housekeeping


Blog and housekeeping and mAss Kickers news23 Nov 2017 01:31 pm

I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I moved to Houston in August to go back to school in the hopes of pursuing a PhD in Public Health.  It has been quite an adventure since I’ve moved.  Just getting my stuff here was a huge ordeal!  Dealing with movers and the weather was much more expensive than I budgeted.   Hurricane Harvey flooding complicated the delivery of my things.  The move was supposed to cost me an estimated $1700, but it ended up costing $3000!  I missed the first week of classes waiting for my furniture to arrive, so I was already behind academically.  This was a very big issue because returning to school as an older student with a physical disability definitely was going to be very challenging.   The fact that my background is not in the social sciences AND the fact that the program is in “Health Promotion and BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE” definitely has made the transition more challenging.   I was prepared for the “Health Promotion” aspect of the program through my work with mAss Kickers Foundation, but not the “Behavioral Science”/ psychology aspect of the degree.  Good thing that this was caught early on.  The combination of a lengthy break from academia and a weak background in social science research led to the decision that maybe I should pursue an MPH in Behavioral Science and Health Promotion instead of struggling through a PhD program.  Will have to consult more people… The intent to pursue a degree in Public Health is still there, but maybe a PhD is not appropriate yet.  For the first time in a while, I am not able to do what I want.

The reality of the situation is frustrating, but all is not lost.  A few weeks ago, I met Lex Frieden.  He is “a chief architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act” located in Houston.  I am very excited to announce that I have the opportunity to work him next semester at the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR).  It will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about disability advocacy directly from him and apply my rehabilitation/non profit knowledge to his current work in rehabilitation research.  Most of my focus since my brain tumor diagnosis has been on oncology related issues.  I have done a few things in the disability community, so I’m very excited to learn from Dr. Frieden and get more involved in rehabilitation research.  I still am very interested in the role of physical activity/exercise in tumor/cancer survivors, but I think that physical disability and exercise/physical activity could be another factor worth studying… You can’t always get to do want you want, but you have to be resilient and be able to adapt.  Things have been challenging since I’ve been in Houston, but I’m starting to adjust…

Blog and housekeeping18 Jul 2016 05:49 pm

Finding a “new norm” was something I struggled with after brain surgery.  I’ll admit that I was “broken”.  I survived major brain surgery, but lost 90% of my hobbies and professional identity!  I used to think that when you meet someone new, you are defined by “what you do.”  For me, it was merely a way to categorize people in your memory.  After surgery, I couldn’t do much of anything.  I was searching for any identity other than “handicaped person”.  I lost the career in Physical Therapy that I worked so hard to establish and I lost the very thing that defined me… sports.  I remember wanting to go back to the Physical Therapy clinic where I used to work and “shadow” one of my colleagues because I was so bored!  Part of me didn’t want to let go of the career I was just starting.  I even renewed my California PT license and CSCS certification by taking online courses.

I felt like I was broken… kinda like Humpty Dumpty.  That feeling of hopelessness finally went away when I created the Tumors Suck group on Facebook.  I met so many people that felt the same way about brain tumors.  I quickly found that people felt the same way about ALL types of cancer, which led to the creation of mAss Kickers Foundation (mKF).  I eventually recreated myself by finding new hobbies and following new interests.  I decided to focus on what I could do, not what I couldn’t do. It has been fun figuring this out AND stay tuned because I’m still figuring it out!  Through mKF, we started meeting survivors from around the world!  We went to Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines in 2013.  In 2014, we went to Singapore, Singapore and spoke to students at the National University Singapore.  Last year, we went to Brussels, Belgium and met with Flemish survivors then spoke at the Institute Gilles Bordeaux. This year, we are planning on going to Cape Town, South Africa in the Fall!  We are planning on meeting South African survivors, and presenting “Post-treatment Thrivership” at different venues in South Africa. We could definitely use some help with this ambitious undertaking!  With a donation of at least $20 here, we’ll send you some Tumors Suck stickers and put you in a video!   Check out this link to see the videos from the past “How to Kick mAss” Programs.  Stay tuned for updates!

