In 2016, at the young age of 26, Roisin Bettencourt’s life took an unexpected turn. She and her husband were healthy and happy newlyweds when a lump in her breast led her down a path she never imagined.
Her journey started with an ultrasound at Foundation Radiology followed immediately by a mammogram at deNicola Breast Health Center. Following the mammogram, the team at deNicola wasted no time bringing her directly to Foundation Surgery, to discuss biopsy and the road ahead.
As the year progressed, Roisin navigated her cancer diagnosis with the team at Foundation Hematology/Oncology. Under the care of Dr. Guatami Rao, Roisin made her priorities known. She wanted a career, a normal life, and the opportunity to visit the one department of the hospital she hadn’t visited yet – The Birth Place. Little did she know that her life would come full circle and she would welcome a son into the world in 2019.
This time she was supported by not only the oncology team, but now her obstetrician, Dr. Karen Maynard and the Labor & Delivery team. She describes her birth experience as “everything you would want it to be”.
However, 15 months into motherhood, back pain led her back to hospital. Doctors discovered cancer in her spine and liver, prompting an urgent need for treatment. Undeterred, Roisin recalls, “I can’t even fully summarize what I went through in November of 2020. It was painful. It was scary, but I knew I was in good hands.”
To devise the most effective treatment plan, Dr. Rao collaborated with Dr. Isakoff of Massachusetts General Hospital. By December, the cancer in Roisin’s spine had been radiated, and Roisin began targeted therapy. She continues to show stable scans in 2023. Her determination and the expertise of her medical team had triumphed once again. Dr. Rao credits Roisin’s grit and courage and says, “It is my privilege to be part of a team that includes Roisin – to see true grace when there is fear of the unknown. I am always humbled by her attitude.”
Though usually private about her health challenges, Roisin shares her story as a token of gratitude to all the people who have cared for her over the last seven years. She says, “Every member of the team – doctor, nurse, and schedule coordinator – took such great care of me and my family during a scary time. It is obvious that each person knows their role in a patient’s journey, and I want them to know how much they have made my quality of life better. I want other people who are facing unknowns to know they are in good hands.”
Roisin Bettencourt’s journey has been one of resilience, hope, and the unwavering support of a compassionate and capable medical team. Through the ups and downs, she has demonstrated the strength to overcome obstacles and embrace life’s joys. Her story serves as an inspiration to others, showing that with the right support and determination, anything is possible.