Breast Cancer Survivor Turns Post-Surgery Aggravation Into Invention

By Claudia Buck
The Sacramento Bee.

Battling cancer — four times in nine surgeries — didn’t turn Cinde Dolphin brittle or resentful. Nor did getting laid off three times from corporate jobs set her back.

Instead, her resilience has taken her on an unexpected odyssey that started in a remote African village and landed her in the world of small-business owners. It started more than 20 years ago when she was hit with a cancerous lung tumor, while working for Coors as a marketing manager, followed by another 16 years battling back against three different bouts with breast cancer.

Somewhere in that grueling reality, she found a way to start over. The result is a fledgling company with a simple product that brings huge comfort to surgery patients.

“In an odd way, (cancer and layoffs) were a great opportunity to get off the merry-go-round. I did not want to go back into the big-business world,” said Dolphin, 62, whose first round of breast cancer surgery was in 1999. “I knew there’s something I can do that can make a difference, a business that I feel good about.”

That business — Kili Medical Drain Carrier — is something that only a cancer patient can completely appreciate.

Dreading the drains
After seven separate surgeries involving breast cancer, Dolphin knew the grueling aftermath all too well. Like many breast cancer patients, she’d be sent home with tubes and plastic drainage bottles, sutured to her wounds and safety-pinned to her clothes, to siphon off blood and other post-surgery fluids.

The drains are yet another added aggravation to an already disconcerting diagnosis. Tethered to the bags 24-7 for up to three weeks at a time, many patients find sleeping difficult, showering almost impossible and everyday tasks such as driving to the store or cooking dinner more complicated. And there’s the constant risk of accidentally ripping the drains from their stitches.

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