July 2014

Blog and geek and movies28 Jul 2014 09:41 am

sdcc1I went to the International Comic Con in San Diego this weekend for the third time.  In 2009 and 2010, I actually got tickets to go to the event at the San Diego Convention Center!  This year, I learned about the FREE off site events open to the public.  The last few years, I’ve been out of town, but this year there was no way I was going to miss it.  On day 1, I went to the Petco Park Interactive Zone. It was packed!  I got free Pizza Hut pizza at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles booth and picked up some cool swag from the discovery channel, the BoxTrolls movie, the Amazon Geek Boutique, Alienware, Sin City, and other vendors! Check out the Day 1 pictures. On Day 2, I stopped by the interactive zone again to get a poster signed by Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Josh Grodin, and the director of Sin City, Robert Rodriguez – I was hoping to go to the Game of Thrones interactive experience, but the line wrapped around a city block!  I’m a big fan of the show, but I was not going to wait 4 hours in a line by myself!  Instead, I decided to do some people watching down town.  I was not disappointed.  Check out Day 2 pictures. All the “characters” come out at Comic Con!  Comic-Con weekend is like Halloween, where people get dressed up and parade around as their favorite pop culture character but over a span 3 days.  There are a lot of really impressive costumes there! Some people go all out with elaborate costumes.  In downtown, San Diego bars and clubs would throw pop culture themed parties.  Pretty cool, but I’ve out grown the party scene.

tmnt01As a latch-key kid from the 80s, I was really into watching movies on the VCR every day over summer vacation.  The original Star Wars trilogy, Rocky movies, Indiana Jones series, Star Trek movies, Schwarzenegger movies (Conan the Barbarian/Commando/Predator), etc were always on the TV.  Our dad used to bring home movie rentals from Meijer for my brother and I every week over the summer.  We watched A TON of movies every summer but going to the theater was always the funnest!  I always loved going to the movies.  It was so funny watching my dad cheer in the theater at the end of Karate Kid and at the end of Return of the Jedi when the Millennium Falcon escapes the exploding Death Star.  HAHAHA!  Pop culture has always been an interest of mine so Comic Con was an added bonus of moving to San Diego!  Comic Con is essentially a “pop culture” convention which evolved from a comic book convention.   I remember going to my first comic book convention in Michigan in the mid 90s.  I loaded up on classic Transformers and The Amazing Spiderman comics.  As a kid, I remember my parents let me get a comic book mail subscription I’ve always been drawn to stories where the outcasts were the heroes.  Hey, it got me interested in reading!  In Spideman, Peter Parker was a social out-cast/nerd, the Autobots were never fully accepted by humans because they were aliens.  I really related to both stories because  I’ve always felt like an outsider.  I realize now that EVERYONE feels like an outsider at some point!

dscn2385_2Growing up in Midwest there were few people similar to me so I always felt like I stuck out.  I was always one of the smallest kids at school (so I got picked on a lot), one of the few Filipino/APIA (Asian Pacific Islander Americans) kids in my school, and I was the shy/quiet one because I always felt different.  I was good at sports so I never felt lonely and I always had friends with similar interests.  I was constantly trying to fit in.  I am still close with many of my friends from elementary school and high school.  It was through sports that I made most of my friends. Athletics defined me growing up and continued through college, grad school, and the early portion of my professional years.  In college I finally discovered people ethnically similar to me.  It helped me to come out of my shell and feel comfortable in my own skin.  Sticking out was always “social suicide” as an adolescent!  After college, I learned that how you react to standing out/being different can determine success.  I learned that essentially, “Everyone is unique.”  You can try to hide it or learn to embrace it.  I’m proud to be different.  The tough part is figuring out how to use your “geekiness/uniqueness” to your advantage.  Geekiness is engrained in me.  I have become comfortable with it!  Most of my insecurities were removed along with my brain tumor!

This week, I’m heading to Michigan for our Annual Paintball Benefit!  Always a fun time!  Looking forward to reconnecting with old friends!  Stay tuned!

Blog and PT shop talk21 Jul 2014 08:46 am

I found this…  Was weird because I treated many of his patients and I think one recognized me in the waiting room!  Every patient should have a list like this whenever visiting their doctor!  Make sure your concerns are addressed!  Doctors are very busy so there may not be time for small talk!  PRINT OUT 2 COPIES:  A COPY FOR YOURSELF AND A COPY FOR THE DOCTOR TO KEEP IN YOUR FILE.  MAKE SURE THE DOCTOR KNOWS YOUR CONCERNS!


