Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hangover Prevention

As the season of parties culminates to tonight's final bash, we tend to want to start the New Year on a good note. That being said, waking up with a hangover on the first day of a "fresh start" is probably not ideal.

Instead of having to deal with a hangover and yet another obstacle that would get in the way of your resolutions, you can prevent the dreaded feeling of wanting to die upon waking.

Of course, being smart about how much/what you drink is a gimme. Though everybody is different, mixing types of alcohol and drinking too much is typically a no-no if you want to wake up anywhere near bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. 

They have those hangover shots you can buy as well, but let's see what we can do to prevent hangovers without the added mystery ingredients.

Hangover prevention is all about helping your liver function as much as you can, after abusing it with all the alcohol you're about to drink. So plan accordingly. Hydrate. Eat foods during the day that will help liver function:


Ever wonder why people drink Bloody Marys the morning after drinking? Look at the ingredients, and see how many of those you can find on that list of foods that help the liver. That's why Bloody Marys work.

Now, let's apply that to preventing a hangover, versus treating it. 

Have some of those ingredients before you go to bed. The more you drank, the more of those foods you should eat. Do you have to eat a little of each? No. You can stick to one type if you want. Go ahead, eat an entire tomato before going to bed. Or just make yourself a bedtime Bloody Mary. 

Perfect Solution for Midnight Munchies and hangover prevention!

If you want to cheat, take a B-complex vitamin. Make sure you drink a tall glass of water as well. No aspirin needed. Go to bed, wake up in 2017 feeling like a champ, and ready to take on the New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Serendipity via Assistants

I spent the last 4 days in Singapore (my first time), the last 2 teaching a group of 28 movers Neurokinetic Therapy. I had the pleasure of having 4 wonderful assitants to help me facilitate the learning process for these students. Every group of assistants I have is appreciated and different, but this one was particularly special to me. Let me tell you why...

Carol was NKT's first student from Malaysia, she flew to Taiwan to take both Level 1 and Level 2 this year because it was not available where she lived. She was in Kuala Lumpor all by herself for the better part of a year, NKT-wise. This week, she flew to assist the first NKT seminar in Singapore, where there were a few students in attendance from KL as well. She will no longer be alone in NKT in KL. This mirrors my initial experience with NKT as well. When I first took Level 1 (I flew to Australia to take it), there was only one other person in the country who had also taken NKT, and neither of us knew what the hell we were doing. Later that year, I assisted the first NKT seminar in Taiwan, where I was living at the time, and was forced to up my game and understanding in an instant. All of the sudden, we weren't alone anymore, and I had to step up to be a leader. My learning and understanding of NKT skyrocketed because of that. Carol, you will do well with NKT if you keep continuing on the track you're on.

Jayda is one of my coaches at my gym in Taiwan (Live to Play). She also runs it while I'm gone (so basically, all the time). I hired her blindly, putting faith in her that she would enjoy working with me and my crazy gym family I had worked hard in building. I encouraged her to have a specialty, something to separate her from other trainers, and gave her some examples from my path. She took interest in the rehab world and decided to take NKT. Without me being there all the time, she still chose to continue with it, learning as much as she could, and being as involved as she was given the opportunity to. She is my rehab replacement at Live to Play. She has given up several weekends (her time to Play) to assist me in NKT seminars, and this time flew out to Singapore to do the same. Watching her grow in the fitness/rehab world is so amazing. She has come so far. I'm so proud of her, and am forever grateful for what she does for me.

