Hey....I am on Go Fund Me with fundraisers for tuition for school to return to my fashion studies. Those are still good fund campaigns but I had to accept that I really needed to develop a campaign for my breast cancer. I am still on break from school and I do hope to return but I am currently going through cancer treatments for breast cancer.
I have just started treatments and I am in the CA area having found something for me that I could be okay with. Prior to this I was doing a self made Palliative Care program to hold out until I found something that was not chemotherapy or radiation; both of which I thought would be too much for me. I was doing a combination of wound care and allergy treatments and acupuncture and working with my doctors. It worked. I am very head strong when it comes to such things as I have learned the hard way when I don't listen to my body.
Now I am a veteran having served almost 18 years in the USAF as an officer. I left as a Lieutenant Colonel due to disability. I had developed huge uterine fibroids in my uterus and had been carrying around over 25 fibroid tumors for well over 5 years or so but the condition of uterine fibroids started early with issues of bulky uterus and anemia. It just got really bad towards the end. I held out until I could find a doctor who would leave my uterus intact as hysterectomy was the main recommendations and I did. At UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital I found a kick as doctor who did the work and I left with my uterus and a significantly less bulky uterus as there were maybe 1 or 2 fibroids left that were difficult. The surgery was long but I was happy. It did lead to my discharge from the USAF as the surgery required many deep cuts that simply took too long to heal and so I left with severance pay the end of 2012. I couldn't believe I wasn't retired but this is a story for later as I am pursuing avenues to get a retirement.
Now I decided to retrain when I left as I thought perhaps my job was a bit too toxic as I worked with aircraft and in hangars and did studies and testing on various airframes. I worked issues of supply and parts as well and so perhaps a change was warranted. I decided to study fashion. My background is in aerospace and aeronautical engineering with degrees from University of Michigan Ann Arbor and Loughborough University. I completed a Associates Fashion Degree from Fashion Institute of Merchandising and Design in Los Angeles in 2014.
It was near the end of my studies at FIDM that the breast lump was discovered. I didn't want to start a lumpy breast journey as I was still healing from the myomectomy. Though I had it biopsied I turned away and said I am going to continue school. I went to RMIT in Australia for a time. I took my healing uterus and now lumpy breast to RMIT where I said this veteran is going to have 'her time' finally. I ended up not being able to complete the program due to racism. Ewww! In a zero tolerance military who knew such barbarism still existed anywhere?
Now this should explain my RMIT Education Fund Campaign. I hope to return and under better circumstances. Assistance there is much appreciated. However the immediate focus is on surviving breast cancer.
Having returned from that ordeal in 2015 I decided to return to school in the local area and ended up at the Beverly Hills Design Institute. This is the school where I am pursuing a degree in Pattern Design. They are aware I am on break and funding from the VA via GI Bills has dried up. There I studied the application of textiles in fashion to understand aerodynamic principles seen in clothing. This was my own emphasis as my specialty is draping. I began to see how I might further apply engineering principles to fashion design. My studies here are exciting but on hold. This should explain the campaign here. It is expected that studies at the BHDI would be completed and then hopefully a return to RMIT.
During this time And She Saw Stars was born as well as a career covering fashion as Press. It was during this time I was simply doing wound care and worrying about fibroids and heavy periods still. 2015 into 2016 simply saw me doing minimums so I could figure out what I wanted to do. By 2017 I knew chemotherapy would be out as well as radiation as I felt that would be too much for me as the myomectomy was still rocking my world from memories of how much healing was required. Like as not I was committed yet again to finding the right fit for me and it wasn't until 2021 that I did.
So expenses for getting treatment out of area is costly. There are lodging and food costs and travel costs and even clothing expenses as wound care can wear on clothing. Trying to finish school is also fraught with challenges. Trying to keep the light shining on my fashion brand And She Saw Stars also a difficult task. VA resources here are limited with the exception of insurance as they are helping me to get great doctors. Time is consumed developing VA claims that get denied and there is no way to know if getting bestowed with a USAF retirement will be worth it should it get approved by the Records Board. It was the Veteran Servicing Officers that suggested my discharge board needed a relook and I should have been retired.
Donations will be used to defray costs associated with obtaining treatment in the CA area. I am expecting treatment to go over a year. Updates to the campaign will talk about my progress as well as talk about the journey and what it means to be a veteran doing it. I will also talk about what it means to be a girl doing this work. I will talk about the road from Lieutenant Colonel back to girl in the world for that is a feat. I will likely also talk about racism and of course fashion. I will talk about survivorship and also the hopes associated with wanting to survive or not for that's also real. Being a veteran can be difficult but leading via example still comes to the fore. Talking about the journey can be useful and will hopefully help you to see why your donations are so important.
I am LaDonna Joyce Davis and I have metatastic breast cancer.