By Hillary Lau

Meet Myra, one of our physical therapists!

Meet Myra, one of our new Physical Therapists. We are so happy that she decided to join our family in December. Myra was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has since made Hawaii her home.

Myra graduated with a Bachelors in Public Health from UC Irvine in 2010 and earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine in Northern San Diego in 2016. She works out of the Kaneohe clinic at the Kokokahi YWCA, doing both physical therapy in the clinic and aquatic physical therapy in the pool.

What is your specialty?
I enjoy working with all types of orthopedic conditions, especially those originating from the spine. I also have a background in treating patients with neurological conditions including post-stroke and spinal cord injuries. More recently, I’ve taken an interest in women’s health.

What made you decide to become a physical therapist?
Being physically active was always a big part of my lifestyle. I grew up bike riding and rollerblading around my neighborhood, ran cross country and played tennis in high school, and found a love for hiking and stand up paddling as I got older. These were the things in life that kept me healthy and happy. In college, I wanted to choose a career path that involved helping others. Physical Therapy sparked my interest after I began volunteering at a local PT clinic during my junior year. I loved how involved PT’s were with their patient’s care, their role as a coach/teacher during the road to recovery, and their advocacy for health and wellness. Most importantly, PT’s cared about their patients' goals, whether it be returning to gardening or running a marathon. I wanted to become a PT to help people get back to the things they love doing; the things that kept them happy and healthy.

Who was your biggest influence?
My parents and husband are my biggest influence. My parents have always been supportive of my choices in life and have never doubted me. My husband motivates me to strive for my goals and always makes me feel like anything is possible.

What is your first memory of Fukuji & Lum?
I remember thinking how friendly everyone was when I first met the staff, and how easy it felt to fit in with the F&L ohana. I also remember saying “wow, I get to work here every day” when I saw the bay view from the Kaneohe clinic!

Not only does F&L care about helping others, but this organization also values its employees’ happiness, health, and wellbeing.

What's your "Why"?
I love helping others help themselves. Getting patients to understand their pain and giving them the tools they need to alleviate their symptoms is my goal as a PT. If I can make a small difference in someone's life, then I know I’ve accomplished some good on this earth!

By Deb Matsuura

We Welcome Liz to the Fukuji and Lum Ohana!

Fukuji & Lum welcomes our fourth Co-op this semester, Liz, to our Ohana. She will be working with our aquatic therapists in the pool and at our outpatient physical therapy clinic in Kaneohe.

Liz is our guest blogger this week and shares a little introduction about why she got into physical therapy and her experience so far in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college? I went to Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine and I am now in the DPT program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? I grew up playing sports year-round so I was constantly focused on the way my body moved. I went to physical therapy for my own sports-related injuries in early high school and it opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. I decided to do a job shadow with a couple of physical therapists in my area and that’s when I knew I wanted to be an expert on the way the body moved and pursue a career in physical therapy.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? The ocean and mountains of Hawaii are what initially grabbed my attention when I began my coop search. After I heard previous coop’s descriptions of the Fukuji and Lum culture, and saw the mission and values highlighted on the F&L website I knew I wanted to be a part of the fun, happy, and compassionate family I had heard about.

What has your experience been like so far? I’ve had an amazing experience so far. Rather than dreading going to work in the morning and counting the hours until the end of each work day, as I have found myself doing with previous jobs that I’ve had, I look forward to going to work and I find that the days fly by. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and patients, and I have become more excited for my future as a physical therapist.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Spam.

What is on your to-do list while here? I want to take advantage of the mountains and the ocean by hiking and swimming regularly and hopefully learning how to surf. I also hope to create lasting relationships with people that I meet, and learn as much as I can about PT from my co-workers and my experience.

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be? I hope to be a therapist who can help my patients understand how amazing their bodies are and show them how to manipulate the way they move so that they are confident in taking control of their own recoveries.

Who is your greatest influence in your life? As the youngest of five kids in my family, I have always had a lot of people to look up to. My parents, sisters, and brothers have showed me how to think critically, how to study, how to be considerate of others, how to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and much much more. I continue to learn from each of them every day.

I have also met some pretty great people in my past two years at Northeastern. I constantly find myself describing my classmates and friends as some of the smartest, kindest and most hardworking people I know. I have met so many people worthy of raving about, and being around them has made me want to push myself harder in all aspects of my life.

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By Mark Yanai

The Hi Life of the Supposed

 

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This past semester, Natalia, one of the five Northeastern University Co-ops worked with me at our W.O.R.C. site and with Randy at our Kailua clinic. She was one of the PT students that was exposed to and later immersed in Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) techniques, something exciting and new to F&L. Natalia has since returned to Boston to resume classes and continue her pursuit of her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

She spent her last weekend in Hawaii attending F&L’s closed course on PRI, which I wrote about in my last blog. I had just returned from my trip to Boston where I commented to everyone that “no one has heard of any student named Natalia”.  She was then given the name “Supposed” by James Anderson, our course instructor.

I don’t always get to work closely with the Co-Ops as they are assigned to our various clinics, but when I do, I get very attached to them. Natalia was no different and we got to know each other well. She was a terrific student of the craft and I know she’ll become an excellent clinician. We will definitely miss her presence at the clinics and wish her the best in her future endeavors. We are so grateful to Natalia for writing about her experience working with F&L and the fun she had living on the island for six months.

