My best friend and greatest supporter

My best friend and greatest supporter
I LOVE this man!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

12 Days and Counting

The 2011 D.C. Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is only 12 days away! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I have so many people that I met at the numerous Get Started Meetings, Event Preps and Training walks I volunteered at that I can't wait to see again! There are also TONS of people that I have only met on Facebook that I can't wait to meet and walk with.

I have had a LOT of things happen to me this year. Many of them were good, and some of them were not so good. This year I made friends, I was sick, I had surgery, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, I had a chunk of my arm removed, I trained like a crazy women, I went through 3 pairs of walking shoes, I went to Boston, I suffered heat stroke, I rode in two ambulances to two different ERs, I learned my lesson, I trusted people, I got hurt, I worked my butt off, I was betrayed, I was lied to, I was told the truth, I was loved, I was supported, I was happy, I was sad, I got angry, I loved, I raised awareness, I raised funds, I was a course marshal and had a blast, I met people, I payed bills, I worked, I played, I ran my first 5K and had nobody there to cheer me on, I created a website, I attended more breast cancer awareness events than I can even remember, I volunteered, I helped, I comforted, I consoled, I was comforted, I was consoled, I laughed, I cried, I was hugged, I tried to be a good person, I got a ticket, I won some, I lost some, I designed shirts, I sold shirts (still selling them .... go to to buy one - PLEASE), I planned fund raisers, I put myself out there, I was disappointed, I was pleasantly surprised, I celebrated birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries, I cooked, I cleaned, I went out to dinner, I visited friends, I held my husband's hand, I went to my 30th year High School reunion, I mourned the loss of a friend, I mourned the loss of a women I only met for a moment at the 3-Day (Julia "Mama Tutu" Kaulker), I mourned the loss of a friend's sister, I wore my hair up, I went to my favorite place (tucked in under my husband's chin with his arms wrapped around me), I wore my hair down, I bought more shoes (love shoes), I shared my myself, I remembered the joys of a batting cage, I got my car fixed too many times, I begged for a motorcycle (didn't get it ... yet), I worried, I relaxed, I got excited to get a "Hello Titty" button, I blared my hard rock music with the the sunroof and windows opened and didn't worry about the cuss words, passed kids and then worried about the cuss words, I made my son feel better, I heard myself say "you need to shave" for the first time to my son and totally freaked out, I learned how to make awesome TuTus, .... basically I LIVED!

Why am I telling you this? Well, I was just sitting here thinking about how excited I am about the D.C. 3-Day, and I realized that I walk so that breast cancer doesn't take that away from another. We all should be free to experience ALL the things (good and bad) that happen when you truly LIVE. SO .... I'll keep walking and getting excited about it until we can all LIVE a lifetime without the threat of breast cancer cutting it short or diminishing our lives in any way!

God bless you and yours!!!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

More walking advice

As many of you may know, I took a royal beating in Boston.  The heat was miserable, but I made some rookie mistakes too.  I am going to share those mistakes with all of you, so you learn from my mistakes and hopefully avoid the need for medical attention or in my case two ambulance rides to the ER and 4 1/2 bags of fluids!

The first mistake I made was ignoring my own needs.  The reality is, you must take care of yourself first!  That may seem like some very un-3-Dayer-like advice, but consider this - if you don't take care of yourself, you WILL go down and then you are no good to anybody!  However, if you take care of your own hydration needs and minimize your own heat exposure you will remain strong and capable of helping not only your team mates, but other 3 Dayers as well.  It is sort of like the advice the airlines give you about oxygen masks.  Put your own mask on first, and then assist others around you!

The second mistake I made was not concentrating on my electrolyte balance.  Although I was alternating between water and a sports drink (I add Propel powder to my water because I HATE Gatorade), I was perspiring heavily.  I typically carry electrolyte tablets when walking in extreme heat.  I learned this on my very first 3-Day.  I was walking in Tampa Bay in 2009.  The heat index was similar to the conditions we experienced in Boston this year.  Luckily, I was walking with experienced walkers who taught me all about electrolyte tablets.  They were a God send, and kept us all in good condition.  Obviously, you should consult a physician to make sure electrolyte tablets will not interact with any medication you take or aggravate any conditions you may suffer from.  However, if your doctor says electrolyte tablets are safe for you, they should be a staple in your fanny pack .... especially when you know you will be walking in severe or extreme heat.  I forgot my electrolyte tablets and paid a price for that oversight!

The third mistake was being stubborn!  I knew my core temperature was too high, I knew I was dehydrated (I hadn't peed in hours and I had stopped perspiring), and I knew I was heading down a bad path.  Instead of listening to my body and giving it a break, I pushed myself so I could set up my tent (and helped a team mate set up hers too).  What I should have done, was drop my stuff off, headed for some water and some shade and rested until I cooled down and gave my body a chance to rehydrate.  Lets face it, the tents weren't going anywhere!

