If you noticed that many of my recent posts have expressed frustration with unvaccinated Albertans & found yourself wondering I take the subject so personally... now it can be told! TRIGGER WARNINGS: Cancer, chronic pain, Covid #MyLifeIsNotElective #IntentionallyCruelWave 1/x
I had a spine surgery in February 2020 to correct a deteriorating disc condition that had left me in chronic pain for almost a decade. 2/x
That successful surgery was supposed to be followed by a second procedure -- a fusion in the lumbar spine -- within the year, to be performed by the same surgeon. 3/x
Of course Covid-19 hit while I was still recovering from surgery #1, so surgery #2 kept getting pushed back as successive waves of pandemic infections put pressures on hospitals. 4/x
My pain went grinding on through delays in winter, then spring, then early summer. Finally it looked like surgery #2 would happen in September 2021. 5/x
A September 7 date was floated, then withdrawn. Then I was rescheduled for September 20 and assured that we were definitely "a go" this time. 6/x
So I set everything up with my employer's HR department for time off from work. I also took time off work to get x-rays, ECG, and blood work. And I took still more time off for a pre-surgical info-session. 7/x
Then the Kenney-Shandro-Hinshaw "whoopsy-daisy" press conference happened on Friday, September 3 to address our once-again skyrocketing infection rates. Within an hour of that event, Alberta Health Services announced a huge number of surgical postponements via press release. 8/x
Within 45 minutes of the press release, the Royal Alexandria Hospital called to delay my lumbar surgery indefinitely. Again. Because they were left with no choice. 9/x
Insanely enough, in the middle of all the above madness, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, with the tumour being located concerningly close to a ureter leading to my left kidney. 10/x
The specialist who identified the tumour via a cystoscopy camera said that the thing obviously needed to come out ASAP, but he was concerned that the huge numbers of surgical delays might mean he wouldn't be able to remove the tumour for a month or two. 11/x
Miraculously, I got an early morning yesterday saying I was on a list for day surgery at the U of A Hospital this morning (Tues, Sept 14). The tumour was removed from my bladder and I am now home resting for a week. 12/x
We won't know what my recovery and ongoing care will even look like until a full biopsy is run. Depending on the "grade" of the tumour they removed, the monitoring and testing could either be intense or relatively light. 13/x
Bladder cancer reoccurs in 70% of cases, so this kind of cautious optmism is my way of life now. But the tumour had to come out before it could even point the way forward to a "new normal." So thank goodness this procedure happened today. A few things to note, however… 14/x
I only got in for this procedure today because I would not need an overnight bed. And there are simply NONE of those to be had. 15/x
Everyone on the U of A Hospital staff who helped me today was incredibly kind, caring, and professional. They are also all completely exhausted and terrified. As well, they are quite frankly (and understandably) angry. 16/x
The whole system is collapsing and it's even worse than what has been reported in the media. Many ICUs are operating as best they can at between 150% to more than 200% capacity. 17/x
Overflow ICU beds are being created everywhere they can find room, but new beds have to be staffed with nurses & other professionals from… somewhere. So almost everything that isn't Covid is being pushed back so staff can be reassigned to newly created pandemic beds. 18/x
Four different professionals told me today that I sneaked in just under the wire, thanks to a diligent surgeon. They expect ALL but the most urgent, immediately life-saving procedures in Edmonton Zone will be further delayed within days. Everything! 19/x
When you hear "elective surgery," this doesn't mean something frivolous like a tummy tuck or a nose job. Elective just means "scheduled" and not IMMEDIATELY life threatening. 20/x
"Elective surgeries" include important procedures for cancer and other diseases that are as serious as they come. 21/x
And let their be no mistake: The reason Alberta faces this disastrous number of delays is because too few people did the right thing by getting double vaccinated, and because public health restrictions were lifted too soon by our elected government and Chief Medical Officer. 22/x
This wave was preventable. Now infected "freedom fighters" have swamped the hospitals, at least in part because "leaders" downplayed risks of the Delta variant for their own political gain, despite abundant data & modeling showing just how serious things were about to get. 23/x
I was incredibly lucky today, but the Internet is full of stories of everything from major skin grafts to brain tumour removals that are still in limbo. People will die, needlessly, as the 4th wave crisis continues to ramp up. 24/x
One health professional told me today that she is worried that Alberta will see enormous waves of cancers & cancer-related deaths over the next few years because important symptoms went undiagnosed and/or lifesaving surgeries couldn't happen soon enough during the pandemic. 25/x
Heaven only knows how many embattled and exhausted healthcare professionals our province will lose due to mismanagement of our public system before it's all over. 26/x
What will have brought about such large-scale suffering and ruin? The belligerence of vaccine resistors, whether they are truly ignorant or tragically misinformed… and politicians who pander to this vocal minority, no matter how much the rest of us have to pay the cost. 27/x
There is tons of misinformation out there, to be sure, but facts are easily found if we stop using YouTube, social media, and "confirmation bias" searches on Google as reliable sources of peer-reviewed medical or scientific information (which they certainly are NOT). 28/x
Alberta is awash with vaccine… free, no waiting, at just about any pharmacy. The longer people resist, the worse (& LONGER) this wave will get. That means more sick Albertans, more long Covid symptoms, more deaths -- and more suffering/grieving family & loved ones. 29/x
But it also means huge spikes in deaths and suffering caused by OTHER health conditions that couldn't be treated because Covid deniers and vaccine skeptics/protesters -- plus those who empower them -- selfishly failed to consider the well-being of their fellow Albertans. 30/x
That is shameful behaviour. And don't even get me started on the chowderheads who are actually spreading BS about Covid vaccines and/or "protesting" at hospitals. Such antics are beneath contempt, and our dedicated healthcare workers deserve far, far better. 31/x
So, it's very true that I got lucky today, and I am incredibly grateful to be at least one major step closer to surviving cancer. 32/x
And it is also true that I am completely out of patience or empathy for the willfully ignorant people who CHOSE to crash our health system. I don't know how you live with yourselves, and I don't want anything to do with you or your foolishness. 33/x
PS: Still no idea when the "indefinitely postponed" lumbar fusion surgery will happen. Perhaps 2022… or '23… I hope…? 34/END
35/34… my girlfriend took me to the drive-through at Peter's for a post-surgical milkshake, so the day definitely had its high points. Thanks for reading! :)
UPDATE: It's the night after my procedure and I'm experiencing some scary post-surgical complications. But driving to an overcapacity ER that's packed with Covid patients is equally terrifying. Hoping I can ride this out and speak to the surgeon in the AM.

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