto Western. I am alo a legal assistant. LOL! Coincidence. Hey, I wish you all the best with your surgery. It's weird. I'm happy to have a diagnosis - makes sense all the symptoms I've had over the years - but dreading the aftermath of surgery. Will I be able to work, etc.! I won't be able to get in to see the doc until May, so right now waiting is the hard part.

    I see you waited almost a year from your diagnosis until surgery. Did your symptoms get worse in that year and was your doc able to help with that? I am starting to have trouble walking and hope I can get meds or therapy for that.

    Take care, Cassandra. All my best.


  4. Luisa,
    Thanks for writing! Yes, it took me some time and a lot of reflection to decide. I looked back at journals I kept since 2006. And even before the diagnosis my health has declined. I understand the wait to get into drs in Ontario. It was almost a fluke I saw the NS here within 2 weeks of my referral! A miracle. Most waits are 6 to 8 months or longer up in the North.
    I'm worried too about going back to work. I work in corporate law so lots of minute books to move and carry around - that worries me. I can barely lift anything now!!
    I hope your NS is great. I know that TOW is a great hospital.
    Keep in touch!

  5. Thanks, Cassandra. I am seeing my NS in early April. I went back to my GP and impressed urgent need, so he made some calls. Having a law background helps as working in Med Mal, I've seen so much and one must be reasonable and proactive, without being rude or demanding. Chiari is nothing to fool with!

    You'll have to ask personnel to have someone help you lug those minute books around or get a library cart. They aren't expensive and very helpful for anyone who has to cart around boxes or books. When I worked for a trial attorney years ago I wasn't the least bit sick but I got a library cart and it was great.

    Take care, Cassandra!