Lewis and! I met these two when NKT came to Taiwan 3 years ago. We assisted together in an epic group of both assistants and students led by David Weinstock. There was so much synergy in that group, it was amazing! I went on to shadow pretty much everyone who assisted that class, traveling to Dubai, Denver, San Francisco, Japan, Washington, and Santa Barbara (from Taiwan), learning so much from each and every one of them. The only ones I didn't get to shadow were Lewis and JX (Junxian). No idea why. JX took Level 3 a year ago in Taiwan, which was the last class in Taiwan at which I was an assistant. A year later, and 3 years after our original introduction, these fine practitioners are assisting me in the first NKT course in their home country (and I was given the privilege of presenting JX with his Level 3 cert!). What a great honor for me! I also habitually ask those who assist me what they liked and what they thought I could improve about my teaching. Their words gave me the warm fuzzies and tugged at my heart strings. The individuals who I looked up to 3 years ago now were saying they looked up to me and saw me as a great teacher. They saw me grow from less than novice to what I am now. They were there at my beginning, and they just experienced me at my current ability. I can't describe exactly what this feels like, but it's something like an amazing, humbling, and grateful feeling. I'm in awe.

Having this group of individuals support me in Singapore teaching an awesome group of movers (usually we end up teaching a majority of feelers, and minimal movers) the last 2 days was simply serendipitous, amazing, and mentally jaw-dropping. You guys are so phenomenal. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Takeways from Taiwan November 2016 Trip

I just got back from another trip, one where I taught 3 seminars, taught a few classes, saw several clients, and did a lot of running around for random business stuff. I like to reflect a bit after each of my big trips. I wrote another for NKT practitioners as well, but this one is a little more general.

1) Panicking and worrying are wastes of energy and time. Though it's in some people's nature (like myself to panic and worry when plans go awry or are not yet planned at the last minute, you have the choice to stop the panic, to stop the worry. You can stop yourself from wasting your precious energy and time and be proactive to provoke change in the situation. Be patient. Things will work out. Clear your head, breathe, and look for opportunities instead of fixating on the negative. Fixation masks opportunity.

2) Your life is a direct result of the choices that you make. Everything you do is a choice, whether it's a habit or not. You can choose to change things whenever you want to. Some things take more time and effort, some less. It's still your choice. Stop complaining and do something.

3) Improvement takes time and consistent effort. Focused effort is best. Don't expect miracles. You'll have some pleasant surprises, and some annoying plateaus as well. Keep going. earn your way to being better.

4) Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs if you pay attention. What it needs will change periodically.

5) Have an outlet where you can let out deep energy. This can be done through meditation, thought/emotional processing, crying, hill sprints, music, art, etc. Don't hold it in all the time. It will come back to bite you in ass. Hard.

6) You can change your body's internal energy by changing motor control patterns. This is part of neuroplasticity, I believe. With the mind, you can change your body, and with your body, you can change your mind. This leaves out energy, technically, but I believe it's all part of the same system. In the last couple weeks, I witnessed 4 people's facial complexions and expressions go from ghastly and lifeless to vivacious and pink after addressing physical complaints. In these cases, it's time to take control of your body, not just passively "get treated all the time." Sometimes I will spend an entire session with someone to tell them why and that they need to change their lifestyle and habits before I will even touch them, because without their efforts, their pain will just come back.

7) Your brain is smarter than you think. It will do everything in its power to survive, even if it means sacrificing the body. You can use the body as a kind of a treasure map of clues to figure out where the brain/body is protecting from danger, and how that compensation pattern affects physical discomfort/pain.

8) Move well, eat nourishingly, hydrate properly, sleep restfully, meditate, and expose yourself to some type of nature (sunshine AND something green and rooted at the very least). Do these things daily, no matter what is on your schedule.

9) If you want to help someone, educate them. Teach them why it's important to make changes so that they can help themselves in the future. There have been several people who've saught me for help that I refused to lay a hand on until they made the changes in their lifestyle that I suggested because the cause of their pain and discomfort was from their lifestyle. In those situations, it's a waste of everyone's time and energy to do otherwise.

10) Enjoy the things you like in life without guilt. Guilt will also manifest into physical symptoms. Know your limits, but don't restrict. This was yet another trip where I ate whatever I wanted (carb-heavy this time) and lost some fat (about 3 lbs worth, I believe). Eat delicious things (that are made with quality ingredients), play, take the stairs up whenever you can, and try not to get caught up in the conveniences in modern life. Hike up a mountain instead of taking a cab to the top. You'll enjoy it much more.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pillow Talk

How do you sleep?