Blog and housekeeping10 Jan 2016 03:23 pm

crossfit_forging_elite_fitnessOn Saturday, I went to my first CrossFit session at KDA CrossFit in Miramar.  I wanted to find out why many of my friends were so involved in it!  The camaraderie I found there was very similar to high school sports.  I was a part of some very focused high school teams that were very successful in football, wrestling, and track.  The common denominator on those teams was that everyone was on the same page and knew how each individual’s goals related to the team’s goals.  In college, I found the same similarities in vastly different organizations: Lambda Phi Epsilon: develop a sense of unity among Asian Americans and attaining full national chapter status; Filipino American Student Association:  educate young Filipino-Americans about their roots and develop a sense of pride; 58 Greene a cappella: help establish the group on campus as a legitimate performance organization and explore our personal artistry.  In Physical Therapy school, that same camaraderie was formed very early on in our first year of the program together as future young professionals.  As a physical therapist, I experienced the same type of “professional” camaraderie in continuing education courses and conferences through the professional organization, the American Physical Therapy Association.  I’ve seen hints of this same type of camaraderie in the survivor world, however it is difficult to maintain because other priorities arise once a patient starts to feel better.  Anyways, I’ve re-shifted my focus to health/well-being based on the influences of my experiences:  athletics, ethnicity, creativity, physical rehabilitation, and post-oncology-treatment “thrivership”.  This time, I’m looking to explore the benefits of physical activity/exercise for tumor/cancer patients.  It took me a while to cope with my own physical limitations and establish new goals.  Establishing “functional goals” for ADLs or mobility is great, but for me it wasn’t enough.  My interests are now on personal fitness. At the CrossFit gym, I realized that it is very time consuming for me to move from exercise to exercise due to my mobility impairments.  It requires a lot of help setting up the equipment so perhaps “one-on-one” training is more appropriate. Many of my rehab colleagues cautioned me about overuse injuries.  The coaches do a great job assessing technique, but I can see how the focus can become on the completion of a certain exercise.  I’m liking what I’m seeing in the CrossFit community, but I’m still very cognizant of my functional rehab goal for improved mobility… I still have to check out a few more gyms vs personal training, but a new challenge is coming into focus this year…

Blog and housekeeping21 Nov 2015 07:06 pm

Is your team burned out and stressed out? Declare production bankruptcy. Give your employees a bailout. Pick a day that is going to be about catching up—not moving forward. It’s not a day to produce, create, or build anything. That may seem counterintuitive given the state of the economy and how challenging the business environment is, but it could be what people need to recharge their batteries. Here are 10 tips for a bailout plan for workers.

This fall was extremely packed! I got to hangout with so many cool people, but at the same time I have lost A LOT of close friends to cancer. For me, it gets harder and harder to deal with these losses because I tend to get very close to people!  I’ve talked to other leaders in cancer advocacy about this.  It supposedly gets easier to recover from the loss.  Every time we lose somebody it still hits me pretty hard!  It hasn’t gotten any easier for me.  I recently closed my personal Facebook account because Facebook is where I interact the most with people.  I think I need a break from advocacy for a little while because the loss of my friends is emotionally draining.  It’s crazy… before I got involved in advocacy, I hardly knew anyone that was sick.  Now it seems like almost everyone I meet has been affected by a tumor or cancer.  It seems like most of the stories I hear… don’t have a happy ending.  The loss of the last three friends hit me pretty hard because I had so much in common with them.   I think I just need some time away from the oncology/cancer world for a little bit to recharge and organize my thoughts/ideas…

