CARLSBAD 5000 2007
A brain tumor is not necessarily a "death sentence".
However, it is a life changing occurrence!
Welcome to "They Call Me 'Galvez'". My friends really do. I can be friends with almost anybody! I'm just a regular guy that had a brain tumor and wants to do something positive with it. This web site is dedicated to my unique journey over the last year. I'm a 31 year old physical therapist in beautiful San Diego, California. I was diagnosed with a golf-ball sized brain tumor in September 2005. I had brain surgery a month later to remove it. It took me almost 1 year to fully recover. I've always believed that things happen for a reason. I really feel like all my life experiences helped me to deal with this crushing diagnosis. I have led a very interesting life thus far, but I still have a lot of things I need to do. After the surgery, I was receiving rehab at the hospital where I used to work. The people I used to work side by side with were now treating me as a patient! Please take your time browsing this site to learn more about my wild ride through this unique experience. If you’re a student or brain tumor patient, drop me a line; I'd love to hear from you
A team of health care professionals works closely to provide cancer rehabilitation. The team members help a person adapt to his or her situation, whether the changes are temporary or permanent. These professionals may include any of the following:
Oncologist. This doctor treats cancer, and may be responsible for leading the cancer rehabilitation team.
Physiatrist, also called a rehabilitation specialist. This doctor treats injuries and illnesses that affect how people move, including treating pain.
Rehabilitation nurse. A rehabilitation nurse helps people with a long-term illness, disability, or injury regain physical abilities. They can also help improve a person’s ability to care for himself or herself and adjust to a changed lifestyle. A rehabilitation nurse can also provide education and counseling to patients and families.
Physical therapist. This health care professional helps patients improve their physical strength and ability to move. This is especially important for people who notice physical changes after cancer treatment that affect how they move. People experiencing the following challenges can benefit from physical therapy.
Physical therapists may also help with some types of pain with treatments such as ultrasound.
Occupational therapist. This professional helps patients perform the activities important to them with methods and tools to increase function, comfort, and safety. Occupational therapists design a tailored therapy plan based on the layout of a person’s home, school, or work place. They can also help manage fatigue by teaching methods to help reduce the effort needed to do certain tasks.
Lymphedema therapist. Lymphedema is a buildup of fluid from damage to lymph nodes during cancer treatment. A certified lymphedema therapist can help manage this condition with compression garments, specialized massage and bandaging methods, and exercises.
Recreational therapist. This professional uses games, exercise, arts, crafts, and music to help a person with cancer reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. These activities can also help people build confidence and strengthen personal skills.
Dietitian. This food and nutrition professional helps people with cancer understand their special needs. A dietitian can recommend diets or meal plans. Dietitians may also monitor the body weight and dietary needs of a person with cancer.
Psychologist/psychiatrist. These and other mental health professionals address the emotional, psychological, and behavioral needs of the person with cancer and those of his or her family. Such needs may be longstanding or may have resulted from the challenges of cancer and its treatment. These mental health professionals can help patients cope with their experience and the changes in their lives.
Social worker. This professional provides a variety of services, which may include:
Learn how a social worker can help.
Home-health aide. This person helps with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and moving around the home. Some home health aides receive training to provide more complex services under the supervision of a nurse. Find out more about home health care.
Vocational counselor. This professional helps people recovering from cancer find and keep a satisfying job. This is an important service for those who may no longer be able to return to their previous position because of physical or emotional changes.
Clergy member or chaplain. This professional offers spiritual support and rituals for patients and their families, leads support groups, and offers support in health crisis situations. Most hospitals have clergy who work with people of all faiths. However, some people choose to work with their own clergy member.
Case manager. This professional helps design and monitor the cancer rehabilitation program. Case managers often act as the link between the person with cancer, the cancer rehabilitation team, and the insurance provider.
Speech-language pathologist (SLP). This professional specializes in communication and swallowing disorders. An SLP helps patients regain their speaking, swallowing, and oral motor skills after cancer treatment that affects the head, mouth, and neck.
The b-side video to Reversal, When a Therapist Becomes A Patient
I’m finding less time to blog, so my entries are getting less frequent. I’m gearing up for a trip home to Michigan at the end of the month on top of that, I’m trying to setup the next international speaking engagement. I’ve been invited to speak at the Michigan Physical Therapy Association Student Conclave and the Michigan Physical Therapy Association Spring Conference in Bay City Michigan at the end of the month. I always look forward to coming back and reconnecting with old friends and family! Growing up, I always felt different from everyone because I was ALWAYS the smallest and most shy kid in the room. Sports brought me out of my shell. I finally met more people similar to me in college. I got involved in the Asian American and Filipino American student groups because I felt like I had to get involved and spread my new-found pride about my heritage. I’ll admit that I probably had too much fun in college, but it really helped to form who I am today. I learned so much outside of the classroom at the University of Michigan!
