rehab


Blog and rehab12 Apr 2016 05:09 pm

There is a connection… I’m starting to do research on Public Health!

Public health refers to “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.”[1] It is concerned with threats to health based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people, or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic).

The focus of public health intervention is to improve health and quality of life through prevention and treatment of disease and other physical and mental health conditions. This is done through surveillance of cases and health indicators, and through promotion of healthy behaviors.

Does post-treatment exercise/physical activity lead to post treatment “thrivership”?  I’ve personally seen so many examples of this in my survivor buddies!  Public education (Sesame Street), Post-treatment thrivership, exercise/physical activity, Dissemination (Usher’s musical skills) are connected… HAHAHA! Yes, I have a “unique” way of looking at things…  I’m teaming up with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults on a session at CancerCon to promote the benefits of exercise/physical activity for survivors.  Should be a great session…

 

Blog and rehab07 Feb 2016 01:31 pm

patient-enduranceI’m shifting my focus this year.  Most of the physical activity/exercise that I’ve done to this point has been based on a return to function or modifying things to adapt to my physical impairments.  One of the things that has been neglected is my fitness level.  I still ride my exercise bike and use my pull-up bar daily, but I’m noticing that I’ve been stuck in a rut.  It is now time to shake things up!  After my first few sessions at CrossFit 858 Mission Gorge,  I’ve definitely noticed that I’m not “fit.”  I’m not overweight, but my physical capacity is definitely impaired. My body has adapted to short bursts of power, but not SUSTAINED power.  Ever since I started physical rehab, the focus has been on the return of function, not general fitness.  I stopped going to formal physical rehab sessions once I accomplished my rehab goals for “modified independent functional mobility” with an assistive device .  Now I have to establish “fitness goals.”  I definitely realized that I have difficulty doing any open chain movements and I fatigue easily.  I can’t complete a full circuit without completely fatiguing my muscles.  I start out strong, but my the end of the third set, I couldn’t even complete a full movement!  This will be addressed. Functional mobility is essential to rehabilitation, but very rarely are the next steps addressed mainly because patients are left to figure this out on their own… The Challenge Center  does a great job addressing this.  They have an exercise groups for patients after they are done with rehab which are moderated by athletic trainers.  After I was done at the Challenge Center, I still wanted to address physical fitness/athletic endeavors. I’ve found that CrossFit has the potential to address the athletic intensity in me.  I have enjoyed working with Coach Mark Lin because we are challenging muscle groups that haven’t been used in a while.  He has no problem pushing me.  I was very upfront with my physical impairments and he has thought of creative ways for me to do different exercises.  I still wear my “physical therapy hat” whenever trying something new…  Things will get interesting the next few months.  I’m looking to combine tumor/cancer survivorship, physical rehab, and physical fitness (post treatment thrivership)… Let’s BUST A MOVE and get busy sweating!  Stay Tuned…

Blog and rehab26 Oct 2015 02:21 pm

2015 eric rebirthdaySunday was the 10 year anniversary of the brain tumor surgery that changed my life forever.   I wanted to celebrate, but honestly I felt like I was in a “funk.”  Maybe it was PTSD or a bout of “Survivor’s Guilt” because I finally had some time to sit down and reflect on things.  In the past 10 years, I’ve gone from young physical therapist to rehab patient to author to survivor advocate to nonprofit professional.   It has been a crazy ride!  I’ve met so many great people, but at the same time I’ve LOST so many good friends to tumors/cancer.  It doesn’t get any easier losing people.  I’ve noticed that many other advocates do not have as hard a time dealing with this.  I wonder how they do it.  Memories of the friends we’ve lost live on, but at the same time I always lament the potential new memories that we could have shared.  I have always had a hard time saying goodbye. I have gotten close to a number of survivors because we have so much in common. It has always been easy for me to form these bonds.

As a physical therapist, I always referred patients to other people/professionals if I couldn’t help them.  Often, I would never hear from them again.  However in cancer advocacy/ social media, we often get updates on how survivors are doing.  Of course, I like hearing the good news or seeing the funny things my friends share on social media.  However, whenever I hear of a friend passing or struggling… it always hits me hard.  It inspires me to work harder, but at the same time it hurts.  I didn’t think that it would hurt this much, but it always makes me sad thinking that I put my family and friends through a similar situation.  I naturally get close to people all the time because I like to joke around with them and always try to listen/learn something new from people.