Do you get enough? Is the sleep you get good? Do you have to take sleep aids? Do you feel refreshed in the morning? Does your body feel good when you wake up?

These are all questions you should ask yourself in regards to your sleeping arrangements.

There's debate on how much sleep, varying by age, gender, lifestyle, and biochemistry. With the "how much" question, You literally have to experiment for a few weeks to see what works best for you.

As far as the quality goes, there are several things you can do to help you get a more sound snooze every night.

#1: Consistency is key. 

You have a few choices: Go to bed at the same time each night. Get the same number of hours each night. Wake up at the same time each morning. Whatever it is, be consistant.

Personally, I've found that it's difficult for me to guarantee that I go to bed at the same time each night due to schedule, travel, being able to fall asleep on command, etc. Getting the same number of hours each night also has proven difficult for me, as I feel like sometimes I need less, and sometimes I need more. What's worked the best for me is waking up at the same time each morning. No matter what I have going on (unless it's a rare super early schedule, like catching a 6am flight), no matter what day it is, I get up somewhere between 5:57am and 6:15am. If I sleep in, it's until 6:30. I find that as long as I stay within a 20 minute window of wake up time, my energy is pretty consistent throughout each day, without the help of any stimulants (ie, caffeine/sugar). I've adjusted my nighttime routine to help my morning routine (when I eat/drink, what I eat/drink, lighting, work, movement/playtime) so that I can go to sleep when my brain and body need to rest. Sometimes I go to bed at midnight, sometimes I go to bed at 8:30pm. Usually, it's around 10:30-11pm, but it all depends on what I have going on that day and how I feel. I'd rather go to bed early to "catch up" on sleep than sleep in the following morning.

I also start my morning with a glass of water upon waking. Yes, right after I wake up, sometimes even before my eyes open, I get my reflexive stretch, roll to my night stand, and drink at least a few gulps of room-temperature water I have waiting for me every morning. This wake my insides up. My organs and muscles get the hydration they need (our bodies are made up of 75% water, and often people don't drink enough throughout the day, leading to brain fog, constipation, fatigue, and less-than optimal organ function).

I'll also do at least a few minutes of mindful movement. It gets the creaks out, warms up the joints, tells me where I might need to be more conscious of that day (especially because of my stega). This works well not only for the physically pristine, but also the chronically injured and everyone in between. If your morning movements are mindful and wide-ranged, every movement you make throughout the day will have a good, supportive base, feeding into proper movement, and preventing compensations, dysfunctions, and injuries. Think of it as a primer. Having an early wake up time each day also allows ample time to fit this in your morning routine without having to rush anything. If I am in a rush (for example, because of a 6am flight), I'll make sure that I get at least one minute in before I leave (everyone has ONE minute they can spare, no matter what), and then when I get to the airport, I'll get in a few more minutes before hopping on the plane. Or, if I'm in the car, I'll still do some movements while at a light (there are many things you can do while seated, including breathing drills, isometrics, and lots of neck/shoulder mobility!).

#2: Eliminate Distractions:

Try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Pets/children, light from electronics, ambient light from neighbors/streets, sounds....although some people prefer white noise. Some people also like black out shades (there's debate with those, as having natural sunlight while waking up is also a really good thing for your circadian rhythm!). At the bare minimum, block out all the artificial light, especially those from your home electronics. I have my phone (which is also my alarm clock) in a completely different room, so when I do need to shut it off, I have to get up, make my way across the house (starts to turn my brain on), and it's much eaiser for me to stay up and get my day going, and less tempting to go back to bed.

Temperature/air flow is also important. Find your ideal balance (I like it a little on the colder side, because I like to snuggle in the blankets, with just a little air flow). Waking up periodically to find blankets or turn on/off the fan is no bueno.

#3: Mattress quality/type: 

You want a supportive mattress. Try before you buy. A mattress should support the contours of your body, not the salesperson's. Ideally, your mattress should allow you to have a neutral spine. Personally, I like a medium firmness and the ones with the individually pocketed coils. If you like it a little softer, you can also get one with a pillowtop. Again, try before you buy. You spend about a third of your life in bed, so make sure that time is well spent in a comfortable and proper position. You should wake up feeling refreshed, not achy.

