A Breast Cancer Survivor Puts Her Fashion Foot Forward to Fight Off Infections

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By Kasia Michalik

Did you know that there are different types of bacteria in our tap water? People take daily showers with tiny molecules of bacterium swimming around them. Sounds bad right?

Well, it really isn’t that bad unless you fall under a certain group of people. If you are someone with a recent incision from a surgery, like a mastectomy, or a dialysis patient with a recent catheter placement, you might want to skip that shower for a few weeks until your catheter is replaced or the device is removed and incisions healed.

Did you know that one of the leading causes of death with hemodialysis patients—next to vascular disease—is the threat of bloodstream and other type of infections? In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 37,000 bloodstream infection in hemodialysis patients with a central line. Since the early 1990s, hospitalization rates have increased 47 percent for bloodstream infections and 87 percent for vascular access ones.1

I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t want an infection, but I don’t think I can do a sponge bath for more than a couple days, let alone weeks.

Lisa Crites, a breast cancer survivor, came up with a design that has changed the lives of patients across the country and made them feel more confident while dealing with the newly developed disease—whether it’s end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or breast cancer.

In 2009, Crites was diagnosed with breast cancer. In May of that year she had a bilateral mastectomy. After her mastectomy, she came home with drains coming out of her breasts and the sentence from her doctor that lingered in her head. “You cannot shower for two to-three weeks after your mastectomy.”

She could not get that through her head. She needed to shower, but how?

“When I had my mastectomy I had to use a garbage bag to shower. It was a humiliating experience, especially when dealing with an emotional rollercoaster. Woman have been going through mastectomies for 70 years, why is there not a product to protect me?,” Crites said. “I went to my physician and he said ‘Lisa, I’ve been doing surgery for 20 years, there’s no products out there.’ And I said ‘why?’ He didn’t know.”

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