Maybe this “funk” is “Survivor Guilt” because part of me still feels very lucky to be able to do the things I do.  I do realize that my situation could have been much worse.  Based in the location of the tumor, I could have woken up from surgery on a permanent mechanical ventilator or even stuck in a “vegetative state.”   I feel that my prior and current physical activity level may have aided in my recovery, but I am still very curious about HOW I am able to do so much after major brain surgery.  Thank goodness my cognition wasn’t impaired so I can discover how I was able to do this!  I think that exercise/physical activity made my recovery more efficient, by perhaps increasing blood/lymphatic circulation or somehow exercise makes the neurons more efficient.  Everything I’m doing now is to honor those of us that had to deal with a tumor/cancer diagnosis AND make things easier for future tumor/cancer patients.  I support early detection/prevention, but there is still a very large need for resources for newly diagnosed patients and ALL those who are affected by a tumor/cancer diagnosis.  My “funk” is temporary, but I’ve learned to use it to fuel my activities.  I’m truly sorry for scaring my family and friends 10 years ago.  I can’t even imagine what you went through… Thanks for having my back all these years, I’ll make you proud…

Please support my quest to teach the world “How to Kick mAss” next year.

More exciting things are in the works!   STAY TUNED!

Blog and rehab24 Oct 2015 07:56 am

9781450224284_COVER.inddThese are my thoughts before major brain surgery 10 years ago.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Looks like the incision is going to be bigger than I initially thought it was going to be… All the way around my ear. I’m told that the hair will grow back, but maybe I’ll just keep it shaved all the time now. Yesterday morning I threw up twice. I couldn’t keep anything down. Luckily, I had another appointment with the neurosurgeon that afternoon. He took me off of prednisone and is starting me on dexamethasone, another steroid. I’ve heard some nasty stuff about the side effects. I’m gonna try to stay off the medication as much as I can. But sometimes I really need it.

In case you are wondering what I’m going though, imagine the worst hangover you’ve ever had… the unsteadiness, the feeling of nausea, and the headache… add a little numbness on your left cheek and tongue and there you have it. Now grant it, I’m not like this all the time, but there are some mornings when the only reason I get out of bed is to rush to the bathroom to throw up. The steroids help immensely, but on the days I’m off of them… yuck. Not pleasant to be around… I have a hard time walking a straight line, but I can do it if I go really slow. Everything moves really slow, not like elderly person slow, but definitely slower than normal. Now would be a good time to race me if you want to win.

I’ve kinda shifted my focus from movies to reading. Currently on: Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not about the Bike, Harry Potter The Half Blood Prince, and the Essence of Swiss Ball Training. Definitely not bored anymore. Thank God I’m not bored. I almost watched the Olivia Newton John roller skating epic Xanadu earlier this week! Damn! That definitely has to be my lowest point. When I realized what I was watching, I was like “OK, I need to put an end to this downward spiral!” You can only watch so much TV and that was my breaking point. I also found out I suck at video games. In Halo I keep running into walls, in Madden I can’t pass or play defense, in racing I can’t take turns without hitting the wall… I wasted too much time the past few years “playing” outside or going to the gym so I’m a little behind in my gaming skills…

As for my mental state… honestly I think right now I’m more worried about the Foley catheter. You would be, too, if you knew where it goes and how it gets there. (It’s basically a tube they stick in your penis that runs to all the way up to your bladder to help with urine excretion.) I’ve been told that I’ll probably be out when they put it in, but I’ll wake up with it in me and I’ll be awake when they take it out… that’s gonna hurt =(

Dude, I’m gonna be buck naked in front of bunch of people. I don’t know how I feel about that! I don’t like being naked in front of myself, let alone 10-15 strangers! Hopefully I’ll at least get some cute nurses to take care of me… My OR time is from 7:30 to 3:30… Jeez, that’s got to be enough time to get everything! It seems like a long time to me. I wonder if they take coffee breaks or lunch breaks.

Anyways the reality of brain surgery is finally sinking in. I’ve had 2 pre-op appointments this week. I guess there is a serious chance that I might lose the hearing in my left ear. Apparently they will cut into the Mastoid and Temporal bones. They are trying to avoid the semi-circular canals if possible, but if they can’t access the whole tumor they will need to go through the semicircular canals to get everything. If that happens, there is a 99% chance I lose the hearing in the left ear and I will definitely have more problems with dizziness for a few more months.