The forth mistake I made was not eating.  I have a very restricted diet (by choice) and I am an extremely picky eater.  I was not taking in enough calories to maintain that level of activity.  Although I do not eat bread, chips, cookies, or sugar of any kind (basically I don't eat anything Komen was serving for lunch except the apple), I am sure if I asked I could have had more apples, bananas or oranges to make up the difference.  I also had almonds in my fanny pack (for protein and energy), but I was saving them for when I got really hungry!  Um .... I was HUNGRY!!!!!  After this experience, I totally get how people die of dehydration in the desert but still have water in their canteens .... they were saving it!  I also could have stopped on the route at any number of places to pick up something I DO eat for lunch!  You are responsible for yourself, and you must address your own needs!

As you can see, I made some crucial mistakes and paid the price for them.  I don't want anybody to go through that, so I am willing to share my stupidity with all of you.  For those of you who know me well, I always try to turn a negative into something positive.  I am not always successful, but I do try.  Anyways, I am hoping that in sharing my negative experience and mistakes, we all learn what not to do as well as what may have helped.

Hugs and kisses .... AND HAPPY WALKING,


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some practical walking advice

Okay, so we're all out there walking our butts off (you are walking and training - right?).  Hopefully, you're breaking in multiple pairs of shoes by now, you have the right socks, and the right inserts for your shoes.  You have probably built up some caluses, and you know where your hot spots are so blisters are being managed.  But wait - it's starting to get warmer which creates a new set of issues.  Here are a few pieces of practical advice that may help you.

  1. If you are going to walk more that 10 miles, bring an extra pair of clean, dry socks with you.  Your feet will perspire more in the heat and wet feet mean BLISTERS.  An extra pair of dry socks is, in my humble opinion, one of the best blister prevention methods out there.  If your feet perspire a lot, bring 2 pair, and change them out as needed.  The best blister care is to prevent them! 
  2. Buy socks made out of a wicking material.  The wicking material keeps the moisture away from your skin so your feet will stay dry.  However, there is only so much the wicking material can do, so you will still need to change your socks when the material becomes saturated.
  3. Your feet swell more in the heat, so if you are getting more hot spots than usual, you may need to go up a half size on your shoes.
  4. Make sure you stay hydrated!  It's not just your feet that perspire more in the heat, so you need to be diligent about drinking plenty of water.  I am personally not big on sports drinks because I don't like the taste of them.  However, I realize that I need the electrolytes.  There are a few alternatives to sports drinks that will do the trick.  I drink Smart Water, and I also add Propel powder to my water.  The Propel comes in a variety of flavors.  I stick several packets in my fanny pack so if I'm feeling the effects of the heat, I can throw some in my water to get the electrolytes I need.  Remember that it is important to drink before you are thirsty!!!!
  5. As the temperature rises we wear less clothing which exposes more skin to the elements.  Don't forget to wear sunscreen and reapply it as needed.  I love the spray sunscreens that don't have to be rubbed in.  I stick a small can in my fanny pack and reapply every couple of hours.  Some of you won't use the spray on sunscreen because it turns white material yellow.  Never fear, I have a solution.  Just before you throw the clothing in the washer, rub some Suave (the really cheap stuff and yes, it has to be Suave because I've tried other shampoos and it doesn't work) over the yellow stains, and the yellow will disappear.
  6. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your face.  I have very sensitive skin and have many allergies, but Neutrogena makes an entire line of sunscreens just for the face that includes a product for sensitive skin.  While I'm on the subject of sunscreen, don't forget your ears.  I recently sunburned my ears, and trust me it was not fun!  Besides, peeling ears is not a good look - HAHA!
  7. Don't forget your sunglasses!  I just read an article about cataracts and according to the article they are seeing them in younger patients and especially among long distance walkers and runners.  Most of us (myself included) wear ball caps to keep the sun out of our eyes, but we need to protect our eyes as much as our skin.  Therefore, take the necessary precautions and wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection.
  8. If you are like me and you have dark hair that turns funky shades of red in the sun, or you have processed hair you will need to protect it as well.  The sun does more than just bleach your hair though; it damages it as well.  The combination of sun and persiration can dry your hair out making it dull and frizzy. At the very least you should switch to a hydrating conditioner, but that won't help the bleaching effects of the sun.  No, I am not suggesting that you put icky greasy sunscreen in your hair!  However, there are product lines that offer sunscreen in their shampoo and conditioners.  The one that I use in the summer is Redken.  They make an entire line of sunscreen for your hair products.  They only sell it in the summer, but it came back out a few weeks ago.  Personally, I only need the shampoo and conditioner, but they do have a couple of different spray options as well.
I hope this advice helps all of my walking buddies overcome some of the challenges we face as the weather gets warmer.

