something-special.jpg

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

Blog21 Jun 2020 11:49 pm
Great cooking song…
Ever since we started the social distancing protocols, I find myself cooking more frequently. My staples have been bbq chicken, chili, and pasta in meat sauce. The instant pot has been getting a lot of use. I have the mini instant pot which is a 3 quart pot and the perfect size for two to four people. This is the ideal size for single guy who live alone because I won’t have a ton of leftovers! Chili as been my go to instant pot meal because it is so quick and easy to make. I’m doing a lot of experimenting with recipes! My favorite so far has been garlic russet potatoes.

I found a few websites for instant pot recipes. This is an easy site for 3 quart IP recipes. I have found that using a chili packet makes it easier to make chili. Very efficient! Shredded Chicken is also one one of my favorites in the instant pot with salsa or picante sauce.
I have started watching cooking videos online. My family started weekly conference video calls just to check up on each other. Our weekly Galvez family online meetups have turned into cooking demos. We’ve learned how to make pancit (noodles), pork/chicken adobo (pictured), and most recently tiramisu. Of course, I’m “junior varsity” in the kitchen, so anything I can learn is appreciated! The majority of the things I cook are prepackaged, so I don’t consider it real cooking. I really appreciate my family taking the time to explain how to make things.

I recently discovered how to make tender garlic pork chops and veggies. Quick and easy! 4 mins/side on med heat with chopped garlic cloves. Gotta try different sauces next time. Served with veggies over rice. Perfect! Cooking is an experiment for me. Adding things together, harnessing the heat, timing of searing, presentation, etc… cooking really is an art… I lived on takeout, hamburger helper, and pasta. I’m definitely learning to appreciate all the preparation /work that goes into a home cooked meal. Eating is so much more enjoyable when you recognize all the work that goes into it. For me, eating was the scientific means of producing glucose for energy. Now, I realize that there is an art to cooking. I enjoy it so much more. HAHAHA! I really think that food can bring people together. I started watching TASTE THE NATION on HULU. It explored the diversity of food in the United States. Food is something everyone needs, so I think food has the potential to bring people together/unite people with different backgrounds. If we can start to appreciate the diversity in food, why can’t we appreciate the diversity in other cultures? I was a very picky eater growing up, so cooking has opened up a whole new world! Ever since I had my brain surgery, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things. A new hobby is starting to form…
Blog16 Jun 2020 11:53 pm
Things have been getting heated all across the United States. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is so much racial tension everywhere. It is frustrating when leadership fails to address obvious problems. Every time there is a racial incident, the issue gets put on the backburner. This time it will not quietly go away because it has hit a nerve with so many more people with the #BlackLivesMatter social media hashtag. I support the reason for the hashtag because racial issues have been pushed aside for so long. Sadly, my personal experiences with race started way back in elementary school. Nothing emotionally damaging, but to this day it still sticks with me. I was always one of the smallest kids in the class, so I didn’t want to bring more attention to myself then I needed. In first grade, you get to bring lunch with you to school for the first time. My mom packed my lunch: a thermos with rice/meat, a spoon and fork, fruit, and probably some cookies. I remember grabbing my StarWars lunchbox and sitting with the other kids at lunch with their pb&j sandwiches and bags of chips. I remember I got a lot of weird looks from my classmates. I don’t remember if anyone laughed or said anything, but as a shy little Filipino kid I didn’t want to stick out anymore than I already did. That afternoon, when my mom picked me up, I immediately requested a sandwich and chips for lunch. I also remember that whenever I had friends over we would eat spaghetti or pizza. This changed as my diet got more diverse, but I was always conscious of what we ate whenever my friends came over. At an early age, I knew I was different so I just wanted to be accepted by everyone. When I got to high school I finally experienced what it meant to be judged differently because of my race.

