Newlywed celebrates end of breast cancer treatment with tattoo

Becky Roberds’ wedding was set for July 11, 2015. The 38-year-old had
already selected her venue, invited the guests and tailored her dress.
Then, in early April, she noticed a lump on her right breast, just a
week-and-a-half before her scheduled well-woman exam.

“I said, you know, I’m not going to freak out and reschedule my
appointment sooner. I’ll just wait until I see my doctor,” she recalls.

Becky’s doctor suspected it was a cyst, but he encouraged her to
undergo further testing and a biopsy. She got a mammogram and ultrasound through MD Anderson Cancer Center Breast Care at
Memorial Hermann.

“I went to school for medical assisting, so when they were doing the
ultrasound, I saw the blood flow to the mass, and I said, ‘Oh my
gosh.’ I knew right then that it was a tumor,” says Becky, who had
lost her stepmother, father, mother, grandmother, aunt and two uncles
to cancer.

Preparing for breast cancer treatment at MD Anderson in Katy

On May 4, 2015, Becky got her biopsy results: her tumor was malignant.

“Honestly, I knew that I would have cancer at some point in my
life,” Becky says. “Because of my family history, I just had an
inclination.” That’s why she didn’t even wait for biopsy results to
start planning. By the time her doctor had called with her diagnosis,
she’d already done her research and set up an appointment at MD Anderson in
with Catherine Akay, M.D.

“Dr. Akay likes to use the most aggressive but least invasive
approach,” Becky says. “She doesn’t want to remove anything she
doesn’t have to, but she wants to be as quick and effective as
possible.” That approach appealed to Becky.

Becky tested negative for a BRCA gene mutation, which meant she wasn’t at
increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. So Akay recommended she
undergo a lumpectomy rather than completely removing her breasts with
a mastectomy.

Cancer doesn’t stop happiness

With her breast cancer treatment on the horizon, Becky’s wedding
plans became uncertain.

“Everything went up in an uproar,” she says. “Not only were we
dealing with wedding planning, we were dealing with cancer surgery at
the same time.”

To offer some relief, her brother-in-law and his wife offered to pay
for a Vegas wedding before she started treatment. Becky scrapped all
her wedding plans, and on May 30, 2015, she married the love of her
life during a quick weekend getaway to Las Vegas.

“It was an unimaginable wedding. It was fantastic,” she says.

Less than two weeks later, Becky underwent a lumpectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. She also
completed 30 rounds of radiation therapy under the care of Sunil Patel, M.D.

“His bedside manner is amazing,” she says. “He was so informative. I
admired that because that’s exactly what patients need when they’re in
that situation; we need to be given information so that we’re able to
make an informed decision.”

A tattoo to celebrate survivorship