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

Blog11 Mar 2015 08:21 pm

The b-side video to Reversal, When a Therapist Becomes A Patient

Blog and PT shop talk and speaking02 Mar 2015 09:58 pm

mpta logoI’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…

Blog and rehab06 Feb 2015 09:56 pm

gogo elite traveller plusThe 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…


Blog05 Feb 2015 03:44 pm

Did you know I was in a boyband in the 90s… “Something Special”  :P

Check out these other gems.

Blog and speaking30 Jan 2015 12:18 am


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.


housekeeping and PT shop talk and Random blog and reviews22 Dec 2014 08:10 am

One of the 1st videos…

2014 asia and Blog15 Nov 2014 03:25 pm

First night in Singapore: SATURDAY, 8 NOV, 2014

DAY 1, SUNDAY, 9 NOV, 2014

Exploring with Ashley: Pictures

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



This is how I killed time at the airport in Korea

First Day back in San Diego, CA USA: FRIDAY, 14 NOV, 2014

Check out Ashley’s blogs

Check out Marjeri’s blogs

2014 asia and Blog07 Nov 2014 12:41 pm

2014 asia and Blog and housekeeping06 Nov 2014 05:41 am


Hee hee hee… had a very interesting night. I unexpectedly ventured of base with a bunch of military PTs to grab some authentic Korean food. I went downstairs to the lobby in jeans, a polo shirt, and some Flip Flops. I assumed that we were eating in the hotel.  I was surprised to see everyone bundled up and ready to go!  San Diego weather has spoiled me.  I wasn’t thinking we were staying on base so I left my base access pass in the hotel room.  Well, I didn’t realize this until we were off the base in the streets of Seoul!  D’oh!  We figured we’ll deal with that when the we have to get back in! Well anyways, we ended up going to an authentic Korean Restaurant, Jeong Gam Eo Rin. In college, I was introduced to Korean food and eventually learned to love kimchee.  It was a Korean BBQ, so we had the kalbi.  The kalbi, kimchee, and this cold noodle soup was awesome!  I’d never had the cold soup before.  It was actually chilled and surprisingly refreshing.   It was great hanging out with other PTs.  The conversations are uniquely “PT”.  It has been a while since I’ve been around other PTs since I’m typically around the tumor/cancer survivor/advocacy population!   Dinner was great!

Well, we still had to deal with the fact that I didn’t have my base access pass with me.  Re-entering the base might be problematic.  Luckily, there were a couple Korean speaking therapists with us that were able to help us get back on the base. Took a while and a bunch of phone calls were made, but we finally made it back!  Whew… Anyways, another great meal in Korea!  One more day at the conference.  Tomorrow I check out and I leave for Singapore on Sat. I will be exploring the base Friday afternoon and check out the military PT clinic. Anyways, it is a 7 hour flight on Korean Air.  The zipper on my luggage broke, so I’m going to have to get some new luggage.  I expect some difficulty checking in/boarding the plane with the “mAss Kicker Mobile” in both Korea and Singapore.  Stay tuned!

2014 asia and Blog05 Nov 2014 03:37 am

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