My Mastectomy Without My Mom - The Shower Shirt

Lisa F. Crites

My mastectomy was scheduled bright and early on an extremely warm Tuesday morning in Florida, June 2009. I remember lying in bed at the hospital before surgery missing my mom. Of course those who don’t know me personally, would not know my mom died in a car accident in December 2001, two weeks after I was married.  She unfortunately pulled in front of a young college student driving home for the holidays, she was ejected from her vehicle and killed instantly. Those horrid images were going through my mind as I kept thinking, “I am going through one of the most traumatic experiences in my life; breast cancer, mastectomy surgery, by myself without my mom.  Yes, I had a ‘significant other,’ (I was divorced after five years, had gone through  severe depression after my mom’s death, thus, the demise of my first marriage), and my dad by my side, but the primary person I wanted in that room was my mom. Through my high school and college years, I had been in and out of the hospital on multiple occasions with her during breast biopsies, to find no cancer, and now, when I had been actually diagnosed, she could not be with me in person, only in spirit.

Cissy & I (2)

I do remember crying, and then feeling really insensitive as my significant other and father began doing the same.   I had a 57-year old on one side of my bed, and a 70-year old on the other side, both in tears. The nurse walked in and said “You guys need happy meds;” though I believe I was the only one inoculated with the so-called happy drugs. I awoke that evening after 8 hours in surgery in severe pain. My first words were, “If I had known I would be in this much pain, I would have chosen a lumpectomy.” Unbeknownst to me, that same nurse who gave me happy drugs that morning heard me and said, “You made the right decision.”

My next memory was the following morning when I saw my cousin, Mandy who had flown down from Kansas City to assume the ‘mother role.’  Essentially Mandy sprinted across the room (Mandy only sprints, she doesn’t walk). I remember saying to myself, “Mandy looks so pretty, I like her outfit, and I have no breasts!!”

Instantly, my first sense of breast cancer reality and the decision I made to treat it smacked me in the face. Had I made the right decision? Had I really thought through my options to treat this disease?

I have enclosed an article and video by Dr. Patrick Borgen on the factors one should consider before deciding to undergo a mastectomy. Please share with someone who’s considering surgical options.

Dr. Borgen on the Decision to Undergo a Mastectomy


PS: Of course I had to include a photo of both my mom and my cousin Mandy.  PSS: Please make sure to subscribe and share my weekly blog.

Stay Tuned,
Lisa F. Crites
Shower Shirt Principal/Inventor
Corporate Healthcare Consultant
Health/Medical Broadcast Journalist