Valerie Morano is a true inspiration. Having been an avid exerciser since her teens, she joined Lucille Roberts in Yonkers six years ago with the goal of staying healthy and strong. Unfortunately, in November of 2010, Valerie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has fought hard to overcome it and today, at age 49, is cancer-free! Here’s her story.
Lucille Roberts: What was your initial reaction to the diagnosis of breast cancer?
Valerie Morano: When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was in shock. I felt as if my body let me down, since I have always exercised and ate healthy. After the shock I was determined to not let this get me down and fight it.
LR: Please tell us about your journey to becoming cancer-free.
VM: After I found the lump in my right breast, I immediately went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with stage 1 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. On December 1, 2010, I had a lumpectomy. The doctors recommended chemotherapy followed by radiation. I started my chemo on January 6, 2011, and finished on May 18, 2011. On June 8, I started radiation and finished on July 11. I am now cancer-free.
LR: What role did fitness play in your recovery?
VM: When I was first diagnosed, as I said, I felt as if my body let me down; however, as I was going through the chemo and radiation, I did not get as ill as others who were going through the same thing. The exercise and fitness at LR definitely got me through this. I would have dreams about going back to the gym. With the consent of my doctor, I was back to the gym in March. There are over a dozen members who came up to me with their stories of survival. We have become a family. My present to myself after my chemo and radiation was a personal training package, that is when I met Sandra Ferrerio. She is not only an outstanding trainer but also a compassionate and caring person. I will always be thankful to her.
LR: How has your life changed since overcoming cancer?
VM: I have always been an optimistic person, but now I really enjoy every day not knowing what the future will bring.
LR: What advice do you have for women regarding breast cancer prevention or early detection?
VM: I have always gone for mammograms every year. My advice would be to everyone out there to be sure they go for a yearly mammogram and also be sure they give themselves self-exams. I found my lump two weeks before my mammogram. Also, I was in great physical shape, which helped ease the side effects of treatment.
LR: What advice would you give to a woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
VM: I would tell any woman who was just diagnosed to go for a second opinion. Be strong, and be thankful that it was found. Take one day at a time, and be positive.
LR: Anything else you’d like to add?
VM: I would like to say that throughout this horrible experience, I have met so many strong and beautiful people. It is amazing how many people are in your life and are there when you really need them.
LR: Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your story with us!