Happy walking!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

May 8th 3 Day for the Cure Training Walk

6 Mile 3 Day Bingo - Bethesda, MD Training Walk
We will meet in front of the Friendship Heights Metro Stop on the corner where Military Road, Western Ave, and Wisconsin Ave intersect. Check-in will be from 8:45-9:00. Specific walk instructions and stretching will begin at 9:00.

This route is a nice combination of some beautiful residential neighborhoods and quaint business districts much like we see on the 3 Day. We will be walking between 3-3.5 mph so this may be a little more challenging. The route has some very slight inclines of no more than 3 degrees, and there are sidewalks throughout the entire route. Bathrooms are available at 3 and 5 miles on the route.

To make the walk more fun, we will be playing 3 Day Bingo. The winner will receive a prize!
All 3 Day safety rules apply, so please review them in your Walker Handbook. As with the 3 Day, we will walk rain or shine so dress accordingly. Remember a hat, sunscreen, water, and a snack if needed.

To view the walk route follow this link:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thinking about Therese!

I am out walking again!  Actually, I've been walking (more like shuffling) since about 1 1/2 weeks post surgery.  I started with a 1 mile walk and I couldn't wait to get home.  I went back out the next day and felt stronger so I did 3 miles.  That was a big day because I also did a Get Started Meeting that evening.  I was exhausted!  To be honest, I probably shouldn't have done the Get Started Meeting because I paid for it the next day.  I was sore and REALLY tired the next day, so I didn't do much except sleep.

The day after my resting day, Thursday, I walked again.  I did another 3 miles.  I was tired, but it wasn't nearly as difficult.  I didn't walk on Friday, but I did walk yesterday.  I did 5 miles at an average speed of 3.4 mph.  The walking was fine, except I got hailed on!  I think that was the cosmos way of telling me to go home, which I did.  I wasn't nearly so tired, and I even went for a little drive later in the day.

The walking is helping me to build my strength back up, but blaring my music in my ears is helping to rebuild my spirit!  When I'm out there, I feel like me and all is right with my world.  This surgery has taken a LOT out of me, and the hormonal imbalance that I'm battling has been difficult.  I keep reminding myself how lucky I am that everything came back benign so I can go back to my life once everything heals. 

That is GREAT for me, but I keep thinking about all the people I walk for who are not so lucky.  Once they heal from surgery, they face chemo treatments and radiation treatments, and typically more surgery.  They don't get to just heal and go back to their life like I do.  Going through this has been tough, but it pales in comparison to what someone with cancer goes through. 

I had to be operated on by an oncologist because of the threat of cancer.  I was lucky, but as I sat in the waiting room waiting for my post surgery check-up, I started talking to a woman who wasn't as lucky as me.  She asked me what type of cancer I had.  I explained that I had dodged a bullet.  This total stranger celebrated with me, and was genuinely happy for me!  She was worried for me too.  She told me not to take my one remaining ovary for granted and made me promise to have it checked regularly because as she put it, it can still kill me!  I never really thought of it that way and I have a completely new understanding of why breast cancer survivors wear t-shirts that say "Yes, they are fake.  My real ones tried to kill me!"

This total stranger made me understand that although I did dodge a bullet, I must remain vigilant.  I have to go to my doctor's appointments because I may not be so lucky the next time.  Anyway, this woman, Therese, wasn't nearly as lucky though.  She has ovarian cancer that has spread throughout her entire abdomen.  She hasn't had surgery yet because she is going through radiation and chemo to shrink the tumors first. She told me that her treatment is working because the tumors are disappearing.  In her words, there are just a few dots left.  She asked me what the surgery is like and I told her that the pain from the surgery is NOTHING compared to the pain of a twisted ovary.  She hugged me and we exchanged business cards.  I have a ribbon on my hat for her, and I was thinking about her today when I was out doing my 5 miles.  She can't walk because the radiation or the chemo (take your pick) has caused her to have neuropathy in her legs and feet.  She doesn't get her life back because they can't cure her cancer and she will have to have chemotherapy once a month for the rest of her life.  She wasn't even upset about that becaus she said at least she gets a rest of her life to have.  WOW!

Therese taught me something.  She taught me that living in blissful ignorance really is just ignorant, and I am a coward.  Well, I was a coward because from now on I'm going to make and keep my doctor's appointments.  I will face what I must just like Therese does.  I may not like doctors, but it is better than the alternative.

I also have a renewed resolve to keep fighting for a cure for breast cancer.  I got just an itty bitty taste of what they go through.  I lived in fear of my pathology report.  I lived through the fear of the unknown and feeling like my own body had betrayed me.  I was lucky, but there are so many who are not, so I'll walk until they find a cure or my body just can't do it anymore.  When that day comes, I'll do something else to fight the fight though because I'm in this to END it, once and for all!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't wait - donate TODAY!