I.  Current Symptoms (it’s in your chart but make sure they know!) 


All the time:  left sided facial numbness, left sided tongue numbness, loss of appetite, malaise, clumsiness can’t walk a straight line

Occasional:  Nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness (when working out), headaches (with increasing intra-abdominal pressure)


With quick movements: headaches (also when changing positions/levels), dizziness


II.  Questions

  1. What is the prognosis? I’m very concerned about the cranial nerves, with the basic body functions and the blood supply to the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.
  2. What specific procedures can be done to take this thing out?  Will the entire thing be able to be removed?  How much damage will be done to the cranial nerves/vascular tissue during the procedure?
  3. How common is this tumor?  How did it grow so big?  What was the blood supply for the tumor/what “fed it”?  How long do you think it’s been there?
  4. I’ve been having dizziness with exertion, Should I worry about the carotids or any other arteries that supply the brainstem or cerebrum.  The last 2 really bad dizzy spells I had came with running ~5-6 miles.  Are there any vascular tissues affected with the tumor location?   I also notice dizziness/lightheadedness when working out.
  5. Was the cerebellum (or vestibular nuclei in the pons) also affected? My coordination has been off for a few months.
  6. How long is the rehab?  What kind of lingering effects should I expect? Timelines?
  7. Once it is out, is there a chance for relapse?  Is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening again? What caused the tumor/where did it come from?
  8. Am I now at risk for new tumors to pop up?
  9. When can a procedure be scheduled?  I really need my parents from Michigan to be here for me.
  10. When can I return to surfing, triathlons, work?  Is there anything I should avoid post-op?
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 housekeeping and mAss Kickers news11 Jul 2014 11:58 am


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


Blog and Random blog and reviews01 Jul 2014 09:43 pm

michigan-county-mapSo much has happened since my last post! As a child, the month of June not only meant the end of school year, but also the beginning of summer and a bunch of fun activities.  Earlier this month, I went back to Michigan for one of my best friend’s 40th birthday!  We are all evolving!  A few years ago, everyone was getting married and buying houses.  Now, kids are started to pop up and priorities are changing.  It is so crazy that we are now older than our parents were when they immigrated to the United States to start a new life!  It was so cool going back home to Michigan and not having to worry about an event or a speaking engagement. I got to see many of my friends from undergrad at the birthday party.  I also got together with some of my friends from grad school for a barbecue!   I also got to meet up with some of my mentors from grad school!  It was so great catching up with everyone and taking a short break from everything..

2003-mr-olympia-92_20090831_1380869138I returned to San Diego for our Second Kickball Tournament.   This year teams included: Local PT/PTA programs, a team of survivors and their loved ones, a team of PTs, and the defending champs!  It is really turning into a fun event!  This year, we let the family members of survivors play so a bunch of little kids made some great plays playing with their parents!  Pretty cool seeing families play together!  Things went very well.  We see a lot of potential for expansion!  It was great seeing future healthcare professional interacting with the families affected by tumors/cancer.  We are making plans to recreate this event with other PT/PTA programs in different states!

2014 esperity meetingThe week after the kickball tournament, I had the opportunity meet with the Founders of the Belgium Based website, Esperity.  They are early in their development, but they share with MKF a strong interest in clinical trial recruitment.  They realize that common cancers like breast or prostate cancer get the most research funding and get the most subjects recruited for research studies because of their prevalence.  If we can combine resources globally on clinical research studies for the less prevalent tumor/cancer types, this could address the need for the recruitment of rare tumor/cancer subjects.  EVERYONE BENEFITS!  Instead of looking in one region, lets search the world for eligible research subjects.  It makes sense to me.  Collaboration is key, but people need to understand the benefits of participating in clinical research.  It was great to hear their vision and add my input!  I’m still not sure how an international “IRB” would manage this, but it is an interesting concept.  We’ll definitely have to keep an eye out of them.

lucha libre1After our meeting, I wanted to relax, so I stopped by Lucha Libre Taco Shop.  As a kid, I was really into pro-wrestling.  I am proud to say that I was going crazy at Wrestlemania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant.  When I heard about a luchador (masked pro-wrestlers) themed taco shop in San Diego I had to check it out!  Nacho Libre was one of the silliest movies I had ever seen, but it awakened my inner-child! The 11 year-old version of myself would not have been disappointed by Lucha Libre Taco Shop.  The place was covered with luchador memoriabilia and bright colors that screamed “NOTICE ME!” Of course, the food was incredible!  Their California Burrito was rated as one the top 10 in San Diego by San Diego Surfers.  The place literally had a line out the door!  The menu did not disappoint!  If I like something, I tend to order it again.  The California Burrito has been my “Go-To” order for years.  I’m just now starting to explore San Diego Mexican food outside of my first love, the California Burrito.  I will definitely have to return and try something different…

Anyways, still have a lot on my plate… gearing up for our paintball benefit in MI in August… stay tuned!