I haven’t talked about this since it happened, but the experience has stuck with me ever since it occurred. It was my first real experience as an ethnic minority. Let me paint the situation, there was a lot of tension between my high school and another local high school. I think one of my classmates got jumped by students from the another local high school, so tensions were high. We had a dance at our school the week the tensions were escalating, so the police were called to our high school to manage any potential situations. I arrived at the dance with my high school girlfriend in my varsity jacket adorned with wrestling and track medals. When I parked my car and walked towards the dance. We were then approached by two police officers with huge maglight flashlights . I was told to stop and immediately return to my vehicle. I had the light shined in my face and started getting showered with questions. This was the first time I had ever spoken to a police officer on duty. I was a new driver so I was already nervous. “What’s your name?” “Do you go to school here?” “Is this your car?” “Where were you before coming here?” “Who were you with before coming here?” While this was going on, all of my friends were arriving and calmly strolling into the gym, wondering what was going on. I remember being alone with the officers thinking, “This is embarrassing, I’m just trying to go to this dance.” My dad recently got the car and hadn’t added my name to the registration, so when they ran the records, my name didn’t show up. The officers radioed the station to contact my parents at home even though we had the same last name to verify we were related! I was shocked that I was being singled out. It seemed matter of fact, but the way they were questioning me was extremely forceful. How come none of the other students were being interrogated? Why was so much time being spent on me? I was the only student that was stopped and interrogated the whole night. I had never felt so different. I was a straight “A” student, champion athlete, and student leader, BUT I was the ONLY ONE that got interrogated the whole night! None of that mattered to the officers. To them I was a trouble maker. I realized that the only thing the police saw was the color of my skin, they could have cared less about everything else. Other classmates would get drunk or high in the parking lot before dances, but I always played by the book. I never got in trouble and in elementary school I was mocked for being a “goodie-goodie.” For the first time in my life, I felt like I was different and I was being judged for it. Until then, I knew I was different but it was never held against me. No guns were drawn and there were no acts of violence, but I definitely felt singled out. I couldn’t enjoy myself the rest of the night. That event made me realize that I was truly different. No matter what I accomplished, I was always going to be the non-white kid trying to fit in. First impressions are affected by preconceived notions. The color of your skin is one of the first things people notice when meeting new people. Being exposed to people and cultures that are different than your own at a young age can help, but ultimately it will come down to personal interactions. I’ve noticed that there is little interaction between different communities. Why is that?

First impressions are instinctive. I get that. Whenever I travel to different countries, I get A LOT of stares and curious looks because I use a wheelchair/scooter or crutches to get around. There are times when I wish people would stop staring and just talk to me. First impressions generally stick until they are disproven. Again, I am faced with preconceived notions, not only as a person of color, but also as a person with a visible physical disability. I’m viewed as either “someone who deserves your pity” or an “inspirational hero who can do no wrong”. It is human nature to develop personal opinions, but I’m unsure how to address this issue of preconceived notions. I think that perhaps early exposure/meaningful face to face interaction could make things easier. This is why I like interacting with students and kids. They are not yet set in their ways. They can be taught. It will be up to the youngest generations to change these preconceived notions. These are some historic times, so it will be interesting to see how race relations play out. They cannot be ignored any longer.

As a Filipino-American and Asian Pacific Islander American, I understand why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so important and fully support it! While my negative experiences with the police pale in comparison to other people, the #BlackLivesMatter experiences need to be recognized. I’m glad they are being shared. Under represented populations need to show support for each other. The next step is rectifying the occurrences. Personally, I would like to see more positive interactions between different communities. Perhaps law enforcement academies need to do more community outreach. Or perhaps update their curriculum. Food and sporting events are the only things I can think of that have the potential to bring people of color and law enforcement officials together. Suggestions?

Blog25 May 2020 02:08 pm
US Army Yongsan Garrison S. Korea November 2014

Memorial Day is a very special day in the US where we honor all the United States Military service members who sacrificed their lives to defend and protect the American way of life. Before moving to San Diego, I was a little naïve. I had no idea what Memorial Day really meant. Of course I knew what the day was for, but I never really appreciated what it meant. I had the honor of meeting so many military personnel in San Diego and speaking at a US Army health conference at the Yongsan Garrison near the North/South Korea demilitarized zone. After that trip, I have learned to appreciate what the military does for us. I admire the sacrifices they make to keep Americans safe.

When I was younger, Memorial weekend used to be a BIG PARTY WEEKEND! Monday was a day off from school/work, making Sunday night an extra night to party with my friends. It started in college when I used to travel to California for my fraternity’s national convention. It always coincided with a sorority’s national convention so it was always a fun extended weekend! After college, our get togethers carried over to Memorial Weekend reunions when we were all in grad school or starting our professional careers. Once everyone started getting married and having kids, it became more difficult to get everyone together.

