My best friend and greatest supporter

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

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!