Kinda sucks that the initial problem that I was having could be a side effect for the treatment of the tumor. Well, at least I have another ear and I won’t be completely deaf. Whoa. This is real, no more talk… this is gonna happen! So on Saturday, I’m going to SeaWorld to take my mind off of things. Sunday will be another day of football. Monday will be my quiet prep day. I guarantee I’ll feel like shit DOS (day of surgery), but Wed POD 1(post-op day 1) I should be able to take visitors. Probably not for too long but it will be nice to have visitors. By Thursday I should be much better and able to tolerate more. No crazy bar hopping or anything, but maybe a friendly game of “Cranium.”.. har har har.

 

Monday, October 24, 2005

Looks like I’ll get admitted tonight. Just got a call from the hospital. Was supposed to go in at 5AM tomorrow. Slight curveball. I know a lot of you wish you could be here with me. I’ll strike a deal. This is the playlist I’ll be listening to tonight on my iPod. Just play one of the songs and you’re there with me.

Lose Yourself -Eminem
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
It’s So Easy – Guns N Roses
Breakout – Foo Fighters
Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Jesus Walks – Kanye West
Ready or Not –The Fugees
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
A Little Respect – Erasure (don’t laugh)
The Promise – When in Rome
Only You – Yaz ( I like these song OK!)
Don’t Stop Believing – JOURNEY!
Blaze of Glory – Bon Jovi
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – EUROPE!

See what happens next… pick up the kindle edition of Reversal:  When a Therapist Becomes A Patient… Only $9.99 AND 100% of royalties go to mAss Kickers Foundation.

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…

 

Blog and movies and rehab17 Jul 2014 09:30 am


moviesEarlier this week, a good friend from PT school called me out!  It was exactly what I needed to hear. The past few months I have been extremely busy doing MKF stuff that I’ve been neglecting my own personal rehab.  It totally put my priorities in perspective.  Somehow, he talked me into catching a movie after dinner.  I did not anticipate this because I used only my crutches going to the restaurant.  This would mean having to use the crutches to go to the theater in the mall!  I hadn’t tried this before because after prolonged sitting my legs stiffen up and walking becomes difficult.  After a few taunts, I decided to give it a shot.  This was going to be interesting because there were time constraints with walking to the theater (we had 20 minutes to catch the beginning of the movie.)  What I didn’t realize was that there were ~20 minutes of movie previews before the movie started.  I had plenty of time to use the crutches to walk to the theater in the mall, walk to the bathroom in the theater, and walk back to our seats before the movie started!  I was pleasantly surprised!

130103_Challenged-Athletes-Foundation-CAF-logoI had to test this out again.  Last night I went to a Challenged Athletes Foundation fundraiser in Ocean Beach sponsored by students in the San Diego State University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.  I really wanted to go because:

  1. I worked with many of these students in a neuro lab last semester so I wanted to congratulate them and wish them luck entering their clinical affiliations
  2. I got to know a few of them at the Charity Kickball Tournament
  3. I wanted to meet some people from the Challenged Athletes Foundation

I decided to try attending the event with only the crutches because I was surprised at how well I maneuvered after prolonged sitting at the movies.  I took an uber car down to Ocean Beach.  I hadn’t been there in years by myself.  I do recall going to a couple bars out there when I first moved to San Diego as a young single healthcare professional.  It was a strange feeling going back there knowing that the last time I was out there the circumstances were completely different!  This event was for the students to celebrate, so I didn’t want to intrude on their celebration for too long. My old friend Rosalia is now a professor at SDSU so luckily she was able to give me a ride home early.  Hee hee hee… wow, how things change.

I’ve def got a new FIRE to push myself, but instead of just randomly trying things that I want to do, planning and preparation will be the key to success!  The 2014 Paintball Event is coming up and Comic Con is next week so some exciting stuff is coming up!  Stay tuned!

Blog and PT shop talk and rehab and reviews22 Feb 2014 12:31 am

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak at San Diego State University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.  I’ve spoken at different Physical Therapy programs all over the United States over the past few years, but this one felt different.  The program at SDSU is only 4 trolley stops away so I have a feeling that I will be visiting there more often.  I lectured at a neurology class for 2nd year students.  Last semester I helped out there at a neurology evaluation lab.  Last month I went up to Loma Linda University to help out with a lab.  I really enjoyed helping out at the lab because I felt like I was giving back to the profession that has served as the foundation for the MKF concept of post treatment “thrivership.”  I wanted to show the students that we don’t just “have a tumor/cancer”, we are “LIVING with a tumor/cancer.”  I think that message can resonate with many groups.  You educate the students that tumors/cancer are not always a death sentence, and that they can educate their patients that people can live productive lives after being diagnosed with these diseases.

