After years of having routine mammogram screenings, Rosemarie Valderrosa, 61, missed her annual exam in 2016. “I had a false sense of security thinking it’s going to be negative anyway,” Valderrosa recalled. “It's always negative.”
It was in early May 2017 when Valderrosa felt a lump in her breast. She had a sinking feeling it was breast cancer. Over the next few weeks the lump increased in size and her breast began to look physically different. Valderrosa, who is a nurse manager in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Broward Health Medical Center, was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer.
“I remember leaving the Lillian S. Wells Women’s Health Center at Broward Health Medical Center and my husband and son were there to meet me and take me home,” she said.
Valderrosa was treated by Broward Health hematologist-oncologist Archana Maini, M.D. “It was a very aggressive bilateral breast cancer,” Maini said. “It was unique for her case. There were large masses in her breast with nipple inversion."
Valderrosa underwent five rounds of chemotherapy at the infusion center at Broward Health Medical Center, suffered side effects and was admitted twice to the hospital. She also underwent surgery, radiation and target therapy.
“I don’t think I would have done so much better without Broward Health,” Valderrosa said. “The Broward Health family has been very supportive. I found strength in coming here because I felt safe and felt the love.”
Valderrosa continues to receive regular screenings and other treatment.
“She is in remission, but it’s a very aggressive cancer,” said Maini. “We have to keep a close eye on her for at least another 10 years because it has a very high risk of recurrence.”
“I am proud to be a breast cancer survivor,” Valderrosa said. “I have a new appreciation of my life.”