Top: Too Soft       Middle: Too Hard      Bottom: Just right! Like Goldilocks :D

#4: Pillow types and accessory pillows

Like your mattress, your pillow should also allow you to have a neutral spine.

The type of pillow you have should match what type of sleeper you are. It's also advised to have extra pillows to support various parts of your body to allow your spine to stay in a relaxed/passive neutral position.

Side Sleeper: Something that contours so that the bottom is a bit raised to support your neck and shoulders, and the top is contoured so that there's a little dent for your head to go. Your shoulder/neck should not be scrunched together so that you feel like you're shrugging), and there should be no space between your neck/shoulder and the pillow. I like a contoured pillow with a space carved out for the shoulder for side sleepers.

Also, when you're on your side, the shape of your body and extremities mean you need some support between your legs and your arms, otherwise you have one hip and shoulder internally rotated (basically folded inwards) all night, potentially causing hip, low back, and shoulder issues. To remedy that, simply put a pillow between your knees and hug another pillow. A body pillow will also do the trick to hit 2 birds with one stone. And if you can find one of these gems, you'll probably never want to get out of bed:

Who needs a cuddle buddy when you have one of these?? 

Back Sleeper: Similar to the side sleeper pillow, but less height. You want that contour for your neck, and the little dent for your head. Make sure your head is not raised up too high, otherwise it's exacerbating the "text neck" position.

That one on the far left seems pretty weightless...but probably not ideal. 

I like the "D Core" pillows, or just a plain rolled up towel as a neck roll for back sleepers. Sleeping on your back is arguably the best position to sleep in for optimal body positioning.

I also recommend putting a pillow under your knees so support your lumbar spine and put your pelvis in a more neutral and relaxed position, especially if you have a bit more of a booty 

Stomach Sleeper: This is probably one of the worst positions to sleep in. Stomach sleepers often have neck and shoulder issues because their neck/head is in weird positions for extended periods of time. I highly recommend that if you are a stomach sleeper, to sleep train yourself into a side or back sleeper. But if you refuse to be a side or back sleeper, or you occasionally sleep on your stomach for whatever reason, I recommend having a "normal" pillow under your hips, as well as one vertical pillow under your torso to support your spine and give your head some room to be a little more neutrally positioned. If you need a pillow for your head, make it as thin and soft as possible so your neck is not in an awkwardly extended position all night.

If you can, this is a better way to "stomach sleep":

A body pillow also works well for this position. Make sure your hips and shoulders are supported.

Wild Sleeper: If you sleep in almost every conceivable position, I recommend having several pillows to support all of the positions. I like the "pillow box":

What my bed looks like whenever I travel. Extra pillows, please!!

The pillow box has the D-core pillow, and 3 other normal-sized pillows (one could also be a body pillow) so if you turn to either side or sleep on your back, you have something to hug and something to put under/between your knees. Sometimes I also like having that extra pillow on my back when I'm sleeping on my side, or a pillow cradling each arm if I'm sleeping on my back because I want to feel snuggled. Occasionally, I'll wake up and a pillow or two will be on the floor, but I'll usually have ended up with a pretty good sleep in the process.

Pillow Box Video

However you sleep, make sure your environment is ideal for being comfortable and uninterrupted. Sleep is an extremely important part of the recovery process for both your body and your brain, and for people like me, it's a complete reset button. Make the most of this third of your life!

Good night! ;)


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Power to the People

One of the roles in my career is to help people get better physically. I do this by helping them get stronger, able to access the parts of their body they need to, and finding and correcting dysfunctions. I also do this through education. Just training people and telling them what to do gets pretty boring for both myself and my clients, and it doesn't allow them to have any control over their journey. I believe that people need to understand at least a bit of what's going on and what to do about it to be able to truly become better ("get better" is only temporary...I like long term solutions).

If your job is to help others, do so by teaching them, not doing it for them. Don't give them the answers, help them come up with the answers themselves. Don't just talk at them or tell them what to do, explain to them why they should do it. Help them understand the "Why" so they can correct the "What."

