My name is Judi Boyce. I am a retired Culinary Specialist Seaman, and I am a wounded warrior. I don’t fit the traditional definition of a wounded warrior. I was not wounded in combat. In 2008, I was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease, a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder. I had joined the Navy two years earlier, but, after my diagnosis, my military career was cut short. My illness – and the brain surgeries that accompanied it – had a profound impact on my life in many ways.
Growing up with two older brothers and a younger step-brother, life has always been competitive, in a one-up-you kind of way. We were always trying to outdo each other and giving each other grief when one of us didn’t live up to our own hype.
My accident occurred in 2007, on St. Patrick’s Day, of all days. I was working in the engine room aboard the USS Emory S. Land, completing repairs to a pump on a fresh-water collection tank, when a steam-relief valve opened above me. I was blasted with 650-degree dry steam at greater than 150 psi (pounds per square inch). It was seven seconds of pure agony.
My name is Jessica Landeros. For many years, I was known as UT2 (SCW) “Can Do!” Jessica Mudgett. I am a wife and a mother. But I also am a recently retired Sailor. And not a day goes by that I don’t sincerely miss my identity as a Navy Seabee. I will never forget when that Navy ball cap was first placed on my head at Great Lakes back in 2002. I was so proud to become a Sailor that I held back tears when the Recruit Division Commander first called me “shipmate.”
I turned a corner sometime during my 10th or 11th chemotherapy session. My body and mind had remained fairly strong throughout a very tough treatment schedule, and I finally realized that I could make it because I might just have a fighting chance. In March 2011, I was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare cancer that typically develops in the bones of children.