Thriving, not just surviving

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Life has a way of throwing curveballs, and Tech. Sgt. LeVonya Davis, 81st Medical Support Squadron medical information systems section chief, has taken the challenges in stride.

“My mom got sick with stage four colon cancer, which is actually what brought me here to Biloxi,” said Davis. “I'm active duty and I was allotted the opportunity to be stationed close to my mom to support her and provide care.”

Several months after arriving at Keesler, Davis was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer after she found a lump during a self-examination. Through the next few months, mother and daughter shared the role of caregiver.

“It was my mom who applied my bandages, both physically and mentally,” said Davis. “On the day of my mastectomy, it was her who slept on the hard hospital sofa bed, the day before her 66th birthday, to make sure that I had everything that I needed.”

Throughout the process, the physical challenges of the cancer, on top of chemo, radiation and surgery, took a toll on Davis’ confidence.

“I don’t know about other women, but my breasts meant a lot to me as a young, single, black female,” said Davis. “I felt as though my beauty and identity as a feminine individual had been torn away. Through my faith, my mom’s unfailing love, the support of my family and friends and my oncology team, I was able to move forward, and thrive again.”

Davis moved into remission this past May. She continues to be active in the Keesler and local community, telling her story of resilience with breast cancer survivors and supporters.

She recently spoke at the at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K.

“To those of you that feel alone, look around you,” said Davis. “Look at all these wonderful people standing here with you wearing pink! We are here making strides with you.”

October is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, raising awareness of breast cancer signs, symptoms and emphasize the importance of early diagnosis.

Symptoms for breast cancer can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

For breast cancer resources for military members, please visit the Veterans  Affairs website.