Rosanna S., DNP, NP: An Interview

Rosanna S. was 31 when she was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. She went through two rounds of egg preservation, but was able to get pregnant naturally and now has a healthy 1 year old daughter. Rosanna was diagnosed with cervical cancer while pregnant. She thanks her daughter for saving her life, because the cervical cancer might have been missed for years if she hadn’t been pregnant.

We had the chance to talk with Kara. We’re honored to share her words of wisdom.

On The Breasties:

Finding The Breasties was a breath of fresh air! During my diagnosis I felt so alone because I was never able to find women my age with breast cancer. Even when I went to events advertised for young women with breast cancer, I was still always the youngest, which was incredibly frustrating. This group of women gave me people to connect with in a way that others weren’t able to. I found them on Instagram. I just wish I found them earlier!

What other ways did The Breasties help you?

They have provided me with a community that I find support through. I’ve found other women who are in a similar situation as me and made me feel less alone. I found The Breasties after my treatment, but cancer doesn’t end with the end of treatment. They are a group of women I can go to when I worry about relapsing or if I find a new lump, and they’re able to relate. I’m grateful for this group of women. If I could use one word to describe what The Breasties mean to me, it would be: supportive.

If I could use one word to describe what The Breasties mean to me it would be: supportive.

What makes The Breasties unique?

I haven’t been able to find any other organization similar to The Breasties. Being diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age really changes how you make decisions in your treatment plan. If I were diagnosed at an older age, I may not have made the same decisions that I made now. Having a group that is specific to women my age has been incredibly helpful. 

On Diagnosis:

I felt scared and nervous, but also so proud of how strong my body is. This was a really difficult time. I’ve also never felt so loved by my incredibly supportive friends and family. 

On Treatment:

I went through 2 rounds of egg retrieval because the expectation was that chemo would make me infertile. My treatment included a bilateral mastectomy followed by 8 cycles of chemotherapy. I tried to work for as long as possible during chemo. I became completely exhausted half way through and stopped working. During that time, I planned my wedding. My husband and I got married a month after chemotherapy ended! I also completed my work for my doctorate (my DNP) during chemo. I tried to remain as positive as possible, which I was able to do because of the incredible support I had from my husband, family and friends. However, there were days that were hard. There were days that I felt sad. Cancer definitely is a rollercoaster. I learned to listen to my body and allowed myself to have days of not getting out of bed. When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, I had surgery 6 weeks after I delivered my daughter, which was the only treatment I needed.

On Life After Cancer:

Life is so good! I feel so grateful and appreciate every single day! I have an incredible husband and the sweetest daughter I could ever have hoped for. I’m happy and healthy!

On Getting Cancer Off Your Chest:

I wasn’t able to breastfeed my daughter because of breast cancer. I had always wanted to breastfeed since I was a NICU nurse for 5 years. Pia was so incredibly lucky to have my sister in law pump 9 months worth of breast milk for her to use, but I wasn’t allowed to bring frozen breast milk into the hospital. I fought hard to make a policy change in the hospital to accommodate my wishes to allow my daughter to have the opportunity to use breast milk right from birth rather than formula, as they were treating breast milk similarly to how they treat a blood product. These situations will become more common with breast cancer diagnosis happening now at a younger age. Since Pia was born, the hospital has made an official policy change to accommodate other women who could be going through this in the future. I feel proud to have started to pave the way for other young women who may also not have the opportunity to breastfeed.

Visit here to wear your support for Rosanna and The Breasties. 20% of the proceeds will be donated to support their mission. 

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