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Calling all SCUBA divers!

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  • Hazel_Nut
    Hazel_Nut Member Posts: 70
    edited August 2015
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    HI Ladies,

    Make sure to watch Big Blue Live! AUG 31-SEPT 2 8PM ET/PT

    http://www.pbs.org/big-blue-live/home/

    Big Blue Live celebrates a wildlife success story and marine animal phenomenon: humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks and more all convene in Monterey Bay once a year.

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited October 2015
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    Just want all my future scuba buddies to know that today is WORLD OCTOPUS DAY!!!

    http://www.newsweek.com/its-world-octopus-day-here-are-eight-awesome-octopodes-380982

  • jbres1
    jbres1 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016
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    Good evening,

    Well where do I start,. I am a 59yr old guy with breast cancer.

    Found a lump in November, diagnosed 2 weeks later.

    Had my surgery last month and will start taking tamoxifen this week.

    I have plans to go diving in Florida for spring break/Easter .

    My questions / concerns are , will I be able to dive, how does Tamoxefin affect the body at depth,

    will my lymphedema get better if I dive.

    I have been in contact with DAN, no word yet .

    Thanks in advance,

    Jim Breslin

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,898
    edited January 2016
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    jbres1, we are really sorry you have joined this club as well. We understand that it is in certain respects different and perhaps even more difficult for men who are diagnosed. You are certainly not alone, and we have other men on our discussion boards! Have you asked these questions of your treatment team. The questions re good. How bad is your lymphedema curerently?

  • jbres1
    jbres1 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016
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    Good morning,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I have talked to my team about diving, but have not gotten any real information with respect to scuba diving.

    I hope to hear from the people at DAN sometime this week.

    The swelling is in my chest and underarm and upper arm areas. I started treatments with an OT last week and have

    12 visits scheduled.


    Thank you, Jim breslin

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited January 2016
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    Hi Jbres...and welcome to the thread even if it isn't that active...

    I'd be very interested in hearing what DAN tells you. There isn't a lot of research on bc and diving. I can tell you that my doc's LE therapist told me that, based on her observations, diving is GOOD both for prevention and reduction of LE, both because being at depth reduces the swelling, and because of wetsuit compression. That said, I do think it would be important to be concerned about increased DCS risk.

    I will be diving for the first time post dx in May. Cozumel, woohoo! While I haven't had LE the therapist and bs both told me I am at moderate risk. I will stay dive conservatively, but I will be diving. I am on Arimidex, main side effect so far has been occasional insomnia, but not enough to keep me from diving or otherwise being active. My best advice would be that you exercise regularly to keep in shape (and helps with SEs from Tamoxifen and AIs also).

    Please keep posting and let us know what you hear.

    Happy bubbles;

    Octogirl

  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited January 2016
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    Jbres1....I was planning a dive 3 months after my lumpectomy and my doc had no issues with me going. However, due to other circumstances (unrelated to health) I did not end up diving.  The only thing that might give you trouble is heavy lifting with the arm where the nodes were removed.  

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited January 2016
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    Hi jbres! Nice to meet you.

    My greatest concern about diving is lifting equipment & also wrestling my left arm into my wetsuit. Having said that, I'm prepared to attempt a dive this upcoming summer. It'll be my first since my BMX last summer and subsequent chemo and radiation.

    Octogirl, after your Cozumel trip, I'm eager to hear how everything went. I know you're thrilled to be planning a dive!


  • jbres1
    jbres1 Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2016
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    Hello to all interested in scuba diving after breast cancer .

    This is the information I have so far from the folks over at DAN.

    I have pasted some of the information I got from DAN

    1-

    Generally, the recommendation in the dive medicine community is to wait until all treatments are complete before a return to diving is considered. In addition, the patient/diver should be released for full and unrestricted activity by the treating oncologist. Since the medication portion of your treatment has not yet begun, you are still in the "treatment" phase; therefore, a consideration for diving now is somewhat premature. Tamoxifen may increase your risk of a blood clot to the lung; while treatable on land, this is catastrophic in the water, possibly leading to drowning.

