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First Person: Coping With A Mother’s Lobotomy

Photo caption: Mona Gable, whose mother had a lobotomy to remove a brain tumor, is pictured ...

Photo by Michael Lipkin

Mona Gable, whose mother had a lobotomy to remove a brain tumor, is pictured on Jan. 12, 2017.

First Person: Coping With A Mother's Lobotomy


Mona Gable, writer

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

Mona Gable remembers growing up in Point Loma in the 1950s, on a street overlooking Shelter Island. It was an idyllic time to be living in San Diego, she said, because it still felt like a small town.

But her life at home was chaotic. Her parents fought a lot and her mother was moody, with a quick temper. She also didn’t hug or kiss Gable or her brothers.

Her mother’s behavior was due to an operation shortly after Gable was born to remove a large brain tumor. The procedure removed both of her frontal lobes.

Gable didn’t learn the details of her mother’s condition until she was in her mid-20s, after her father had already died. That led her to research her mother’s early life and personality, before it had been destroyed by the surgery.

As part of our First Person series, Gable shares what it was like to rediscover who her mother was.

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