If you're concerned you'll lose clients because your turnover will be higher and you'll have to work harder to get more clientele, you're not in the business for the right reasons. Those people will recommend others to you if you did a good job.

If you're worried they'll have questions that you don't have the answers to, step up your game. Admit when you don't have the answers (nobody has ALL of the answers, nor should be expected to), but be proactive about getting them. This will make you better, too.

Help people be sufficient on their own. Help them be independent. Give them the power to take care of themselves.

Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. (Chinese proverb)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Meditation for People Who Can’t Sit Still

Recently, I’ve been asked many times if I meditate by various people, and what my opinions of meditation are. For the people who know me, they know I can’t sit still for more than a couple minutes at a time, mostly because if I do, my stegaback tells me it’s not happy. It likes good movement. 
                                           Stega. Can you spot it?                                              Believe it or not, this is actually good for my back!! 
                                                                                                                                              #livetoplay #strengththerapy                    
For the record, pre-stega, I was able to sit/stand still for hours on end. When you’re a black belt in martial arts at belt testings, you have to stand for the duration of test while you watch others be tested....and you’re on call for being their testing opponent. I had to learn how to stand in the same spot, same position for a couple hours without making my joints hurt too badly. 

But now, with the stega, I’m forced to change positions every couple minutes or so (unless I’m lying down), so I don’t cause any pain for the next few days. Anyone with a bad back will be able to relate to that. 

This is how I sit. If I'm lucky. 

Having the stega has forced me to find different ways to accomplish the same things I did without the stega. Movement has been big in my life, and so has being mindful. As I got repeatedly formally introduced to meditation by a few people in the past several years, I realized that meditation is more about the state of mind and self-awareness than it is about sitting still with your legs crossed in silence. The things you accomplish during meditation should be pretty simple and clear: Know yourself more. Tune out the rest of the noise. Have a clear mind and concise intention. 

I believe these things can be done without silence. I believe they can be done without sitting or not moving. Of course, you can choose to meditate the traditional way if that works for you, but I don’t think it’s the only way. 

In school, I could never just study or even listen to lectures with complete focus without some sort of distraction. I would even tell my professors that I would have facebook open to provide short-term distractions so I could listen and pay attention to the lecture better. Sometimes I’d doodle. Sometimes I’d do work from other classes. I just needed something else there so that I could pay attention.

Eating, for example, you can meditate. You can be aware of what food is in front of you. Where the food came from, how it was cooked, what each bite tastes like, what the texture is. How’s the temperature? How do you feel when you put each bite in your mouth? Are you getting satiated? Should you eat more? Do you need more? Does this food make you feel good, clean, light, and satisfied? Do you need to add something to it, or is it fine the way it is?

By the way, meditative eating is an excellent way for people recovering from eating/food disorders to prevent going back into their old habits. Mindless eating is one of the biggest reasons why people eat too much. 

Some people use movement for their meditation. Even something as simple and common as walking. How do your feet feel on the ground? Where is your weight distributed? How does the rest of your body feel while walking? Are you walking with good posture? Is your torso rotating? Hips rotating? Good heel strike? Good supination and pronation? How is your pinky toe doing over there? 

And yet another form of meditation is just simply good goal-setting. Writing down things you want to get done. Why you want to get to that goal, and how to get there. What are the steps you need to take, what obstacles are you likely to encounter, and how are you going to approach those obstacles?

Meditating is just clearing out the noise and getting to know yourself a little better. Slow down, ask yourself questions, and notice how certain things make you feel, inside and out. You don’t have to sit in silence to make it work. Sometimes you need a little distraction to make the noise go away. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lessons From My Dad

My dad's life was celebrated 2 days ago. His 81 years of life. I'd only known him for 33 of those 81 years. My brother delivered the eulogy, and my dad's best friends spoke (my godbrother Steven spoke in lieu of my late godfather, who would have made the round complete). I learned a bit about my dad's history, pre-USA. I had heard the stories before, just not from those perspectives. I also had a chance to speak. I winged it. I wanted it to come from the heart. Reflecting over the last several weeks, I didn't really have much I wanted to share that people didn't already know. They knew he was funny, they knew he liked to eat, and they knew they liked him. I wanted people to know a different side of him. At the very last minute, I decided to speak about him as a father, since that had not been done yet, and I thought people should hear what a great father he was, since they already knew what a great friend he was.

