Widow of misdiagnosed cancer victim focuses on positives
Crystal Bonderud has cried plenty of tears. But today she plans to celebrate the life, not mourn the death, of her husband, Doug Bonderud.
Doug died Tuesday morning after a two-year fight with cancer. His funeral is at 10:30 a.m. at Hillcrest Funeral Home. “Doug wanted a big party,” said Crystal.
That’s why she burned a CD of Doug’s favourite music to be played. Instead of a traditional urn, Doug’s fishing tackle box is holding his ashes. The church will be adorned with pictures, hunting equipment and teddy bears. Even the couple’s dog, Baby, will be there.
“It won’t be a sad day,” Crystal said. “It’s going to be as fun and uplifting as possible.”
Doug had been misdiagnosed for nine months before being diagnosed last summer with two gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Told repeatedly by doctors that the tumour was inoperable, he was treated unsuccessfully with drugs. Finally, the couple travelled last May to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and was told surgery was the only option. Mayo Clinic doctors removed a plate-sized tumour but the cancer had spread too much.
The Bonderuds’ frustration grew when they were told by Saskatchewan Health Minister Len Taylor that the government would not cover $85,000 in bills they incurred during that trip, since the surgery was available in Canada. Crystal said she was told there were no guarantees on how long that wait would be.
Crystal plans on legal action in the future but for today she is focusing on the good times.
She’ll think about their first date on Oct. 29, 2004, when they went to Earl’s Restaurant and the Spadina Freehouse. Five months later, they were engaged.
She’ll remember big trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, but also day-to-day things like going to movies, the gym or sharing a laugh together.
She’ll recall how Doug proposed at the same spot his grandfather popped the question to his grandmother — a grid road near Naicam. His grandparents are about to celebrate their 69th anniversary, and Doug hoped that asking Crystal at that location would bring him and his future bride good luck.
She’ll think about their wedding on Aug. 26 at Boffins Club. The big day wasn’t supposed to be until February, but that date was pushed up due to Doug’s illness. Though he had been in the hospital a few days prior, and again a few days after, both he and Crystal called their wedding the happiest day of their lives. “It was perfect,” said Crystal. She cherishes the last gift Doug gave her. They planned to buy each other matching watches for the wedding, but costs for Doug’s care left them strapped financially. Last week, Doug secretly arranged for friends to special-order the watch for Crystal. It normally would have taken two weeks to arrive but, due to the circumstances, it was on Crystal’s wrist in two days.
The inscription on the gold-and-silver piece: “Crystal, I love you with all my heart always. Doug.”