Participant Spotlight: Mike Cummings

Survivor Fitness helps connect participants to the resources they need to live a healthy and active life. It makes it all worth it when we hear how the program has helped our participants accomplish their goals and return to a life of possibility and wellness. In this Q&A feature, learn more about how Survivor Fitness helped Mike Cummings regain his strength, motivation, and well-being.

A Q & A with Mike Cummings

Survivor Fitness: Tell us about your diagnosis and why you began the Survivor Fitness programs.

Mike Cummings: In May 2016, I had taken a day off from work to do some things around the house and felt a dull pain in my waist that I did not really pay much attention to. A few days later, I started to notice a lump coming up right on my belt line. After researching different medical sites of what it could be, I figured out that it might be an Inguinal Hernia. 

After about three to four days, I started feeling a bit nauseous and finally gave in and went to the ER. At the ER, they tried to reduce it using force, and it would not budge. At that point, it was time to speak to a surgeon. Fast forward a few more days, and I never made it to the surgeon, as I ended up back in the ER. After several hours, the decision was made to do the surgery then and repair it. When I woke up, I was told that I had a lymph node the size of a baseball and it had been sent off to pathology for testing. Nine days later, I got the call that I needed to see an Oncologist and was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.

SF: Tell us about your relationship with Survivor Fitness and how you became a participant.

MC: In March 2021, at my normal check-up, I had a conversation with my oncologist about training and weight loss programs. She introduced me to Survivor Fitness and gave me the referral to get signed up. Not knowing what I was getting into, I did plenty of reading on the program and sent in the application. Within two days, I got a call from the program that I was approved and what costs were associated with it. That conversation drew me right in, and I am glad it did, as I have a great relationship with the program administrators.

SF: How have you been able to regain your health and wellness throughout your time with Survivor Fitness?

MC: The program gave me multiple options of where I could go that fit my extremely busy schedule with two kids playing competitive baseball. [The Survivor Fitness team] made it so easy to work around my schedule and did not require me to be at a certain place at a certain time. We finally chose South Landing Fitness in Knoxville. After meeting with the owner, we were off to the races within five days. We set a schedule, and I had a workout schedule sent to my phone daily so that I could see what was coming and look back on what I had accomplished. 

The overall goals were to regain the strength I had as an athlete in high school and knock a few pounds off. We were able to accomplish 90% of the strength and 100% of weight loss in 12 weeks (actually 15, with a 3-week layoff due to COVID). 

The overall goal with strength was 1,000 pounds in three lifts, and we accomplished that with squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. I am 100% satisfied with the results of the training, and the knowledge that I learned to be able to do it on my own is invaluable. Especially now that I am working out on my own, I still get contacted by the gym owner to check on me and my progress.

SF: What makes the relationship with Survivor Fitness so good?

MC: The communication and the willingness to help me when I need something, like when I have questions about something that I want to try or what I need to do to keep going forward. I have the options to reach out to the dietician, the gym owner, and even the program administrator. Their willingness to help is definitely second to none. 

SF: In what ways does Survivor Fitness empower you to stay active and healthy?

MC: Seeing results firsthand is always empowering. Sometimes, I would be in the gym at 5:30 a.m. and wonder, “Why in the world am I doing this?” knowing that I had 100 other things to get done in the day. Then, seeing the difference in my energy level, the way my clothes fit, and how good I felt throughout the day was an eye-opener and gave me that small little nudge I needed (and still need) to keep going. Even if it is just for a few minutes a day, grabbing something heavy to add weight and doing some sort of movement helps.

SF: What would you tell someone else who might be on a similar journey and is considering being a Survivor Fitness participant?

MC: Do it! Hands down, you won’t regret it. Keep a mindset that you can do it and win. And, ALWAYS MOVE FORWARD!

SF: Do you have anything that stands out to you that you want to share from this journey?

MC: The thing that I really loved about going through this program was that there was absolutely no judgment of any kind. Nothing about weight, strength, mindset—anything. It was always great to walk into the gym—even after a long day or night before—and know that it was a fresh start each time. The same for speaking to anyone from the program; there was no judgment, only solutions to whatever the issue was at the time.

Interested in Becoming a Survivor Fitness Participant?

If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor looking to regain your health and wellness through one-on-one personal training and nutritional support, we’re here for you! Connect with us today to learn more.