As I sit here and think about all the sacrifices that were made for the simple American freedoms, I wonder how the country has become so divided? Memorial Day should be a day that unites us. Is there anything that will unite the county? Philanthropy? Health issues? Something that is common to ALL? I don’t think any one person or political party will be able to do it. The country is polarized by “left” and “right”political views. Politicians need to take off their political hats and stop pointing fingers at each other. Stop acting like children. I really think that during these troubling times it will come down to individual communities to take care of each other. It’s funny how the meanings of holidays like Christmas OR special occasions like birthdays evolve as you age. I appreciate Memorial Day now! To all military service people: THANK YOU! This country needs to evolve and unite everyone in these difficult times. Collectively, we need something to believe in.

Blog and Random blog23 May 2020 12:14 pm

I’m very worried about the threat of potential violence after the November Presidential election. The country is extremely divided. I have a feeling that people on either side of the political spectrum will be upset regardless of the results. Violence is inevitable between 2 sides that feel strongly about an issue. I really hope the authorities are prepared for civil unrest with a change of power OR another 4 years of this administration. There were already people with guns protesting the “stay at home” orders at state capitals. I am concerned because in 2017 A car ran through a crowd of counter “Unite the Right” protesters in Charlottesville. The gap is widening between different ideologies. The right to protest is what defines America, but bringing weapons to a protest is inviting trouble. I don’t understand the reasoning for bringing weapons to a protest unless you intend to use them.

What happened to being the UNITED States of America? Political allegiances have divided the country. When was the last time this country was truly united? I’d make a case for WWI. We had a common enemy. Currently our common enemy is a virus that has no vaccine or cure. I am very disappointed that our current leadership is doing nothing but stoke the fires of unrest and pretending to know what we are doing. We need leaders to make difficult decisions and refuse to play the political games. I’m so sick of the banter on both sides. I really think that when the political divide starts to influence the public health and wellness of American citizens nationally there is a problem.

Maybe I’m being too cautious, but the fact remains that until there is a vaccine everyone is still at risk. I understand that some people are eager to return to normal, but this pandemic is still going on. Just because it isn’t prevalent in your community doesn’t mean it is over! While your personal risk maybe low, for some the risk remains high. I don’t understand how people can be so selfish and not think of their fellow citizens still at risk. For example, People of color are at higher risk for contracting Covid-19 due to poor nutrition/obesity, poverty, and stress. Reminder… There is no vaccine! As someone with a “pre-existing condition” at risk, I don’t feel comfortable yet going out in public settings. I understand why some are eager to go out and about because they feel fine, but people need to understand the extended social distancing orders are in place to protect the most vulnerable. This is a time to support the scientists/researchers. I will listen to them over the politicians at this point! Just had to get that off my chest…

Blog and rehab08 May 2020 02:48 pm

The mAss Kicker Mobile is giving me trouble. I had to take it in to get fixed last week. It stalls going over every bump or incline. We think there is something wrong with the motor! We changed the batteries, checked the wiring, and checked ALL the ignition pieces. Something is up. I’ve gotten caught in the rain a few times, so perhaps the water affected the motor. We will continue to monitor the situation. In the meantime, I’ve been practicing propelling a manual transport wheelchair. Transport wheelchairs are not good chairs for self propulsion. There was a reason it was so cheap. I figured out that:
  1. Arm rests can be eliminated for more efficient propulsion with a wider range of motion for the shoulders and elbows.
  2. Folding wheelchairs tend to be heavier, so they don’t roll as well.
  3. Large front casters (wheels)= more work in propulsion which leads to inefficient power/speed. (Large wheels= More surface area/friction and added weight.)
  4. If I go out in the morning, there are less people out and about, so I can maintain social distancing.
  5. Weight lifting gloves can be used to protect your hands. Your fingers still get really dirty. (Maybe full finger gloves would be more useful.)
  6. A lot of energy is used propelling a wheelchair.
I’m still working on getting the new manual wheelchair, but I still have to figure out how to become more efficient and faster using crutches. I’m def getting anti-tippers installed on the new wheelchair because I’m sure I will try popping wheelies or something crazy. One of the biggest disadvantages of using a manual wheelchair will be the loss of speed. BUT I will be more physically active. I wonder how manually propelling a wheelchair will affect my energy levels? On a positive note, I’m sleeping better because of all the physical activity!
Blog and family and Random blog29 Apr 2020 06:07 pm