Blog and housekeeping and mAss Kickers news16 Nov 2015 04:47 pm

1It’s funny. I thought things would be slowing down this month since I’m not traveling, but things are actually getting busier!  I’m already starting to set stuff up for next year.  There are plans to do more traveling internationally, but we need a more consistent source of revenue to take more post-treatment “thrivers” on these trips.  The purpose of these trip is to promote a proactive life after a tumor/cancer diagnosis and dispel the international stigma that a tumor/cancer diagnosis is a death sentence.  Right now, your donations are supporting MKF activities.  In order for MKF to grow, there needs to be a more formal staff to manage everything.  I’m realizing that the type of assistance MKF needs requires hiring someone!  The direction MKF is heading is WAY out of my professional expertise!  Early on my vision for MKF needed to be established and I took on much of the work/responsibility myself.  I think this is typically called “Founder’s Syndrome“.  The problem now is finding reliable people who want to make the organization grow.  Finding people with the same passion is not difficult because people generally don’t like tumors/cancer.  But when personal responsibilities start to arise, it is hard for people to make time for the organization.  Herein lies the problem, at this point in the organization’s life span, we need to hire formal staff.  The staff at this level require a salary, but funds/donations still come in inconsistently.  Getting MKF this far, took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I’m realizing now that I may not be the right person to lead MKF into the next stage of organizational growth.  We’ve been stuck in the “Adolescent/Growing phase” for quite some time.  I think I might be too “emotionally invested” in MKF.  I just want to make sure MKF is left in the right hands.  I’m getting ready to add more teammates because I’m realizing that one person alone can’t handle everything!  I’m starting to think partnerships with the right organizations will be key for MKF in the future.  Please contact me through mAssKickers.org if you are interested in formally helping with MKF.  Be prepared to share a resume/references.

housekeeping and mAss Kickers news02 Nov 2015 11:57 am

rehab10 years ago today, I left the intensive care unit after major brain surgery with a new attitude. I was a pretty happy-go-lucky guy before the surgery, but I came out the ICU more focused than ever before!  I was still recovering, but I made the decision that I wasn’t going to be defeated by a brain tumor.  I just needed to find a way to fight back!  I lost my career working as a physical therapist, the majority of my hobbies, and very briefly my confidence.  Over the past 10 years I’ve built myself back up and:

  • published articles in a number of magazines/news letters
  • published two books,
  • created a unique non-profit,
  • spoken at universities/ physical therapy programs around the United States,
  • spoken at universities in 3 continents,
  • spoken at conferences across the United States,
  • given a keynote speech at a physical therapy graduation ceremony,
  • given keynote speeches at 3 conferences,
  • promoted “post-treatment thrivership” to countless survivors and healthcare professionals around the world!
  • I have a few more things in the works… STAY TUNED!

Please support my passion to educate the WORLD ABOUT A PROACTIVE LIFE AFTER A TUMOR/CANCER DIAGNOSIS by making a secure Paypal donation to mAss Kickers Foundation. 

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

One of the 1st videos…

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!

Blog and housekeeping and mAss Kickers news14 Sep 2014 11:14 pm

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Austin, Texas to check out the Brain Power 5K race/walk created by Kelly Bollinger.  It was great because I got to reconnect with my friend, “Hawktober for Brain Tumor Awareness” founder, and fellow brain tumor survivor Matt Cotcher I was also excited to reconnect with my other friend, Runi Limary.  Another brain tumor buddy, Iram J. Leon was kind enough to host me for the weekend.  J. is a very accomplished runner and has garnered national media attention.   He has won multiple races after brain surgery and qualified for the Boston Marathon earlier this year! He picked me up from the airport on Friday and we went directly to one of my favorite restaurants in Austin so I could have some brisket tacos.  I was first introduced to brisket by a friend in San Jose, CA years ago.  When I learned about the lengthy preparation of brisket, I became a big fan of Texas BBQ!  They take their grilling very seriously in Texas!  After college, I proudly held the tittle of “Grill Master” after years of “apprenticeship” watching my dad and my housemates in college!  I was told that I have to check out more Texas BBQ places the next time to get an idea of the different types of BBQ! Later that evening our friend Chris invited us to an acrobatic-equestrian-Cirque du Soleil-type show, Gladius.  Physical displays of skill always impress me!

