Rachel Whitley – 2016 Ambassador
City: Indianapolis, IN
Date of diagnosis: 2013
Diagnosis: Invasive ductal carcinoma (triple positive)
Rachel works for Eskenazi Health. In her free time, she enjoys making crafts including jewelry, sewing and painting, as well as cooking. She has an amazing family that consists of her mom, dad and stepmom, as well as her four siblings and three dogs.
At the young age of 33, Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer, but not before going on a wild goose chase. It all started in 2012, when she had a lot of pain on the left side of her body to the point of sometimes not being able to walk or move her mouth. The doctors ran blood tests and found nothing, so a Neurologist tested for MS and couldn’t find anything. The doctor looked at Rachel’s age and symptoms and ruled that she was dealing with depression. Rachel attempted therapy but knew this was not the solution, so she returned to her primary care doctors. Weeks later, she went to an OBGYN who was positive Rachel did not have cancer based on age and lack of family history, but to ease her mind she ran a mammogram, and then later a biopsy. Rachel received a call on December 2, 2013 that she did in fact have breast cancer. They decided to proceed with chemotherapy, Herceptin, and then she chose to have a double mastectomy. Rachel has now been breast cancer free for a year.
Rachel’s takeaway message for others: “HOPE! This journey will not be easy but there is HOPE for all of us. The day that you hear the terrible words “You have breast cancer” is the day that your family grows. The community of love and support from wonderful women and men that not only that have been in our shoes, but who want to eradicate this disease as much as we do, is amazing.”