Tracy Jaisle went from a healthy 38 year-old who ran three times a week to a woman with stage-2 breast cancer… all within a week and a half. A stickler for doing regular self-exams, Tracy noticed a lump while in the shower on a Monday night. The busy mother of two had an appointment by Wednesday, a mammogram by Monday, a biopsy Thursday and a diagnosis on Friday, August 9, 2013.
“A cancer diagnosis turns your world upside down,” says Tracy. “You go from running three days a week, you’ve got kids to transport to soccer and football and there’s a mountain of work to do at the office to, oh my God, I could die.”
The Batesville native now living in Plainfield had invasive ductal carcinoma, a triple-negative breast cancer that spread outside the ducts. She has been undergoing treatment at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, which includes chemotherapy. Woman under the age of 40, like Tracy, account for only 7% of cancer cases. Tracy does not have a family history of breast cancer nor does she carry the BRCA genetic mutation; she detected her cancer due to her own diligence, and encourages other women to take charge of their health.
“I had my first mammogram when I was 32 and that is probably when I started really paying attention to my breast care,” says Tracy. “I have very dense breasts so I knew if there was ever going to be any problems, it would be difficult to detect.”
Tracy says she approached her cancer treatment much like she did the “birth plan” for her two children: with diligence, planning and plenty of support.
“I had chemo treatments and then a double mastectomy,” she explains. “The healthcare community has been so incredibly supportive. The team that surrounded me and really put me in a cocoon met all of my needs—from the social worker who helped us find the words to tell our kids to putting me in touch with support group to meet other women like me. You don’t have to feel alone going through this.”
Tracy is now cancer free! Her diagnosis led her to become passionate about breast care and cancer detection. Last fall, she was featured as the “Fan of the Game” at the Indianapolis Colts game dedicated to breast cancer awareness and shared her message with Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews at the kickoff of a new, charitable breast cancer campaign by Ticketmaster. The director of finance at INDYCAR, Tracy also spoke in a pre-race breast cancer awareness video for INDYCAR.
“Some people want to be private about cancer,” she says. “I haven’t been private- I think talking about it raises awareness. I never wanted to be an inspiration for anybody; I just want to be normal. But I think through this, you become inspiring.”
For more information on breast cancer, visit the IU Health Simon Cancer Center.