One of the 1st videos…
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
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
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!
Dragon Hill Lodge -38th Parallel Healthcare Symposium Day 1
I left for Korea at 3:30AM on 10/29 and I got into Seoul at 3 PM on 10/30. It was a long flight with a 2 hour layover in Seattle. I haven’t been to Seattle before, so it was exciting to be somewhere new. I had a 2 hour layover there, so I had some time to do more exploring! Here are photos from my layover. Got to watch 3 movies on the flight. I still cannot sleep on planes. I shut my eyes, but I cannot sleep no matter how tired I am. I was surprised that 3 seats next to me were empty on the 11 hour flight from Seattle to Seoul!! It was great! When I finally got to Seoul, I was totally out of my element. I had no idea where I was going! Going through customs to in Singapore will be exciting because I am flying on Korea Air, so I’m not exactly sure how I will communicate with the people there… Being disabled and unable to speak the language will be huge barriers! I could already tell that some people were already uncomfortable with me. Lots of confused looks. I’m not sure if it was the language barrier or the fact that I was a person with a disability traveling by myself. The stigma of disability is very strong in Asia! I recall that the only people I see in wheel chairs are older patients with family members with them. I have yet to meet a younger person with physical disabilties on my travel. Trish the stewardess from Delta was so helpful after I deplaned! I recall that last year traveling to Honolulu, Tokyo, and Manila finding the elevators in airports were difficult due to placement of the signage and the language barrier. Will def have to study the Airport Maps when I get to Singapore before deplaning. Luckily Trish and some of the other members of the Delta flight crew waited for me on the other side of customs and walked with down with me to baggage claim. I would have been totally lost! My friends Leah and Jorge were there to pick me up in by the baggage claim that was so helpful. I already anticipate an issue trying to find a cab or shuttle from the airport in Singapore to the Hotel. Going through customs in Singapore from Korea will be very interesting! Today is a day of rest and exploration. I’m still trying to adjust to the time difference! Tonight I’m going to a Halloween party in Seoul! Should be fun! Seoul is very hilly, so I anticipate lots of difficulties with the mAss Kicker mobile. Maybe next time, I bring my manual chair… stay tuned… tonight is halloween in Seoul…
The last few weeks have been crazy. I’m doing a lot of new things A few weeks ago, I took the train up to Los Angeles to attend a UCLA Brain Tumor Research event, 15th Anniversary 2014 “Art of the Brain” Gala. I actually enjoy taking the train to LA because it’s relaxing and you don’t have to worry about traffic. The seats are comfortable and it’s a relatively stress free trip! I don’t know why people don’t take the train more often. As someone who doesn’t like sitting in traffic, the train is a great alternative to the stress associated with traffic and the cost of gas in California! When I got to LA I decided to go on another adventure there! Public transportation. I’m becoming familiar with it in San Diego, but Los Angeles is a whole different beast. I took the bus to UCLA, which was fine with me because I had time to kill before the event! It was like a tour of my old stomping ground when I briefly lived in Los Angeles after undergrad. The bus passed through: Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywoood, and finally Westwood. When I finally got to the event, I met up with a friend, changed out of my t-shirt and jeans, then scooted around to expore the event venue. I was very impressed with the turnout and amount of donors/vendors associated with the one night event. The event showcased some photographs and paintings created by brain tumors survivors, and a had pretty cool musical performance. There was a really unique string instrument there that stretched from the floor to the ceiling! Very unique and pretty cool. It was the first formal Gala that I have ever attended. There were so many people there… It was ~$300 a plate with so many event sponsors! The highlight of the night for me was meeting more brain tumor survivors. These people understand what it like to live with the after effects of a brain tumor. There is an automatic kinship that is formed immediately when meeting people who “understand”. Traumatic experiences have a tendency to bring people together. I have noticed that the “kinship” among survivors is very powerful. After going through so much alone, it is extremely comforting to connect with people who understand! I felt to same bond when I want up to LA for my first brain tumor event in Hollywood. My buddy let me crash on his couch after the event and took me to the train station the next morning. It was quite a fun trip!
At the beginning of October, mAss Kickers Foundation hosted the annual Celebration of Life ceremony to honor the people that helped us get through everything: our family, our friends, and our fellow survivors. We honored those special people with toasts given by survivors. Here are the videos from the past three years!
The event is literally a Celebration of Life organized and run by survivors. We have met so many cool people at the event. It is a potluck so everyone that attends feels invested in the celebration! We just figured that THE PEOPLE THAT WERE THERE FOR US DESERVE RECOGNITION!
Last week I had the opportunity to go the San Diego, ACS CAN RESEARCH BREAKFAST at Scripps Memorial Hospital. I was attracted to this event because it highlights the promotion of science and research in the fight against tumors/cancer. One of the reasons I did not get involved with the American Cancer Society was because I felt that a lot of their energy was spent on fund raising events. I was very happy to see their commitment to research and advocacy. I’m very attracted to the research side in the fight against ALL forms of tumors/cancer. I do have some knowledge of the research process. I do realize that I’m not qualified to do research myself, but I fully support the organizations and individuals that do.
Things are still keeping me busy. I’m going to Korea next week to speak at a US Military Rehabilitation Conference then meeting up with some American cancer survivors in Singapore to do a presentation about a proactive lifestyle after a tumor/cancer diagnosis. Stay tuned!