Without the drastic operation Maria Murphy was a ‘ticking timebomb’ and could have died at any moment after a second stroke in July 2010.
She claims her family’s life has been put on hold as the operation at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital was scrapped six times – a figure chiefs dispute.
“It’s been a nightmare,” said Chesterfield 47-year-old Maria, speaking before the scheduled 13-hour operation on Wednesday.
“Some nights I have not wanted to go to bed because I’ve been frightened I won’t wake up.
“I’ve been told about the risks, I could pass away on the operating table, I could end up with brain injuries, but we’re just keeping our fingers crossed.
“I want to see my kids get married, I want to see my grandchildren.
“Those are things we take for granted but when you’re faced with a life or death situation it puts everything into perspective.”
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Hallamshire, said Maria was not medically fit to undergo surgery until September and two confirmed operation dates were cancelled because of emergencies.
But the former care assistant, who has other health problems, and daughter Michelle Vickers say six dates between August and this week were cancelled for reasons including lack of beds, staff and emergency. They have filed an official complaint.
Michelle, 23, said: “It’s been heart-breaking to see mum so upset and I can’t do anything about it.
“My head’s telling me they might cancel again but my heart’s saying I don’t think they would dare.
“The first time we didn’t expect that much because we had been warned it could be cancelled due to an emergency and we understand if there’s other people who need it.”
Maria, of Mellor Way, added: “But to cancel this many times, and the excuses they came out with, it’s just unreasonable.
“I’m just hoping it will be all over soon and others aren’t going through what I am.”
The trust said Maria had been on the waiting list since March and medically fit to undergo surgery since September.
Hilary Chapman, chief nurse and chief operating officer, added: “Unfortunately when Mrs Murphy did become fit enough for surgery we had to cancel the two confirmed dates she was given for her operation at short notice because we had emergency patients which had to take priority.
“I would like to apologise to Mrs Murphy and her family for the stress cancelling operation dates have caused and I can assure them it was the last thing we wanted to do because we do understand how worrying it can be waiting for such treatment.”