That song cracks me up. It reminds me of a much simpler time acting stupid with my college friends. So many ridiculous conversations and dares. Priorities were so different. We thought we knew everything without a care in the world! However, the decisions we make now carry so much more weight. I’m getting the urge to move again. Maybe it is time to move back to San Diego or Michigan. Houston has grown on me, but I still have responsibilities in San Diego and Michigan. Over the next few months, I will have some major soul searching to do. I think I could do well in San Diego, Ann Arbor, or Houston but I still need to figure out what I want. I have familiarity and comfort in San Diego. It was the perfect place to live! You can’t beat the weather and activities out there. It would be AWESOME to return to San Diego! Returning to Michigan would be for my family, but there are many potential opportunities there. Plus I would save A LOT of rent money! BUT… Houston has really grown on me and I could envision settling down here! I don’t think I have fully experienced Houston yet! I really like the Texas lifestyle and southern hospitality. I don’t mind the heat. I prefer it to the subzero winters. There are “professional opportunities” in all three places but I still need to prioritize… Anything could happen! Right now, I think I could be happy in any of those places! Any input would be greatly appreciated! My lease ends in Feb, so I have some time to make a decision…

Blog24 Apr 2020 12:40 pm
I was wondering… how are people staying busy during these crazy times? I’m still trying to figure that out. I got caught up on a few TV shows: Fear The Walking Dead, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, and Community are a few I’ve liked. I’m starting to read again. Malcolm Gladwell is still at the top of my list. It is crazy what is going on right now! It confuses me how unprepared the United States was for this. While the current US government made massive cuts to our pandemic response team, our leaders were holding rallies, playing golf, and down playing this outbreak. Just once I would like to hear our leadership take responsibility for their decisions and not blame other people. The US is a global leader in public health, which I believe is part of the reason why the global pandemic spiraled out of control. We stopped taking this seriously. There was a reason why other diseases like Zika virus, SARS, or Ebola virus never took hold in the US. This administration fires anyone who disagrees with them. I have very little faith in this administration and lost trust in the decision making of the government. However, the deciples of this administration are overzealously loyal, so come the new election season I fear violence. The country is the most divided I’ve ever seen it. Leadership should strive to unite people, not divide and conquer. I really hope that violence doesn’t erupt during the November election!

Blog21 Apr 2020 07:24 pm

That video is 10 years old! It has been a crazy start to 2020. As a person with a disability and brain tumor survivor that lives alone, COVID-19 has greatly impacted EVERYTHING that I do. Through the organization, mAss Kickers Foundation, we’ve been able to connect with other survivors all over the world. However, with all the travel bans and social distancing precautions, international travel is not in the cards in 2020. Regardless if the travel restrictions end, taking people who were immunocompromised on long enclosed international flights AND staying in Air B&Bs/hotels is probably not a wise decision. The risk of getting sick is very high! Not a good idea, even with permission from a doctor. 2 years ago, I got sick after a mAss Kickers trip to Toronto.

Anyways, I wanna try something new. I’ve been using a mobility scooter AKA the “mAss Kicker Mobile” for years, and it gets me out and about in the community! It is really convenient using the mAss Kicker mobile in large airports! I am starting to use a manual wheelchair to go out and about. However, the chair I have is a a transport wheelchair and not built for self propulsion. On the positive side, I’m getting a vigorous workout! I think using a manual chair is fine in social settings, but I’m trying to figure out how to go grocery shopping in a wheelchair AND take the bus. (Since I can’t drive) Use a rolling cart strapped to the WC? Large bag/backpack? Suggestions?

Anyways, I’ve been cooped up in my place for 4 weeks now. Most people my age have already started families and have spouses and little “rugrats” to keep them occupied in this time of social distancing. I unfortunately live by myself. So practicing social distancing means A LOT of alone time in my apartment. I’m tired of watching TV/movies. I’ve done plenty of google hangouts, go to meetings, and zoom meetings. At the end of the day, I’m still alone and bored. You can only watch so much Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, and Disney+! I figure maybe I’ll start creating stuff again… writing, making videos, cooking?

I think I might start blogging again to alleviate my boredom… things are slow right now, anyone wanna join a writing club/group? We can come up with weekly topics… I thought 2019 was pretty bad, but 2020 has gotten off to a really weird start… let’s make the most of it and create something cool!


