A Message from Cherie:
My name is Cherie Mathews. I’m from Austin, Texas and a 14-year breast cancer survivor. My mission is to help women heal in comfort and dignity after surgery, in their battle against breast cancer. I had to have a double mastectomy, in my fight against this disease. I failed home economics because I stapled my hem so I could get to my basketball game but now, because of stupid cancer, I am a designer of a speciality patented post-surgical garment called the healincomfort recovery shirt! We’re helping women heal in comfort and in dignity all over the USA and internationally.
My big dream is to make a procedural change for all breast cancer patients post-mastectomy. It’s a formidable mission that the company takes quite seriously, inspired by my own post-operative experience. Standard post-operative instructions call for “loose-fitting clothing”, which had no accommodations for drain tubes and I had NO idea how limited arm movement was going to be. I didn’t have the right equipment to go home in and I said to myself “SHEESH, if a sprained elbow gets a sling to heal in why isn’t there helpful equipment to heal in after a mastectomy? NOT OK!”
Shopping was clearly not an option! However, my frustration inspired me to design the healincomfort® recovery shirt: easy dressing, feather soft, moisture management material (to keep patients dry and comfortable), and it has internal pockets to help with drains. It allows a woman to look like a person and not a science experiment. It’s all about DIGNITY!
I wrote “My Shadow Story” to help my sisters deal with the FIRST LOOK. It’s just devastating for a women to be so disfigured in the battle. There are so many attacks on the mind, body and soul. This is what I wrote to help:
My Shadow Story
“When I first looked in the mirror after surgery, I was shocked when I saw my scars and drain tubes. My mind started casting doubt on survival and whether I would look normal again. I went outside for my first walk after surgery and I saw my shadow on the sidewalk. Unlike the mirror that reminded me of all the things that were wrong, my shadow reminded me of all the things that were right. I was alive and still able to cast a shadow on this earth. From that moment on, I would battle for only positive thoughts.
The mirror no longer dictated how I was doing. So when you are able to go for a walk look for your shadow, remember, it’s there because you’re here.
I hope my shadow story encourages you to think positive and stay strong ,as you’re going though this difficult journey. BE BRAVE AND FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!
Cherie B. Mathews, Austin Texas
Founder of healincomfort & cancer survivor
Header image by Flickr user Sunny_mjx. Body image courtesy of Cherie Mathews.