Sisters Donna Whiteside and Diana Rivera are cancer survivors – as is their mother, Helen Roach – and they attribute that to their strong faith and close families.
Whiteside is a five-year survivor; Rivera has been a survivor since January 2015.
Whiteside’s surgeon was Dr. Susan Chace Lottich and her oncologist was Dr. Mary Mayer. Because Whiteside had such high praise for these doctors, Rivera said she would be more comfortable if they were also her doctors.
“My doctors were awesome,” Whiteside said. “Mine were great, Rivera noted.
Both sisters agreed that their doctors helped them understand the medical aspect of their cancers.
Drs. Ross and Hsiago were Whiteside’s radiologist and plastic surgeon, respectively.
The sisters, known as “The Double D’s” during Rivera’s treatment, went to Indianapolis Public School 65 before attending Manual High.
Rivera’s cancer was discovered through her annual mammogram. “When I got the news that I had a cancerous lump in my left breast, my heart stopped. I knew then that I was in for the fight of my life,” she said.
“My husband, Arnold, and my children, Kristina Rivera Rearick, Arnie and Bill, and my sister got me through this,” said Rivera, who has 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Rivera, who retired from Lincare in September, and her husband belong to St. Jude Church. “I love sitting on the porch with my husband or any of our sweet grandchildren.”
Whiteside, a member of Greenwood Christian Chuck, said she knew God was at her side during her battle. “My husband, Robert Jr., and my kids (Shanon Mullinix, Tracy (Randy) Guy and Robert (Lisa) Whiteside) and my nine sweet grandchildren kept me going.”
Whiteside quit work 13 years ago to help her son when he lost his first wife at the age of 25 to ovarian cancer.
Through it all, she has no doubt that God is good. “I thank God every day for my family, which he has blessed me with.
“Cancer is a scary word, but not if you have faith and a close family.”