By Alanna Kennedy
A young man's life takes a dramatic detour
By Alanna Kennedy
Eric Galvez, a then-30-year-old transplanted Midwesterner living in San Diego, was beginning his career as a physical therapist when a brain tumor diagnosis brought his plans to a halt.
Now, more than four years after doctors removed a golf ball–size tumor located between his brain stem and his cerebellum, Galvez is still recovering from the aftereffects of brain surgery and radiation therapy. But that hasn’t slowed him down. In 2006, he published Reversal: When a therapist becomes a patient, a book that he hopes will give medical professionals a better understanding of the patient perspective. And in 2007 he launched mAss Kickers, a nonprofit organization that educates cancer survivors and raises funds for cancer research.
Despite his accomplishments, Galvez says it’s far from easy being a young survivor. “My tumor put me on a different path,” he says. “Watching my friends get married and have kids is kind of hard. But I try to stay positive and deal with it.”
Galvez’s effort to not focus on the negative is reflected in mAss Kickers’ slogan: “This ain’t no pity party!”
In his blog entry here from early January, Galvez reflects on the changes he and those around him have gone through over the previous year.
Jan. 8, 2010
The holidays were different this year. For the first time I actually flew back to Michigan on Christmas Eve. … I was excited to see all my family and friends back home. … Much has happened in the past year, that I’ve kind of lost track of the people closest to me.
Part of me didn’t recognize the place that I used to call home. My room … now storage. The people I used to hang out with … married with kids. … Nothing ever stays the same. I realized that things need to change for progress to occur. While I am making my way back, I have to pave a new path both personally and professionally. My life took a dramatic detour when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I have accomplished a lot in the past 4 years. Writing a book, winning awards, traveling the country, starting an organization, and now officially starting a nonprofit. I have challenged myself to do many things outside of my comfort zone and still plan on accomplishing a lot more! … I am still very reluctant to call the tumor a “blessing in disguise.” I think of it as an “awakening.” I’m doing things I never dreamed I would do. Personally, my life is still on pause. It’s kinda like I’m waking up from a crazy dream but it’s 4 years later. It has been difficult watching my friends move on with their lives: starting families, pursuing their dream jobs, and living the life I’ve always wanted for myself.
A new year always brings a new sense of hope. That hope is just a mirage unless a plan is developed to take steps towards realizing that hope. Hope has always been there for me, but the plan needs some work. I’m still formulating my “plan” for 2010. Once I get that figured out, look out! Stay Tuned!
To read more of Galvez’s blog, They Call Me Galvez, please visit www.ericgalvezdpt.com.
To recommend a blog for CR’s Cancerblog column, send an e-mail to Kennedy@CRmagazine.org.
(photo: Christopher Lum)