    2-

    Diving with lymphedema is also not recommended for several reasons. Lymphedema indicates the inability of the lymph nodes to properly drain fluid causing swelling of the associated limb and tissue. The associated swelling can affect proper range of motion, cause skin tightness, discomfort, and lead to recurring infections; all of which may compromise safety in the water. It may also be confused with a form of decompression sickness known as lymphatic DCS.

    So, here I am today . 6 weeks post mastectomy, going to an OT for a case of lymphedema and started taking Tamoxifen today.

    The people at DAN gave me the contact information for a few doctors in my area that can do a fitness-to-dive physical.

    Next step in my recovery is to get my lymphedema out of the way, see what side effects tamoxifen has in store for me all before I go to florida

    in 2 months.

    Thanks, Jim

  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited January 2016
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    Good luck Jim and thanks for all the info.  

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited January 2016
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    Thanks for the information, Jim! Hope you get cleared to dive soon.

  • jbres1
    jbres1 Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2016
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    Hello again,

    Last week I had my appointment to get my "Fit to dive " physical from a doctor recommended by the folks over at DAN.

    The doctor cleared me to dive if I so chose to do so.

    We spoke about everything from diving on air vs nitrox, to how deep I should or should not go, to types of dives..

    We talked about the meds. I am taking and the risk factors of diving on Tamoxifen . I am at a low risk for complications

    from a blood clot, but there is still a risk.

    There is no real data on how lymphedema and nitrogen loading put me at risk for DCS as a recreational diver.

    The areas that are holding excess lymphatic fluid could cause me some trouble , but there is little data on it.

    He told me not to push the limits, keep well within the NDL, no free assents, and watch my depths.

    So, the take away from my check up is I am cleared to dive.

    All of the news I got with respect to me getting back into diving was great. Now I need to get my head back and ready to dive.

    At this point I feel I could do it physically, but my mind is not ready to dive.

    The dive shops in Jupiter Florida will have to wait till next spring, but I have high hopes for Cancun this summer.

    I am going to start out at my local quarry to see how I do at 20 to 30 ft depth and build back up.

    Thanks, Jim

  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited March 2016
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    Jim....glad you were cleared for diving. I would recommend Cozumel over Cancun for diving. The best dive site is Palancar Reef and the boat ride is much shorter from Cozumel. Happy diviing!!

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited March 2016
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    Sounds good. I'm ready to start diving again this summer. My plan is to have my husband lug my gear, be extremely careful wrestling myself into my wetsuit, don/doff in the water, and stick to warm water and reasonable depths. I'm scared of developing lymphedema, especially after my full node dissection, but I'm more scared of never diving again. :D

  • jbres1
    jbres1 Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2016
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    Hi,

    I love Cozumel but I think the depth may be a little deep for me to try this summer. I would much rather go to depth here in the US and have a problem rather than in Mexico.

    I don't even know if they have a chamber in cozumel if I did need to take a ride in one.

    From what the Doctor told me lymphatic bends would respond to a decompression chamber ride, but would hurt like hell.


    Thanks, Jim


  • backtohealth
    backtohealth Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2016
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    Hi All


    I had and mastectomy LN removal and I started excising right after, during all chemo (P90 X program). Exercise help recovery and reacquiring strength fast. I do not have lymphedema, but many think that actually the increase in pressure will help. I went scuba in Grenada last December (1 year after my surgery) and all went well. I did first a shallow dive just to see how it goes, and I was very nervous. But all went well so I did two more dives the following day. It is so empowering going back to life! Good luck!


  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited September 2016
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    In Hawaii and got in some dives this week....good vis, flat seas and two octopuses on one of the dives! Yes, there is scuba post bc!

    Octogirl

  • tessu
    tessu Member Posts: 1,294
    edited September 2016
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    Woohoo octogirl!!! So glad to hear you had fun in Hawaii!!!

    I stopped scuba two decades ago because of neck/back problems, mommyhood/no time/no opportunity, but this bc has gotten me itching to re-certify and get back in the water at least once. I hear these days you can pay people to carry your tank and help you put it on/off ;) . Great to hear your success story!!! Will follow this thread for inspiration :

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited October 2016
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    Tessu, you should totally take it up again!

    Did two dives day before yesterday (still in Hawaii)...had a blast...