My dad taught me in various ways (many he probably didn't even realize he was teaching me something valuable). He taught me to work hard to get what you want. He set the example with his entire life. He left mainland China to go to Taiwan when he was 11, selling newspapers to survive. His family couldn't go with him, so he was on his own. After he graduated college, he came to North America off borrowed money with nothing but the shoes on his feet, the clothes on his back, and a cardboard box of books. He got his masters in Canada, and moved to Michigan. He eventually got a job as a metallurgist in a tiny town called Greenville, and put up with decades of discrimination. This job kept our family financially comfortable. It allowed my brother and I a full-time mother, and the ability to see our dad every day and all weekends. It allowed family vacations, travel, good food, a house on the lake, 2 cars, and a boat. He put up with shit so his family could be taken care of. All he wanted was the best for his family. He didn't want us to go through anything close to what he had gone through growing up. He succeeded. 

My dad taught me quality over quantity. Obviously, he didn't grow up with money. He didn't spend frivolously. He only spent what was necessary, and when he was able to, he would pay himself back with something nice. It was always good quality. Why waste hard-earned money on something that will break, or not satisfy? Save a little extra, make the better quality purchase, and enjoy that purchase much more, and for a much longer time. 

Possessions are meant to be temporary. My dad was always wanting to purge things. Things that weren't being used, things that were just taking up space, things that were unnecessary. No sense in using up valuable space with junk. 

Appreciate the simpler things in life: nature, the view, flowers, food. Take the time to be in it, enjoy it, soak it all up. It does something to you that material possessions can't. Spend money on experiences. Experience things that are already free. Take nothing for granted. What's there today may not be there tomorrow.

My parents eating dinner on the patio, enjoying the view (which was the reason my dad bought the house)

Travel. Go places you haven't gone before. Take a shitload of pictures. My godbrother said that my dad was taking pictures of food before it was a thing. He told a story of when my dad had made a table of 10 hungry people (our 3 families) wait to eat a lobster dinner in Maine because he had to get the proper lens for his camera to take a picture of the lobsters lined up on the table. Dad took a lot of pictures everywhere we went.

Play. I never knew, but out of the "3 Chinese Musketeers" (my dad and his 2 best friends), my dad was the crazy one. Steven had mentioned that my dad was "the cool uncle" with his cool car, speed boat, cameras, and immediate willingness to participate in anything fun (he, without a blink, volunteered to be on the bottom of a human trapezoid---his solution to 1 too many for a human pyramid---with 4 teenagers and his 2 toddler children on top. The picture is epic). There's also a picture of him sitting on a white yak in Tibet (or somewhere like that) with his arms reached out like he was the King of the World age 79. Another of him after a couple hour stair climb to a high temple in China...standing on one foot, tilted starfish pose. Age 78, I believe. I hope I'm still like that when I'm 78.

 79 years young

Tilted Starfish pose

Do things properly. Don't half-ass it. Be able to be proud of your work. My dad would sometimes spend a little too much time on projects, just to get them as perfect as he could. But he was always putting out quality work. He had a pile of patents under his belt, and various home projects that you would have sworn a professional carpenter had put together. His written work was always well thought out and triple checked. 

Never give up on your dream, no matter what life throws at you. It took my dad 30 years of hard work to get to the point where he could take a breath of air without worrying about where his next meal would come from. My dad married my mom at 45 (waited until he was financially capable of supporting a family). Kids at 46 and 47. Retired at 67. Moved to California at 69. Hiked the mountains of China at 79. Built an entertainment center at 80 (his last finished project). 