DSC_1541The next day J took me to an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. I was surprised that teams from all over Texas came to this tournament!  On the way back, we did a “drive by” of the University of Texas Campus in Austin on a Football Game day!  I def want to check out an authentic Texas tailgate before a football game.  I’ve been to tailgates in Ann Arbor, Columbus, East Lansing, Chicago, and Pasadena.  I want to go one for a South Eastern Conference game and a Pac-12 game.  I always enjoy “geeking out”, so J took me to the Texas State Capitol in Austin!  After the trip to the capital, we stopped by this really cool graffiti art wall where artists paint whatever they want on the walls!  Here are some pictures from the day!  Instead of lunch, we decided to get some ice cream, so we went to another Austin staple,  Amy’s Ice Cream.   For dinner, we met up with Chris to catch up and watch a little football.  Later that evening, J went out while I stayed in to watch the Michigan-Notre Dame football game.   I am addicted to Michigan Football.  My general mood in the fall is sadly dependent on the outcome of the Michigan football games.  The past few years I have been pretty grumpy!  I’m learning to let go!  Sadly, it was an early night for me because Michigan got demolished, which in hindsight was probably a good thing since we had to get up early for the Brain Power 5K.

Kelly and Runi have done a great job organizing the Brain Power 5K.  I was very impressed with the turnout and growth of the event!  In a short time it has grown from 300 participants to over 14 hundred!  It was great running into Matt at the start of the race!  When I first found out that he writes about sports, I was intrigued.. We got along well from the very beginning.  The mAss Kickers Foundation Support Campaign, Rock Da Hawk is very closely tied to the “Hawktober for Brain Tumor Awareness” Campaign.   Matt has taken the mohawk campaign and run with it!  I support “Hawktober ” 100% because mohawks are hard to ignore, and ANYONE can participate in the campaign! Anyways, I had to explore the Brain Power 5K venue because I was amazed that the event was actually created by survivors and run by survivors!  You don’t see that too often!  Here are pictures from the Brain Power 5K event!   J organized one of the larger teams and had the top 3 male overall finishers and the top 3 overall female finishers!   I was honored to be a part of “Team Scarecrow” so I created the video above!  After the race, we went out to eat at another Austin restaurant that was kind of like a Denny’s.  An omelet and pancakes for dinner, is always filling!  The people in Texas are so hospitable!

texas state pt The next day, my friend Gayle picked me up from Austin, and took me to Texas State San Marcos to lecture to Physical Therapy Students about my experiences as a young healthcare professional turned brain tumor patient!  I always enjoy lecturing to students because they always keep me on my toes and ask some of the more interesting questions.  I did not realize how far San Marcos was from Austin.  Gayle had to pick up her kids from school so I had to find a ride to Austin.  The last time I spoke at Texas State, another one of my friends drove me there, and back.  I thought that I could simply take a Uber car from the school back to Austin.   I was wrong.  There were no Uber drivers in San Marcos plus I found out that a taxi would be ~$100 to take back to Austin.  I was so lucky that Dr. McDowell was able to give me a ride back to Austin on her way home from San Marcos!   Dr. McDowell dropped me off at a restaurant and I met up with Gayle again and another survivor friend, Deb.  I always enjoy meeting other survivors, even survivors of different types of tumors/cancer. There is always an unspoken bond that “connects” us.  I always have a great time in Austin and look forward to returning.

I have some more cool stuff in the works.  I just confirmed that I’m speaking at a military healthcare conference in Seoul, S. Korea in November.  They want me to:

  1. share my story as a healthcare professional turned oncology patient
  2. present the benefits of physical activity/exercise in a post oncology treatment population.

I have to alter my presentations for a military and Korean audience.  This will be exciting!  I’m thinking about going to S. Korea early to experience Halloween in another country… I’ve had some pretty exciting Halloweens in the past, but that is a story for another time… Seoul here I come!  I wonder how people will respond to the “mAss Kicker Mobile” there…  it was a different in experience in Japan and the Philippines last time.

 

 

Blog and housekeeping and mAss Kickers news11 Jul 2014 11:58 am

2-Line_CinematicArts_CardOnWhite

Thanks for including me Emily and Selma!  This in an old interview!

 

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