How To Kick Mass and mAss Kickers news16 Dec 2019 11:01 am
2019 How To Kick Mass Thrivership Mission, Ottawa: Bryan, Eric, Dennis

Visiting Canada has always been a fun escape for me. Growing up in Michigan, we would visit Toronto often to visit family in the summer. Occasionally, they would leave my brother and I there with our family for weeks on end. It was always fun hanging out with our Canadian cousins! I assume that this was done to give our parents a break and free daycare. Of course our Canadian cousins would conversely spend time in Michigan to give our uncles and aunts breaks. I remember anxiously waiting by our window for our cousins to pull into our driveway! At the end of October, I returned to Canada with 2 other Brain Tumor survivors. mAss Kickers Foundation has been all over the world. See some of the places we’ve been, below! It’s always fun connecting oncology survivors from different backgrounds! We were in Toronto last year and had a great time. This year we went to the Capitol of Canada, Ottawa. This time around, there were three brain tumor survivors on this trip. 1) Bryan, a long term pediatric brain tumor survivor, went on our previous trip to Toronto. 2) Dennis is a more recent brain tumor survivor, with almost the exact same brain tumor type/location: Meningioma at Cerebello-pontine angle (CPA)… just a decade later than 3) me, a 14 year CPA meningioma survivor . Dennis is just starting to get involved in brain tumor advocacy, so I was very excited to meet him! None of us had been to Ottawa, so this would be a new adventure for all of us in an unfamiliar environment.

    The objectives of this trip were to:
  1. Learn about the unique intricacies of navigating healthcare in Canada.
  2. Present our individual survivorship stories to survivor support groups.
  3. Learn more about the history/culture/attractions of Ottawa.
  4. Connect with oncology treatment survivors in Ottawa.
  5. Support unified international oncology research.
  6. Give post treatment oncology thrivers a unique travel adventure to help them FIND THEMSELVES and CONNECT WITH PEOPLE who have endured similar journeys.

The weather definitely added a sense of adventure and uncertainty! Flights were delayed, layovers were missed, and it was colder than I expected. I have never enjoyed cold temperature (probably due to my Filipino blood), but I’m always willing to brave the elements for a unique experience. We tried to familiarize ourselves with the area the first day and patiently waited for the rest of the group to arrive. We ordered food the first day and hung out at our Air B&B the first night. We tried to plan out activities the second day by catching a hop on/hop off bus, but the company was closed for the season. We decided to just take a Lyft to Byward market to have breakfast and explore the area on foot. We ended up touring the Canadian Senate and going grocery shopping. Grocery shopping in different countries is always so interesting. It is always fun to see the different items in the stores. Later that evening, we did a presentation at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Center for the monthly brain tumour support group. Check out the pictures from the 2019 How To Kick Mass (HTKM), Ottawa trip Day 1 and 2.

The next day, we slept in a little and visited the National Gallery of Canada. I never really appreciated art until we visited the museums in Brussels. I learned about the geographic lines/shapes of Art Deco in Brussels. In Brussels, we actually went home/museum of Art Nouveau which got me thinking for the first time about art… I was always a big fan of natural history museums, but I now have a new found appreciation of art. I still don’t get modern/contemporary art, but renaissance sculptures and black and white photography are starting to grow on me. Check out the pictures from the 2019 HTKM, Ottawa trip Day 3

The following day, we went to the Royal Canadian Mint where they make the $1 coins (looney), $2 coins (tooney), and commemorative coins. We decided to check it out because who doesn’t find money interesting. Afterwards we did more exploration and found a Canadian pub to have lunch and Canadian beer. Dennis wanted to check out a spa after lunch, so he went on his own adventure while Bryan and I went grocery shopping for the rest of the week. Check out the pictures from Day 4.

