Much Love and Pinkness!

Much Love and Pinkness-BlogHello Komen Nation!

That’s sure what it feels like here in Northwest Arkansas as we gear up for the big day on Saturday!

This time of year (and also in October, of course) I enjoy watching people express their support with all manner of pinkness.  I like to mentally give Pink Awards.  So far, “Most Creative Use of Pink” is the pink cement mixer I spotted on the road last week.  “Bravest Use of Pink” goes to Joe here at work, sporting pink trousers for our wear pink day.  “Most Clever Use of Pink” is yet to be finalized, but the pink cups in the fence at Fayetteville Post Office last October are going to be hard to beat.

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Aren’t these signs of support incredibly uplifting?!  I am so grateful for survivors, co-survivors and supporters who really put themselves out there for the cause.

Today at our work building, we had a dunk tank, a pie in the face booth, and  ’Que for the Cause (all food donated by Dickie’s!)  I watched my colleagues climb into a dunk tank  (in temperature below 50 degrees!) and goad their teams into spending more money ($5 for three balls or $20 for unlimited) to hurl balls at them and dunk them in that miserable water over and over and over.  Brrr!  Pies went for $5 each and the whipped cream was flying!

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I had a blast out in our parking lot (I finally dunked Bruce on about my eighth throw!) I am deeply touched that so many people go to such lengths to support The Cure.  I feel the same way about the incredible volunteer army we have pulling off the race!.  It looks like the weather may be bad Friday night (perhaps paying it forward for a pretty Saturday?)  A heartfelt THANK YOU to the planning and set-up teams who will make our race happens despite rain, wind, and sleep deprivation!  On behalf of all survivors…the work you do – the support you provide – makes survivorship easier and brings The Cure closer and closer.

Much love and pinkness…see you at the Race!

Marybeth

#komenozark

Marybeth Cornwell Head Shot Pink Jacket

*Our Guest Blogger, Marybeth Cornwell is the Honorary Survivor Chair for the 17th Annual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure.  Marybeth is the Senior Vice President of Home for Walmart United States and just celebrated her three year cancerversary.

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

Blog-We've Come a long way baby

If you are “a woman of a certain age” you probably remember when the words “breast cancer” were always spoken (if they were spoken) in a whisper.

Did you know that in the early 1950’s, The New York Times refused to print an advertisement from a breast cancer support group? Editors objected to the use of both the word “breast” and the word “cancer”.

We hear that today and think “seriously?!”  We can think that because Komen has been the leading force in de-stigmatizing breast cancer. With conversation comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power and with power comes money and research and results. It all starts with awareness.

I am not sure I realized just how different my journey was from women of other generations until I chatted with my next-door neighbor Hope Deen.

Miss Hope turned 90 last year and she is my idol. (I am Southern and am slightly uncomfortable with calling her simply “Hope” in her presence so Miss Hope she is.)

Hope is so many kinds of fabulous that I cannot count them all. No matter what time of day I see her – announced or unannounced – she is fashionably attired (envision slim pants, crisp white dress shirts, cute flats and cheetah print accessories), with perfect hair / nails / makeup, and mentally sharper than I ever will be. Politics, fashion, celebrities, current events…she knows and has opinions on all of it. Hope FaceTimes on her iPad. Last we visited, she was planning a prank on her family. She was debating whether her Face Time disguise should be Barack Obama (she is a fervent Democrat), Sophia Loren, or Elvis – by wearing a mask she already owns.

I may have voted for the fabulous octogenarian Ms. Loren but I want to BE Hope Deen!

What I love most about Hope is that she will say exactly what she is thinking and half the time you never see it coming. For example, regarding a certain political scandal…”People just need to stop being so naïve!” (It was actually delightfully spicier than that but I can’t blog it here. Love her!)

This openness includes a wonderful willingness to tell her life stories. Hope noticed my pink ribbon car bling and we started chatting about breast cancer one day. She was so dismayed to learn I am a survivor (“but you’re too young!” – bless you Miss Hope). Then she told me her story.

Hope is the mother of three wonderful sons. When the boys were very little, she felt a lump in a breast and consulted her doctor. After referrals to specialists, Hope learned that the mass could indeed could be cancer. The standard of care at that time was to remove the lump under general anesthesia and biopsy it while the patient was still unconscious. If cancerous, a radical mastectomy would be performed and as Hope put it “my lady parts would be removed too.”

Miss Hope’s story of waking up and trying to determine if she was intact just stunned me. I knew breast cancer wasn’t spoken about much before the 1980’s, but I never followed that through…how the lack of awareness, low patient empowerment and limited scientific knowledge impacted the actual patient experience. Wow.

Yes dealing with breast cancer was hard, but I had the luxury of so many options for care (lumpectomy, single mastectomy, double mastectomy…if mastectomy, whether to reconstruct…and if so, how). I made my own decisions supported by doctors and other breast cancer professionals who, to a person, treated me with kindness and as a peer. They respected that I was educated about my disease. My own dad read every word in Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book. Thank you Susan G Komen for bringing breast cancer into the light!

Hope’s lump was benign…but the memory of that 50-plus-year-ago incident stayed with her. When she told me the story, she recalled every detail as if it were yesterday.