Yes, I'm doing it again and again and again - I signed up for the 2011 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure again this year!  The 3-Day for the Cure events have been such a life changing experience for me these past 2 years that I decided to go back for a LOT more this year.  I walked in Tampa in 2009, and I walked in DC and Tampa last year.   I'm so excited about these events that I will be walking in Boston, DC, and Tampa this year.  Each year I keep raising the bar, but walking 60 miles in 3 days makes such a bold statement in the fight against breast cancer that I am compelled to do it.  I know what I’ve gotten myself into which is a total of 180 event miles and raising a minimum of $6900!  In addition to the events, I also became a Training Walk Leader which means I am volunteering to help train other 3-Day walkers, and I became a 3 Day Ambassador.  I believe so strongly in this cause that I train year round and walk over 1800 miles a year to ensure that I am physically prepared for these walks.

This seems to be my year of threes as it is the third year I’m walking in the 3-Day for the Cure.  I am also walking in 3 events this year to honor 3 sisters who all lost their battle to breast cancer.  I met their brother while walking in DC last year.  He lost 2 of his sisters last summer and the last sister passed away a few short weeks before that event.  I was so moved by his story that I dedicated my Tampa walk last year to his sisters.  This year I am dedicating one walk to each sister so I can help him continue to fight their fight for them.  Although I am honoring them, I am also walking because I look forward to a future where pink becomes just a color again and breast cancer becomes nothing more than a foot note in the history books.  I walk because I don’t want another brother to lose a sister, a child to lose a mother, a husband to lose his wife, etc., etc., etc.  Together, we can find a cure, and through the research Susan G. Komen funds, we are getting closer to finding that cure every day.

These events are not easy, but I promise you, I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't believe 100% that it was worth every muscle ache, every painful blister, every leg cramp, weary night and training walk.  However, the toughest part for me is the fundraising.  I find it extremely difficult to ask, but I’m not asking for myself.  I am asking for you and your loved ones.  If breast cancer has touched your life or the life of a friend or loved one, you know how devastating a breast cancer diagnosis can be.  For my friend who lost 3 sisters, he knows the devastation and pain it causes not just for the person with the disease, but all their family and friends as well.  This is a hideous disease and it often strikes without warning.  In fact, every 69 seconds someone’s life spins out of control with the news that they too have breast cancer.  If you have been lucky enough to not be touched by breast cancer, don’t wait until you feel the heartache to make a donation.  I am committed to keep walking until breast cancer is no longer a threat.   I walk because everyone deserves a lifetime and because I can.

I make this journey every year, I train constantly, and I suffer all the aches, pains, and blisters to fight this fight, but I need your help.   I raised $4,600 last year and it was tough!  To be honest, I fell short so I had to make up the difference out of my own pocket.  Despite knowing how hard it was last year, I am still willing to train and fundraise for a third walk this year.  I’m a little nervous because I have to raise a minimum of $6900, but I would be thrilled to exceed that minimum this year to help end breast cancer.  I know and trust that my friends and family have my back, and won’t let me fail.  Many of you have supported me and this fight over the years, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Unfortunately, this fight is a marathon not a sprint, so I’m hoping I can count on your support again this year.  For those of you, who have not made a donation yet, please make one this year to support my fundraising efforts and this important cause.  You may want to consider making that donation every month for the next four months by using the payment plan option available when you donate online.  Many companies have matching gifts programs, so ask your employer if they will add to your donation with a matching gift as well.

To make a donation, simply follow any of the links below to visit one of my personal fundraising Web pages.   If you don't want to donate online, you can download and print a donation form from that page that you can mail.  Together we can and do make a difference.  Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure are invested in breast cancer research and community programs.  The funds stay in the community where it is collected, so give to any or all of the cities where I am walking.

My personal fundraising Web pages are at the following addresses:

If you have any questions or want to hear more about what I'm doing, please feel free to contact me because I love talking about these life-changing and life-saving events.  From the bottom of my heart I thank you for all of your support.  I am incredibly blessed to have people like you in my life!

Lisa R. Cummings

P.S.  I am trying to meet my fundraising goal early this year, so please don’t wait - donate today!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 DC 3Day Training Kick-Off

I will be the training walk leader for the DC Training Kick-Off on April 10th.  The kick off will start at 9:00 at the New Balance Store on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC.  We will be doing a 3 mile walk and there will be a proper shoe fitting and apparel clinic immediately following the walk.  New Balance is offering an awesome 20% discount for purchases made at the store that day!

If you would like to join me in the first official DC training walk of the season, please RSVP at Website.  You will need to RSVP on the official calendar.  If you could also RSVP on the training calendar that would be very helpful as well.  I can't wait, and I hope to see you all there.  Keep watching the training walk board for more training walks as well.

As always I am available for questions at any time.

Thanks and stop back soon,
Lisa (aka PinkBabyLee)