    Octogirl

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited October 2016
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    Yay Octogirl! I did 8 dives in Grand Cayman in August! It was my first time diving after my cancer diagnosis & surgery & chemo & all that nonsense.

    My DH had to help me quite a bit, I donned/doffed in the water, and I kept my wetsuit on during intervals (to keep steady compression on my left arm), but otherwise all felt normal & it was wonderful!!

    I was willing to risk lymphedema, and so far so good...no signs of anything from the dives, and now I feel excited to go again.

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited October 2016
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    JenPam, while I don't think there has been much research on the topic, my LE therapist (who I saw at BS's request before surgery for an evaluation; I haven't had any LE thus far, thank goodness) was very glad to hear I was a diver and gave her opinion based on observation of her patients that diving helped with LE....in any case, donning and doffing in water works for me too because of knee issues (had them before bc but Femara doesn't help).

    Glad it felt good! It is great to get back in the water, isn't it?

    Octogirl

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited October 2016
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    Yes, it's wonderful to be back in the water--and I love having dive trips to plan. My favorite dive buddy (my youngest child) is a freshman in college, so we can't dive together until her 2017 spring break, but I plan on going somewhere warm and wonderful. :D

  • TTfan
    TTfan Member Posts: 162
    edited January 2017
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    So good to see this thread even if its not overly active! I'm a 60 year old with a lifelong passion for marine life - I have 4 tanks in my home including a reef tank I've had going in one form or another since the mid 1980s, and actively reproduce and trade corals with other reefers so we stop taking from our oceans. All that said, I have been terrified of diving. But as someone earlier in the thread said, BC makes you brave, and I'm in the midst of my PADI online course and will certify in Maui next month. I am so excited and scared at the same time but very determined. I actually chickened out a few months ago after scheduling in Maui, but I attribute that to depression/anxiety from Tamoxifen which is now being treated and I'm back to myself again. Glad to hear all the positive news about the safety of diving while taking Tamoxifen and likely low risk for causing any LE. Wish me courage!

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited January 2017
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    TTfan, no need to be terrified! You will love it! Maui is a great place to learn. Check back in and let us know how it goes...

    Octogirl

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,076
    edited January 2017
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    TTfan - I second that thought. Of course be careful lifting with your left arm, but have a Wonderful time. Amazing that you breed & trade corals. What a neat thing to do.

  • Nash54
    Nash54 Member Posts: 699
    edited January 2017
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    TTfan...how awesome!!!!

  • JenPam
    JenPam Member Posts: 163
    edited February 2017
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    How wonderful--enjoy!!

  • Mishi
    Mishi Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2017
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    Going to Palau in April-first dive trip since diagnosis/treatment. Nervous but also very excited-it is a life long dream to dive there. Great to hear so many positive experiences. It will be good to be blowing bubbles at the fish again.

  • jinmo
    jinmo Member Posts: 55
    edited February 2017
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    Just saying hi on this thread, glad to see fellow scuba divers. I have actually been out of the water for almost 10 years now, but my husband and I both used to teach diving in Florida. I love to hear that so many BC women are still diving, and hope that a dive trip will be in our future when finances allow.

    Mishi, please come back and tell us about Palau. We went 12 years ago or so and it was amazing. I'm sure you know this but make sure you have a whistle and a safety sausage, it is pretty serious drift diving and on my last dive we surfaced far far from the boat and really needed that sausage to be found. Got caught in a weird current I guess. There was also one dive there where the divemasters actually had us anchor onto the rocky areas with carabiners and lines and "fly" in the current. Seems weird in terms of not touching the reef but that was what they told us to do. Have fun!

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
    edited July 2017
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    Just wanted to bump up the thread...just got back from a month in Papua New Guinea where I dove a fair amount, and snorkeled when I wasn't diving. Loved PNG, would love to go back. Incredible biodiversity, lots of fish, interesting muck dives and beautiful coral! The diving was fairly easy but my wrecked knees made getting back into boats (climbing up ladders) a bit of a challenge. Letrozole is partially to blame but the arthritis was there before I started it, and I am planning to get both knees replaced this year so I can head back out...

    Has anyone else been on any diving trips lately?

    Octogirl