Donna DavisBreast Cancer Survivor Stories
Donna has never shared her Breast Cancer journey before, but with the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she knew it was important to provide support and a positive story to those who may have been recently diagnosed or who are currently fighting their own battle.
At Lee Health, we have exceptional employees who are also incredibly strong breast cancer survivors, and we want to take this opportunity to celebrate each one of them and their inspiring stories for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Donna Davis has been at Lee Health for 31 years, and is an inspiration to us all!
“I am loved, I am strong, I am happy, and I am cancer free.” Those are the words that Donna repeated to herself over and over again as she battled for her life after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in January of 2017. After breaking her shoulder, she underwent surgery and began physical therapy, but even as her shoulder healed, her underarm continued to feel tender, so she went for a mammogram. It was then that she was given the answer that every woman fears, she had triple negative breast cancer.
“My diagnosis consisted of a lump under my collar bone that was inoperable, two in my breast and five behind my chest wall,” Donna said. “Because of this I had to do chemotherapy first to see if it would shrink or take away the inoperable tumor.”
Donna shared with her husband and daughters that she had received a breast cancer diagnosis, but from the beginning, she knew that she was strong enough to beat it. Donna underwent six months of chemotherapy with port placement, one surgery, and six weeks of radiation during her battle with cancer. Throughout her treatment, she was supported by her friends, family and coworkers through prayers, hugs, cards and phone calls. Though her diagnosis was three and a half years ago, she still meets routinely with her oncologist to ensure that she is staying healthy and cancer free.
“My family, my coworkers, my friends, my faith and others that had been through this gave me so much support,” Donna said. “I also did a countdown on treatments with the help of my grandchildren. They made me a paper chain with encouraging words on each link that I would take off after each treatment. I was determined to get this done and behind me.”
One particular coworker, Wanda White Nee, was integral in Donna’s recovery. Wanda is an exceptional Lee Health employee of 7 years and is also a Breast Cancer Survivor.
“Wanda offered her office to me twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes to sit in a recliner to rest and meditate,” Donna said. “Before every chemo session, I would find cards from her on my desk, in my mailbox or even at my sessions with words of encouragement.”
From ringing the bell celebrating her last chemotherapy treatment, her doctor telling her that her surgery was a success and she had gotten all of the cancer, to her very last day of radiation treatment, which fell on the day before Thanksgiving, Donna has precious moments that are etched into her and her family’s hearts that all happened during one of the scariest times in her life. It is stories of the brave women like her that inspire us all, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Keep a positive mindset, it helps with the treatment,” Donna said. “Write things down, how you are feeling, and what you are thinking. Communicate with your doctors and nurses because they have information to share that will help. Talk to others that have been through this for tips to help through the tough times.”
If you would like to share your story, please reach out to Alyssa.Young@LeeHealth.org