Earlier this month I was in Las Vegas for the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting. This is is a big conference where PTs/PTAs/students have the opportunity to learn the latest news and clinical techniques in the profession.  I always enjoyed meeting other therapists and vendors at these conferences.  The past few years, I have been attending the Oncology Section programming.  I was formally introduced to the benefits of a post treatment physical rehab program for tumor/cancer patients.  After I did my radiation treatments, I tried to keep physically active because I needed to stay active to keep my sanity.  I now have “Peer-reviewed” evidence that confirms the benefits of a physically active lifestyle for general health benefits after treatment.  In my humble opinion, when done safely, under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, the benefits of physical activity (PA) after treatment are too great to ignore!  I have seen many survivors fall into “self-defeating ruts” after treatment.  There are so many benefits to physical activity!

I truly believe that post-treatment exercise programs need to be formed to harness the benefits of physical activity.  Dr. Steven W. Morris at St. Jude’s Pediatric Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee has presented numerous in-services/seminars addressing the benefits of physical activity for post-treatment cancer patients.  I was lucky enough to present his findings at a young adult survivor event in San Francisco a couple years ago!  I think young adult survivors turned “post treatment thrivers” are in a prime position to become the leaders in the promotion of a physically active lifestyle after treatment!  We are the ones with all the potential and the loudest voices.  Throughout history, revolutions are propagated by young people who realized there needed to be some sort of change.  This is a prime opportunity for Generation X and Generation Y to create our legacy!  The change in society starts on an individual level before it can catch fire.  If we truly commit to a healthier lifestyle, we should see changes in the prevalence of these diseases!  The trick is getting the under represented populations to follow suit.

Blog and rehab and reviews26 Jan 2013 10:45 am

The American Physical Therapy Association had their annual Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in San Diego this past week.  This year was of particular interest because the programming in the Oncology Section really hit home for me.  I got to attend a session on pediatric brain tumors.  It made realize how lucky I am with the location of my tumor.  Things really could have been a lot worse. I feel very blessed to be as high functioning as I am.  We reviewed the function of the both the brain stem and cerebellum
Those are two very important structures in the brain.  There could have been many other complication from the surgery that could have left me on a ventilator or even unable to stand. I also learned about posterior fossa syndrome.  VERY Intimidating stuff.   This is rare in adults, but I have a tendency to ignore the statistics both negatively and positively.  I was “blessed” a tumor that is most commen in women in their 60s and 70s… I’ve stopped wondering “why” a long time ago.  I’ve always been different, but I’ve learned to embrace it.  I have learned its actually kind of fun being different if you find people who want to be different with you!  I learned this early on in high school because my friends didn’t care if we were part of the “cool” crowd.  We just made each other crack up!  In college, I finally embraced my Filipino American and Asian American heritage and learned to be proud of what I am.  Physical Therapy school prepared me for all the physical impairments I was left with after surgery.
I always enjoy going to CSM because it reminds me that I’m still a physical therapist at heart.  I always come back from CSM with a renewed sense of purpose.  I still believe that physical therapists can be prime players in post tumor/cancer treatment.  No other health discipline has taken ownership of post treatment survivorship health/wellness issues.  I can see post-treatment physical activity rehab programs being created at cancer centers similar to cardiac rehab the hospitals.  Post tumor/cancer treatment “Thrivership” is not only nessassary, but can redefine a lifestyle for a patient and their loved ones.
“Thrivership” refers to a healthy lifestyle post treatment:
  1. being physically active,
  2. eating/drinking healthier,
  3. a positive mental attitude,
  4. exercising your brain, and
  5. becoming a leader in the war on ALL FORMS OF TUMORS/CANCER,
Many people fight for their lives to become a tumor/cancer “survivor”.  I believe that the potential is great for ALL tumor/cancer survivors to become tumor/cancer “thrivers”.  Ultimately, it will the “Thrivers” who will become the leaders in the war on tumors/cancer.