Feeling alive again

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
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Mike Rose was always too nervous to try scuba diving. Despite the fact that his wife loved the underwater adventure, the thought of diving into the unknown terrified Mike – that is, until he encountered something more terrifying than his own fear.

Mike was diagnosed with diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of blood cancer, in 2008. After six rounds of a potent chemotherapy regiment, Mike went into remission with no signs of cancer activity in his body. Unfortunately, like many other lymphoma patients, his remission was short lived. Mike relapsed and in 2009, he had to have a stem cell transplant.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and then its subsequent treatment regiments, tends to give people a deep and newfound appreciation for life. It could be that the mere mention of cancer forces people to come face-to-face with their own mortality. This was at least true for Mike. Following his second remission from lymphoma, Mike was ready to dive head first back into life. And so, six months after his stem cell transplant, Mike decided it was time to try scuba diving.

mike-rose-scuba-diving6“After battling through cancer, you realize that you have already faced the worst of all your fears and survived, so you don’t let fear get the best of you anymore,” Mike said. “I never knew if and when the cancer would come back, so I wanted to enjoy every moment of my life and the thought of exploring the depths of the ocean with my wife seemed like the perfect way to feel alive again.”

With his fears subsided, Mike quickly became a certified scuba diver. Less than a year after his stem cell transplant, Mike took his first official scuba trip to Hawaii in 2010. Since then, he and his wife have gone on a diving trip almost every year, diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, throughout the Caribbean and back in Hawaii.

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