Women have been going through mastectomies for 75 years in this country. Why was there not a water-resistant product to protect me while in the shower after amputation of my breasts? Why was I required to wrap a trash bag around my body for protection? A question I’ve repeated many times while doing speaking engagements and television interviews across the country; to this day, that question still confuses me.
Every time I showered I became increasingly annoyed and frustrated; I was essentially fighting with a plastic trash bag in trying to keep my surgical drain sites dry. During this physically painful convalescent period, I was on short-term disability and only working part-time, therefore, plenty of time THINK!!!! To occupy my brain, I began speaking with breast cancer patients who had gone through mastectomy surgery, while also interviewing physicians in trying to gather opinions as to why a water-resistant product did not exist for patients like me. Every patient I spoke with said, “I too used a trash bag or Saran® wrap.”
All patients had the commonality of trying different contraptions to shower, but all had the same opinions that their make-shift product didn’t work and their drain sites normally became wet anyway. In terms of physician comments, it basically went like this, “I’ve been doing this type of work for many, many years, no water-resistant product exists for these surgery patients. It’s a need. Go for it.”
Of course, in my experience, saying “Go for it,” is always easier said than done!
Photo While Showering With My Trash Bag
I then began hearing this loud, annoying, nagging voice in my head, “Create a water-resistant product for surgery patients, create a water-resistant product for surgery patients.” Of course I tried to ignore the voice since I’ve heard voices in my head for years. (Yes, my close friends who are reading this blog are now laughing!!!)
As time passed, that same voice became a calming, directive voice; a voice that was guiding me to a path to ignore all rationale and logic. I would often argue with my ‘new calming head voice’ and say; “Are you crazy”? I have just had surgery and have drain tubes coming out of my body. How can I start a project to create a water-resistant product for surgery patients?”
However, common sense told me if a breast cancer surgery patient could shower, they would feel better physically, thus psychologically and emotionally; something mastectomy patients gravely need during the healing process. So, with that in mind, my ‘voice’ ultimately convinced me to begin designing a product to allow surgery patients to bathe themselves safely without being required to depend on plastic trash bags for showering. But before I could start helping these patients, I was back in the hospital with a life-threatening, hospital acquired infection, thus, an unexpected surgery.
Lisa F. Crites
Shower Shirt Principal/Inventor
Corporate Healthcare Consultant
Health/Medical Broadcast Journalist