‘It took 11 years to get here’: Sandpoint woman worries her brain surgery will be postponed

SANDPOINT, Idaho– A woman from Sandpoint is scheduled to have brain surgery next month. She says she doesn’t think it is going to happen.

Victoria Tyler has been waiting for the operation for 11 years. Tyler’s had a hard time not only finding a specialist knowledgeable about her condition, but one willing to operate to fix it. However, with Idaho implementing Crisis Standards of Care, she is not sure she will be able to get in next month for when the procedure is scheduled.

She has Chiari malformation– a condition where part of her brain at the back of her skull bulges through a normal opening in the skull where it joins the spinal canal. That puts pressure on the brain stem and spinal cord. It also blocks cerebral spinal fluid, building more pressure on her head.

So, because of that, she is in pain all the time. She said she has trouble swallowing and excruciating headaches.

“The hope is the surgery will help me maybe get me to quit choking and to quit stopping breathing at night,” Tyler said.

The surgery should relieve the pain and help her feel a lot better. She said without it, the symptoms could get a lot worse and possibly become permanent. Tyler also has a headache constantly, plus migraines.

Though the procedure is scheduled for Oct. 13. at Kootenai Health, she does not expect it to happen.

“I’ve had quite a few moments of being extremely angry because there are things that everyone could’ve done to help prevent us from being in this situation,” Tyler explained

Tyler’s doctors told her they make decisions on cancelations on a week-to-week basis. But, that was before the Crisis Standards of Care were activated.

Now, she is just trying to prepare for that call.

“I don’t know how I’m going to take it when that call comes in. I really don’t,” she said. “It took 11 years to get here and now I’m stuck in this position.”

Tyler said people who are not vaccinated are the reason the health care system is overwhelmed. She said they are keeping people from getting the relief they need.

“If you’re absolutely anti-vax, fine. Mask up, social distance, keep your butt at home and quit forcing this stuff on the rest of us because you’re harming people.”

For now, Tyler is on hold. All she can do is wait and hope. Hope for her surgery and for things to get better in Idaho.


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