Alex Whitaker was getting ready for a night out when she noticed a lump in her breast. The Florida native had recently returned home from a three-year stint in NYC and was excited to catch up with friends.
What should have remained a fun-filled reunion now marks the night of a shocking discovery.
“I have always hoped that ‘strong’ is one of the first words that comes to mind when my family and friends think of me. But I never imagined that I would earn that description by fighting breast cancer at just 24 years old,” Whitaker wrote in a heartfelt essay for People Health.
“I originally discovered my lump in early 2018 by doing something that was fairly routine for me — putting on a sticky bra.” Pushing on a bra petal, Whitaker discovered a prominent lump in her right breast.
A post shared by Alexandria Whitaker (@alexxwhiitaker) on Apr 5, 2018 at 4:07pm PDT
“At the time, though, I was only concerned with not being the last person ready to rush out the door.”
But the next morning, the lump was still there — and was noticeably protruding. With concern growing, she booked an appointment with an OBGYN but was told not to worry — women her age are unlikely candidates for cancer.
Soon after, Whitaker was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.
“Battling breast cancer has without a doubt been one of the toughest things that I have ever had to endure,” she wrote.
But instead of focusing on her pain, Whitaker says she was to build a support system for breast cancer warriors like herself.
“I hope to not only connect with women all over who are going through the same exact things as I am, but to also raise awareness among my peers that this can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Self-awareness and early detection are the strongest tools we have, and you are your own best advocate,” she said.
Hi #WhittysTittyCommittee fam! Fuzzy Head here♀️ Round 2 knocked me out and (tbh) I’m still not feeling but I wanted to check in. I returned to work this week and realized for like, the millionth time, how freakin lucky I am. If #ThankfulThursday isn’t a thing, I’m making it one! I’ve heard from other patients how unsupportive their employers and colleagues were throughout their treatment and I’m so thankful that is the exact opposite of what I’ve experienced. Before my treatments started I was such the stereotypical publicist-super type A, always going, always on top of it-and sometimes I beat myself up because I feel like I’m not being the team member I usually am. So just a big huge thank you to my colleagues from coast to coast who check in with me every day and to my bosses whose prayers and support mean the world to me #breadandbutterlife is the best life
A post shared by Alexandria Whitaker (@alexxwhiitaker) on Apr 12, 2018 at 5:31pm PDT
“Forming #WhittysTittyCommittee is one of the things that helps me to keep a smile on my face. I’ve already made such wonderful friends through sharing my story and it makes me feel so good to know that I’m helping people out.”