Cherie Mathews is disrupting postoperative care for breast cancer patients with compassion and technology — March 2019
In 2001, Cherie Mathews was in a fight for her life. She had just undergone a mastectomy to remove her breast cancer tumors, and was not only in post-operative pain but also navigating a world of uncertainty and recovery. There were drain tubes coming out of her body, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do with them or what clothing she could possibly wear in this situation.
The nurse advised Mathews to wear of her husband’s old button-down shirts. “But where do I put the tubes?” Mathews asked. The nurse simply handed her some safety pins.
“That was not impressive,” Mathews recalls. “It was shocking, in fact. If I had a sprained elbow, I would receive a sling without even asking. Yet here I am, dealing with this whole battle, the scary part of cancer — if you’re even going to make it. And I feel even more miserable by not being provided for. The whole thing was awful.”
As demoralizing as the whole experience was, that moment was a catalyst for Mathews.
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