We had the opportunity to attend a Canadian Cancer patient conference at the Shaw Centre, which is connected to the Shaw Centre shopping mall. We connected with many Canadian oncology survivor organizations. It was pretty cool learning about health issues in a different country! We grabbed a quick lunch at the mall and decided to check out the Ottawa Dia de Los Muertos celebration afterwards. I attended my first Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Houston last year. The event stuck with me because it is meant to honor loved ones that have passed on. I have befriended so many inspirational oncology patients that have passed, and it was starting to take it’s toll on me. My first exposure to Dia de Los Muertos in Houston finally gave me closure and a chance to symbolically “say goodbye”. The event is a celebration and FAR FROM scary or somber. Will definitely try to hit it up again wherever I am. Check out the pictures from Day 5

The final day that we were all together was a very busy day. In the morning, we went to the Notre Dame Basilica to attend a Catholic church service. Afterwards, we explored downtown Ottawa. We went sight seeing and grabbed lunch at a random pub downtown. We had some time to kill before an informal meetup with Canadian survivors so we decided to walk to the restaurant early and hangout. I was afraid that if we went back to the Air B&B we would be too tired to go out. I was very excited to hangout with survivors from Ottawa because I prefer meeting people in comfortable/informal settings. The last few trips, we’ve made it a tradition to do a candy exchange with survivors from different countries. hee hee hee… candy is my weakness. I think I have a bunch of cavities. Check out the photos from Day 6.

Dennis left early in the morning the following day, leaving Bryan and I in the Air B&B. The day was originally scheduled for shopping, but neither of wanted to do any shopping so we decided to stay in and try to finish all the left over food! HAHAHA! A lazy day was exactly what we needed. We watched a bunch of movies/Canadian television programs to unwind. The following morning we shared a Lyft to the Airport and parted ways.

The trip to Ottawa got the gears moving in my brain for the next trip. On all of the trips we have noticed one thing… regardless of background, experiences, everyone enjoys eating. Preparing food, eating food, grocery shopping, exploring the area, and meeting new survivors have defined these trips. I personally have enjoyed it when we prepare our own meals. I always enjoy going to grocery stores in different countries to see the different item that are sold. We’ve had success preparing meals in Canada and San Diego, but I wonder how that would translate on overseas trips where we are more unfamiliar with the local cuisine. Stay tuned for the 2020 trips! We are always looking for oncology thrivers to join us on future trips! STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT APPLICATION CYCLE!

Here are summaries of the international trips we’ve been on so far…
2013 Honolulu, USA
2013 Honolulu, USA recap

2013 Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines
2013 Tokyo/Manila Recap

2014 Singapore, Singapore
2014 Singapore recap

2015 Brussels, Belgium
2015 Belgium recap

2016 Cape Town, South Africa
2016 Cape Town recap

2017 NO TRIPS

2018 Toronto, Canada
2018 Toronto recap

2019 San Diego, USA
2019 San Diego recap

2019 Ottawa, Canada

Blog and mAss Kickers news25 Oct 2019 10:36 am
Another year has passed. I had surgery to removed a golf ball sized meningioma brain tumor at the cerebello-pontine angle on October 25, 2005. This was the day EVERYTHING CHANGED and I was reborn. For the first time in my life I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next and experienced true fear! It made me re-evaluate things. I remember calling the people closest to me before the surgery because I wasn’t sure if I was calling to say goodbye…

Surgery was extremely risky, but I needed that tumor thing (AKA “Amani Tumor” he was on my fantasy football team) out of my head! I survived the very risky 14 hour brain surgery, BUT I was left with some pretty severe physical impairments. I was reborn with a new attitude and a new appreciation for everything, I’m now officially 14… a “high school freshman”!

So much has happened since I was reborn. I’ve published 2 books, spoken at many interesting venues, traveled the world to talk about my experiences as a young physical therapist turned rehab patient with physical impairments, started a unique nonprofit, and met so many inspirational individuals around the world! While all of this sounds cool and exciting, I’ve also lost the majority of the hobbies I used to enjoy, lost contact with many of the friends that I used to have, lost my dream job shortly after getting it, lost my purpose/direction in life. My background in physical therapy has helped me navigate the scientific and medical aspects of my recovery, but I was not prepared for psychosocial ramifications of becoming a brain tumor survivor with severe physical impairments. I’m still adapting and learning new things in the process. Basically, I had to start EVERYTHING over from scratch, thus the “Rebirth”. My life is now dedicated to helping others: find their new path/direction after their treatments AND find a setting where they feel like they fit in.

These are some of the reasons mAss Kickers Foundation was created! On October 29, I’m traveling to Ottawa Canada for the first time with 3 other survivors to share our stories, hangout with survivors from Ottawa, and experience a new environment with fellow post treatment thrivers. Please contribute what you can to help other survivors discover something new!

Help me unite the world against all forms of tumors/cancer by donating what you can here:

https://tinyurl.com/2019HTKMOttawa

PASS IT ON!

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