Woodbridge woman plans wedding as COVID delays cancer surgery

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Against all odds, Cassandra Dimaria remains calm and understanding.

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The Woodbridge wife, 30, has had cancer surgery postponed several times due to the COVID chaos, and recently her cousin Vanessa Pilieci went public with her story.

Pilieci took to social media in frustration at the delays her beloved parent has endured, posting about Dimaria’s ordeal over the past 15 months.

“I’m posting this to highlight a story about how Ontario canceled a LIFE-SAVING operation on a stage 4 cancer patient,” she wrote. “My 30-year-old cousin, with a wedding scheduled for April 2023 and an ENTIRE life ahead of her, will die from the reckless decision to cancel and postpone ‘non-emergency’ surgeries.”

“When will Canadians, who have done their part by getting the vaccine and staying home, be considered a PRIORITY? When will my cousin, who is battling stage four cancer, be as important as a covid-19 patient? »

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Dimaria just hopes her story will help other patients and raise awareness of the delays.

In November 2020, Dimaria was diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery immediately. She had had a few days of severe pain but otherwise no previous symptoms.

Seventeen rounds of chemo followed.

A second surgery was scheduled for November 2021, but this did not happen. Another date was set for January 2022, but it was canceled. It was rescheduled and then canceled again.

Now there is no date.

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She had to stop the chemo in preparation for the operation. Her concern now is that the cancer will continue to grow and spread despite her not having chemo or surgery.

Reached at home on Thursday, Dimaria said: “I wanted to send the message that I recognize that COVID is very serious and everyone’s life matters – but we deserve to receive the necessary treatment.

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“I would say there were flaws in the way things were handled, and that contributed to the mess I’m dealing with.”

The health care response to COVID needs to be reassessed, “for me and for others in the same situation.”

COVID has clouded every stage of his illness. Health protocols meant she had to go through all the appointments and treatments completely alone.

“I do my best to keep a positive mindset,” Dimaria said. “It is sometimes difficult. Mental health issues are a factor. Nobody wants to be in this position.

She couldn’t do it without the support of her family, friends and her fiancé, Stefan Cescon, she said.

When her waist-length hair fell out during chemo, she said, her cousin Vanessa shaved her head in solidarity.

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“My family has been amazing. To put it mildly. They and my fiancé have taken really good care of me.

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Dimaria and her fiancé plan to wed on April 1, 2023, and she continues to try to work on her wedding plans.

“I’m doing my best, hoping it all fades away so I can carry on,” Dimaria said. “I do everything I can handle.”

“I tire easily, but it takes my mind off this craziness,” she added.

Dimaria said she didn’t blame anyone for what happened to her.

“It’s nobody’s fault. And I know the nurses and surgeons are doing their best. Unfortunately, people like me are still suffering. Hopefully they will reevaluate what is considered urgent.

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