From fifty years ago to now to fifty years in the future…where will this journey take us? It’s up to us. My dream is that breast cancer will be taught in medical and history books right next to scurvy, and future generations of little girls will never grow up to associate their favorite color with a disease.

Let’s do everything we can this year to support the Race for the Cure with renewed purpose and urgency.

The cure IS out there. It’s past time we found it.

Marybeth

Marybeth Cornwell Head Shot Pink Jacket

*Our Guest Blogger, Marybeth Cornwell is the Honorary Survivor Chair for the 17th Annual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure.  Marybeth is the Senior Vice President of Home for Walmart United States and just celebrated her three year cancerversary.

“I Hate Cancer More Than I Hate Running!”

-I Hate Cancer More Than I Hate-Marybeth

I just finished with a training run!  I have that smug “uh-huh, I just worked out” feeling.

While I am decidedly one of the least authoritative resources, below are tips that got me to my first 5k (RFTC 2014) and to another one right before Thanksgiving.

Does the below sound like you?…

Not one of those gazelle-type gals with legs for days who thinks “why I wouldn’t dream of not logging at least 25 miles a week!”…

Coming out of winter (ahem) a bit heavier? (I’m lookin’ at you, Tamoxifen. Thanks for those last 10#)….well just remember that a little weight smooths a lot of the cellulite out so you actually look cuter running!

Plain old terrified to try?…

I. So. Get. This.

My fiancé is Mr. Marathon.  066

I kept my training a secret until we went on Spring Break last year and I had to confess what I was doing. (I am not exactly the hop up and exercise on vaca type. He was starting to get suspicious.) Rick was a HUGE training help (those breathing tips!) not to mention his all around wonderful encouragement. We finished the race hand in hand.

…Identify with the above?

Not a problem! You can do it!!!  Here are some tips and tricks that helped me:

A great training app:
-My personal favorite is “5k Runner” from Clear Sky Apps. At a speaking gig recently I heard some fellow survivors raving about the “Zombie, Run! 5k Training” app.

Hey, whatever works.

They are all about 8 week programs.

Whoops, you say you only have 4 weeks?  If you can run (or lope or stagger) for 5-8 minutes straight, you can start up somewhere in week 5 and be just fine.

Killer shoes:
-I’ve always been partial to New Balance (bless their hearts, they make narrows!) What do you know, they make the official Komen running shoes and some apparel too! Y’all, the shoes are awesome!

Great tunes:
-At the risk of embarrassing my almost-47-year old self in front of all the cute, hipster Millennials, here are some of my faves.

Load onto your phone, (the running apps work with players like iTunes) or a tiny player like an iPod Shuffle:

“Shambala” Rockapella
“Joy to the World” Three Dog Night
“Hey Ya” OutKast
“The Long Run” Eagles
“Hot Blooded” Foreigner
“We Will Rock You” Queen
“Don’t Stop” Fleetwood Mac
“ABC” Jackson 5
“Boogie Shoes” KC and the Sunshine Band
“Sweet Home Alabama” Lynyrd Skynyrd
“American Woman” Lenny Kravitz

That’s a sampling…I have 103 songs on the playlist. Oh, make that 104…I have to add Pharrell’s “Happy”!

Good music delivery:
-I love my in-ear Bose headphones from Sam’s Club. They have these silicone thingies that fit the inner curve of your ear (comes with three sizes) and prevent the buds from wiggling around or falling out.

Cute clothes:
-I decided last year, that no matter when or where I run, I will Pink It Up!

My favorites include (of course) Komen tees and anything from Walmart’s Danskin brand athletic line…performance is awesome and pink is always available!

I also love my Komen shoe laces that New Balance gave away at last year’s race.

Training pals:
-Train with friends, even if you do it virtually. My friend Jodi Foutch and I co-trained entirely by text for the Siloam Springs Turkey Trot last year. We traded inspiration, trash talked, and agonized together over our aging hips.

There is also a group of survivors that meets in Fayetteville to train and information about the group named The Buddy Project can be found here.  http://on.fb.me/1DfvCXn

Public commitment:
-Tell your friends, family and coworkers that you are training and get them to sponsor you!

Remember we need to raise one million dollars. Nothing like a little accountability to get you moving! It’s easy to ask 10 friends for $10, right?!

Keep your supporters updated via social media. (Yes, the training apps will do that too!)

The ultimate motivation:
-I read a quote on Pinterest recently that sums it up “Nothing will change until you decide it will.” Last year, I finally decided that I hated cancer more than I hated running. (That is a whole bunch).

Every time I want to quit on a training run, I think about seeing all those survivors at our annual RFTC picture. I think of our angel Georgia Sherrill, my BC mentor who was beloved by so many in our community. I think about my first shower after the double mastectomy when as a grown woman, my mother had to scrub me in the tub like the family dog!

I am grateful that I can run, if slowly and plenty jiggly…and I just keep going.

Survivors, you already kicked cancer. You’ve got this.

Supporters and co-survivors, your dedication inspires us!

See you at the race! (I’ll be the one in pink) 😉

Marybeth

Marybeth Cornwell Head Shot Pink Jacket

*Our Guest Blogger, Marybeth Cornwell is the Honorary Survivor Chair for the 17th Annual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure.  Marybeth is the Senior Vice President of Home for Walmart United States and just celebrated her three year cancerversary.