I then moved to LA to go to school full time and improve my GPA before applying to grad schools. After a year in California, I moved back to Michigan to start physical therapy school at U of M-Flint. Before I left for LA, I applied to the U of M-Flint Physical Therapy Program since I still had my Michigan residency. I graduated from Physical Therapy school with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in December 2003. I woke up one morning and decided I should move to San Diego. So I did. I’ve done the Michigan-California drive five times, three times with a companion and twice by myself. I knew 2 people in San Diego when I moved. I made some good friends in San Diego, but in the back of my mind I still missed everything and everyone I left behind in Michigan. This is when things got interesting!
Surprisingly, I’m finding that I don’t mind public speaking. I’m very comfortable talking about my experience as a healthcare professional turned neuro rehab patient/brain tumor survivor. In the beginning, I couldn’t get through the presentation with out getting emotional. Over time, I’ve learned how to get through the “tough part” of the presentation. Making people laugh has made it easier for me to talk about my experiences. I have now spoken all over the country and am starting to speak more internationally. Coming back to Michigan is always special because it toughens me up every time. My family and friends have no problem reminding me who I am so they keep me grounded. They have no problem calling me out on my “laziness” and refocusing me on what I should be doing! My family and close friends in Michigan ALWAYS “keep it real” with me, which I find refreshing. I know that they can dish it out and won’t be easily offended when I “return fire.” This should be a very interesting return trip to Michigan.
I got some more cool stuff in the works… stay tuned…
The mAss Kicker Mobile II is dead. I need a new ride ASAP because being cooped up at home is driving me crazy! This is day 5 . I was supposed to go to the APTA, CSM Meeting in Indianapolis on Wed, but it just would have been too hard getting around! I’ve tried going out and using a manual wheel chair but failed. My coordination problems make propelling the chair both time consuming and energy consuming. I’ve realized that balance and coordination are both easily overlooked when you have no problems. Simple activities that are reflexive and require no thought now require so much concentration and planning. I move at an extremely slow pace because I have to think about the sequencing. I have become reliant on the mAss Kicker Mobile to get around without assistance. It is more efficient, but I am realizing that I’ve been neglecting my own personal rehab/progress. My mobility and energy limitations force me to find alternative ways to get what I need! For example: I am relying on public transportation to get around. I also found a grocery store that delivers groceries. Weird. Cool though. Still figuring things out! The mAss Kicker Mobile III is ordered and should be delivered next week. In the mean time, I have to rely on my crutches or old manual wheelchair to get around. Using those mobility devices = “a really slow or tired Galvez.” When I was in PT school, mobility scooters were “frowned upon” because they don’t promote activity. I am fully aware of that risk, so I stay physically active. However, I’m not sure I’m doing enough in terms of my personal rehabilitation to address my physical impairments. My friends always harp on me for this!
The mAss Kicker Mobile has literally opened up a world options. It has also become a part of me that tends to grab a lot of attention. At first it bothered me because it represented all of my impairments, but over time I’ve learned to accept it. Anyways, being “cooped up” gives me more time to think/ plan stuff. hee hee hee… Got some stuff in the works, stay tuned…
Did you know I was in a boyband in the 90s… “Something Special”
Check out these other gems.
Earlier this week I was invited to speak and help out at a neurology lab at Loma Linda University Physical Therapy Program. Last year, I went up to Loma Linda to do the same thing. I really enjoy working with students because they keep me on my toes! I always make sure I give them my “feedback” on their techniques as well. I remember having a hard time as a student simulating neurologic patient deficits with my classmates to practice assessment techniques on each other. How were we supposed to simulate being neurology patients when we had very little exposure to people with neurologic deficits? I gladly agreed to assist the students practice their skills. I figured that I can use my experiences (and physical impairments) to help healthcare students learn how to manage a neurology patient. Physical therapy students in particular need hands on experience to practice their skills or at least familiarize themselves. I’ve done similar lectures and laboratory sessions at PT schools all around the country. It is great because I feel very comfortable speaking to students and sharing my knowledge with them. It is so cool seeing “the light click on” when teaching somebody something! (plus I enjoy “challenging” them… hee hee hee)
Next month, I’m going to be a keynote speaker at the 2015 Michigan Student Conclave and the 2015 Michigan Physical Therapy Association Spring Conference. Later this year, I’m helping out at a lab and lecture at San Diego State University Physical Therapy program, and lecturing at Concorde College Physical Therapy Assistant program.
One of the 1st videos…
First night in Singapore: SATURDAY, 8 NOV, 2014
DAY 1, SUNDAY, 9 NOV, 2014
DAY 2, MONDAY, 10 NOV, 2014
DAY 3, TUESDAY, 11 NOV, 2014
NIGHT SAFARI my photos didn’t turn out so well from the night safari. Check out some pictures from Little India
DAY 4, WEDNESDAY, 12 NOV 2014
A DAY OF TRAVEL! THURSDAY, 13 NOV, 2014
First Day back in San Diego, CA USA: FRIDAY, 14 NOV, 2014