An Ontario Woman's Life-Saving Cancer Surgery Got Delayed Again Because Of COVID-19

She told Narcity it's been "a very scary" experience.

Toronto Staff Writer
An Ontario Woman's Life-Saving Cancer Surgery Got Delayed Again Because Of COVID-19

An Ontario woman is facing a terrifying situation after her life-saving cancer surgery, which was supposed to take place this month, has been delayed again due to COVID-19.

30-year-old Cassandra Di Maria from Woodbridge was initially supposed to receive her treatment in November 2021, approximately one year after her colon cancer diagnosis.

However, Di Maria, who also went through 17 rounds of chemo, revealed that the date first moved to January of 2022 before recently being postponed indefinitely.

"When I received an e-mail from Mount Sinai stating my latest surgery date of January 19, 2022, had been cancelled due to COVID 19, I was extremely upset," Di Maria told Narcity. "A ton of emotions ran through my head, such as anger, confusion, and fear. Not having a confirmed surgery date is a very scary thing."

"I chose to share my story with hopes of spreading awareness about what has been happening with me and many others just like me," Di Maria said. "My hope is that all parties come together to find a solution to solve the issues that we have all been experiencing."

As of January 5, Ontario reinstated a directive that instructs hospitals to pause all "non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures" in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.

Di Maria's cousin, Vanessa Pilieci, shared a passionate Instagram post on Wednesday, criticizing the Ontario government's decision to cancel "non-urgent surgeries" to prioritize those sick with COVID-19.

"My 30-year-old cousin, with a wedding planned for April 2023 and an ENTIRE life ahead of her, will die thanks to the reckless decision to cancel and postpone," Pilieci wrote.

Pilieci said the delay means her cousin will be off chemo for at least three months, giving her cancer a chance to multiply and spread to other parts of her body.

"When will my cousin, who is battling stage four cancer, be just as important as a covid-19 patient?" she asked. "When will my cousin, who has had to attend all of her doctor’s appointments and chemo treatments ALONE, be treated as a priority during this pandemic?"

In speaking with Narcity, Pilieci said she hopes their story will shed light on what is happening.

"My hope with this story was to bring awareness to the many cancer patients that are suffering as a result of the fragile healthcare system," Pilieci told Narcity. "We, as a collective society, must do better at advocating for efficient and effective care."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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