STORIES OF STRENGTH
“Adam was strong long before he knew he had to be strong. We trained relentlessly 3 times a week for an hour. He never missed a session no matter what was happening. He was built ready to battle and fight long before he faced his fight with cancer. He is the strongest pound for pound client I’ve ever trained. He set and broke many personal weight lifting records over several years. The most memorable of course was his 265 lb. bench press while weighing only 165 lb. at the time. He did 100 lb. pull-ups and dips with ease. This language probably will mean nothing to the average person but to me it’s something I will never forget. I try every day to make him proud by going all out on every workout I do. He’s my standard for health and fitness.”
“As Adam’s physical therapist, I watched him day after day, and month after month working hard and fighting to improve himself and stay strong during his fight with cancer. He would come in to the therapy gym and always want to push things to the next level and challenge himself to do a little more weight, a few more reps, and never settled for the easy way. His fun-loving, competitive spirit never dimmed. Despite how drastically his life had changed, I could always count on him to have the biggest smile in the room and a thumbs up when he was ready to get to work. His spirit truly inspired everyone around him to keep pushing and fighting no matter the circumstance.”
Marissa Littman, PT, DPT
“I had to pleasure to work with Adam for about 6 months. He came to my occupational therapy practice to regain some movement and function in his partially paralyzed arm. Over the years I have worked with many clients with brain cancer. Adam was different.
As cancer attacks the brain, our control center, it robs the person of motor control, language, basic bodily functions, cognition and personality.
Adam came to therapy, his body fatigued from cancer treatments and would still be able to light up the room with his radiant smile. One of our treatment sessions is so clear in my mind as if it was yesterday:
Adam came to therapy, sat down in a chair and, being my cheerful self I asked, “What’s up? What’s new and exciting?” Then, looking into his serious, determined eyes, I immediately regretted these words for I knew there was nothing new and exciting at the moment. Ashamed, I lowered my eyes for a second, not expecting an answer since Adam had not been able to talk much and his speech had become hard to understand.
As I looked back up at him, he looked me in the eyes and spoke words so clear and strong like he never had before, “The cancer is spreading.” He could probably see the anguish in my face to hear these words. All of the sudden, his demeanor switched. I saw a warrior in his face. Adam gave me his signature smile, and said, “Beast mode!”
Adam was a true fighter. He was determined to win during every therapy session we spent together. His sunny and positive attitude were contagious and motivated so many others around him to keep moving forward, to keep fighting. We started and ended every session with a fist bump and “Beast mode!”.
Even though the cancer took away a lot of his functions and changed his body, Adam’s spirit remained in charge. Adam’s personality persevered!
His strength and courage to take on the fight against brain cancer with such a cheerful attitude will never be forgotten. He not only was, he is a fighter. Beast mode!”
Dorothee Zuleger, MOT, OTR/L, DRS | Occupational therapist/Owner | The Neuro Hub
“I am always amazed by the strength and courage of my patients. They stand up to an incoming wave of tests and difficulties while staying upright and fearless. Adam Rosen exemplifies these traits and proves that the human spirit can overcome any obstacle. I am a Neuro-Oncologist at UF Health and I had the honor of being a part of Adam’s treatment team. Adam was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma which is a primary brain cancer. The diagnosis of brain cancer is rare but Adam’s was unfortunately more complicated because it involved multiple lobes of the brain and based on the extent of disease on imaging is more commonly referred to as Gliomatosis cerebri. I remember sharing with Adam and his family the diagnosis immediately after his biopsy. Telling a family that their loved one has brain cancer is one of the most difficult parts of the medical profession. I scanned the room of worried faces but one person remained calm and determined to overcome anything that stood in his way, that person was Adam. I can never forget Adam clearly telling me that he was willing to do any treatment, no matter how difficult, to fight this terrible disease. Adam was able to enroll in a research study developed by Dr. Duane Mitchell which allowed him to receive vaccines developed from his own cancer cells aimed at generating an immune response against the cancer. Adam had to still undergo Radiation treatment and chemotherapy, which was a very difficult regimen to tolerate and eventually the right side of his body became very weak. In addition, his speech became affected and it was difficult for him to communicate with his friends and family. After a course of radiation and chemotherapy, he started his chemotherapy regimen with the addition of vaccines through the study. The treatment was difficult, but I would argue Adam’s greater test was his journey to re-learn how to walk and communicate with his loved ones. Through speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and aquatherapy, Adam learned to communicate with greater ease and walk without fear of falling. His success was so remarkable that we would share a laugh that his left side was much stronger than my right. Although no one could ever imagine this diagnosis happening to them, Adam handled everything in stride and with a smile. He had a positive approach to any difficulty that was in his path. The courage was all Adam, but I do believe that his strength not only came from within, but aided by his family and friends. Their unwavering support and love, allowed Adam to withstand setbacks and continue steadfast on his journey. When you are up against a rising tide, you need a reason to go through so much treatment and the associated side effects it brings. That reason, for Adam, I believe was the love of his family and friends. His mother, his father, his sister and two brothers, his girlfriend, his cousin, his close friends and the unwavering support of everyone that knew him gave him the strength to push himself beyond what we can imagine our bodies to do. Through innovative treatment and Adam’s courage and strength, he defied all odds with regards to the natural course of his disease. Tragically, the cancer became relentless and took Adam’s life, but his spirit remains in all of us. When I hear #AdamStrong, I imagine that anything is possible. When I look back at Adam’s treatments and visits, I can wholeheartedly say that his cancer did not define him. Adam was defined by his courage, his strength and the love of his friends and family. His journey will not be forgotten, but serves as a reminder as to limitless capabilities of the human spirit and why we search for a cure. I am proud to be #AdamStrong”
Ashley Ghiaseddin, MD | Neuro-Oncologist UF Health
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