Be able to be independent. Don't rely on others. Be able to do everything yourself if need be. Figure it out. Get creative. Problem solve. If something you need doesn't exist or isn't available, create it. He was the McGuyver before McGuyver. 

Have a solid support system. Create your family. Blood, or otherwise. You really can't do it all by yourself, nor should you. Ask for help when you need it, and accept help when needed and offered. Always repay your debts. Never expect others to repay theirs. He was one of the most rationally selfless people I knew.

Of course, there are tons of other lessons my dad taught me. The list is pretty long. So many memories with my dad. I'm lucky to have had him as a father. He is missed dearly, but his impact on others will stay around for a very, very long time. I'd like to say his spirit lives within me, but if I can even have 1/10th of his spirit show through me, I'd be pretty damn lucky.

I love you, Dad

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Different Type of Rehab

Therapy and Rehabilitation comes in many forms.

It could mean physical therapy/rehab.

It could mean seeking a psychiatrist.

It could mean writing/drawing/creating.

Know your audience.

Lately, I've tried several ways to help my dad rehabilitate from all the medical procedures he's had from his cancer treatments. He's 81. Five years ago, his doctor told him he had the health/body of a 55 y/o. He was active, socially, physically, and mentally. And then came the diagnosis. Since then, he's adapted to the role of cancer patient. Lots of rest, stress (self-induced, as he is a natural worrier), and stubborn as hell (well, that's normal for him).

Over the course of the last 3 years, his health has declined more than I could have ever imagined. He could no longer rotate any part of his body (he looked like Batman when he wanted to turn to look at something). During my infrequent trips back home in the past year, I tried various ways of helping him regain his physical strength and mobility, and mental health. Short walks, sit-to-stands and general strengthening, getting him to get out of bed in general. I was met with, at best, extremely short-lived attempts (usually one or two days at the most). The most that happened was my mom being successful in bribing him to watch tv shows in the living room (got him out of bed), and between shows to get up and walk around and drink some water before she put the next show on (ended up being about once every 2-3 shows).

A few weeks ago, we got some even more devastating news that his oncologist was lying to us since the beginning, and his prognosis was worse than she'd been telling us (We fired her after that, by the way).

Since then, I made the decision to move back to California, to help my dad live the rest of his life as happy and capable as he can, and to prevent my mom from letting her health go from inactivity due to being a sole caretaker (which had happened for over 7 months since last May, after my dad's last surgery).

I had a deep talk with my dad shortly after the terrible news. He'd been stuck in the mentality of needing help, needing to be taken care of, needing to not do anything because he's fragile. He was afraid of dying. Understandable. I explained to him again the details and severity of what had happened with the oncologist, and what that meant for him. I acknowledged his fear of dying, but raised the question of what he wants to do with the rest of his life. How did he want to live?

I encouraged him to start incorporating small, menial tasks into his daily life. Things that he didn't consider "exercise," but they involved functions that he was either quickly losing, or had already lost. Making his bed in the morning, opening his pill and water bottles by himself, washing and preparing fruit he wanted to eat, dressing himself, opening doors, getting in and out of the car by himself. I refuse(d) to help him with anything less than lifting something over 10 pounds.

He wants to be the patient because he doesn't feel well. He wants to be taken care of. But he now also understands the importance of doing little things every day to regain/maintain normal function. He knows he doesn't want to be an invalid laying on a bed for the remainder of his life. He now makes more of an attempt to be a normal person, including accompanying my mom to the senior center while she plays ping pong with their friends. He socializes while she plays. He leaves the house and breathes the fresh air and gets more sun now. He washes some dishes (no knives). He kind of cleans up after himself. He does and folds his own laundry. He's now playing mahjong with friends on a weekly basis. His spirit is much more alive.

I don't know much time my dad will have left on this earth, but I do know that he's trying to make it the best time that he can.

Rehabilitation can happen at any age, at almost any condition. You just have to find the thing that will light the fire in them.

And then, baby steps. Consistency is the most important. If the steps are too big, it is not sustainable. Baby steps. It will take trial, error, patience, encouragement, and stern love.

Most importantly, it will take actionable love.