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My Co-Op Experience: Natalia

Upon my return to Boston, I’ve heard the same question over and over from my classmates and friends: “How was Hawaii?” This is a surprisingly difficult question for me. I usually answer with some variation on the words “spectacular”, “completely amazing”, or perhaps a succinct “epic”, but no matter what I say, the words seem lacking to describe how much the experience truly meant to me.

Living in Kailua and working at Fukuji & Lum has without a doubt been the best six months of my life to date. I got to work with such amazing, compassionate, intelligent people who provided me a real life example of what culture- and value-oriented health care is all about. I got to learn from uniquely skilled, experienced, and dedicated physical therapists who were incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and went out of their way to give me an educational experience I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else. I got to become familiar with types of treatments not all practitioners learn even after graduation, such as PRI, Strain-Counterstrain, and NAIOMT.

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Over the past six months, I have grown so much and become more confident in myself as an individual, a healthcare professional, and a future physical therapist. And of course, I got to do all this in between weekends spent exploring sheer clifftops, cascading waterfalls, colorful pillboxes, jungle forests, ancient ruins, hidden treehouses, vibrant reefs, and white-sand beaches; eating amazingly ono grinds from all around the island, from the food trucks in Haleiwa to ramen in Honolulu; and visiting unique cultural places like the city graffiti of Kaka’ako or the tranquil beauty of the Byodo-in Temple, among so many others.

Along the way, I got to forge incredible friendships with my coworkers, roommates, patients and more. Living in Hawaii taught me to open up so much more than I ever used to and showed me just how easy it is to make friends, be it with someone I met on the top of the Makapu’u lighthouse hike, in downtown Honolulu, at the beach playing volleyball, or even in the clinic. I’m so grateful that I got to share some pretty awesome island experiences with such a large variety of people. No matter where I was or how much of a stranger I felt at first, I was always welcomed and treated like ohana. From my experience, the “aloha spirit” is very much a real and tangible thing; the islands really bring people together.

One of the things I’m really glad I did was visiting Kauai to take in the views along the steep Na Pali Coast hike and from the top of Waimea Canyon. Each island is so different and offers so many unique experiences, which I didn’t realize until after I had gone to Kauai. I hope to come back to Hawaii and experience more of the adventures each island has to offer. And despite all the hikes and adventures I managed to fit in, there are still things on my Oahu bucket list I have yet to do!

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As I return to classes and adjust back to life in Boston (which, right now, is far hotter and stickier than Hawaii was, unfortunately), I am constantly reminded about how lucky and blessed I was to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, bays and waterfalls in the world, all within such close reach. I deeply treasure all of the connections and ongoing relationships I made there, and it’s hard to be so far away; the island life already seems so distant. I think warmly of the patients I helped to treat and the amazing people I worked with, and I’m trying to bring some of that aloha spirit they showed me along with me back to Boston. If I’m being honest, I wish I could still be working at Fukuji & Lum – six months seemed too short! But I know that the rest of my education lies in front of me, and the island will always be there to welcome me back. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle to listening to Kolohe Kai and Jack Johnson while studying for midterms in the library, dreaming of Lanikai beaches.

Mahalo and aloha oe to everyone in Fukuji & Lum and anyone who’s touched my life in Hawaii in someway. I hope to be back to say aloha again some day.

Love,

Natalia

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By Mark Yanai

Family Fun Day at the Beach

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F&L Summer Fun

F&L celebrated the end of summer with a “Family Fun Day” at Honeymoon Beach located on Hickam Air Force Base. The company shut down production for an entire day so that staff members and their families could gather together on a private beach for some summer fun. We pride ourselves on putting family values at the top of our list of priorities and this was a great example of our company commitment to the staff.

Very few locals know of Honeymoon Beach. It was created in the 1960s when the U.S. Air Force created an ocean recreational complex on the shore of Hickam A.F.B. Completed in 1965, it included a small beach harbor and two beaches which were excavated out of surrounding coral flats. Sand was brought in from other military installations on Oahu and constructed through a self-help program with the assistance of Hickam’s civil engineers and Kaneohe marines.

Use of the beach is restricted to active and retired military personnel, their dependents and guests. It was given it’s name because it is separate from Hickam Beach Park and isolated in a cove. It’s unique in that it is adjacent to the airport runway and commercial planes pass by frequently on their way to the takeoff runway.

 

Our Culture Club, volunteer staff members from each of our clinics who take on the role of nurturing our company values, organized this year’s first annual Family Fun Day. The club wanted to create an annual event that would give staff members and their families the opportunity to come together as one big ohana.

Honeymoon beach made for a perfect venue as the F&L ohana was able to enjoy, relax and fellowship with one another. It was a beautiful day, filled with good food, lots of sun and fun beach games. Hopefully, Family Fun Day will be an event that we can all look forward to attending each year.

Here are some of the special moments captured at the beach.

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By Mark Yanai

F&L’s 4th Annual Free Car Wash

This past Saturday, F&L held it’s 4th Annual Free Car Wash at the Kokokahi YWCA. Each year, F&L offers a FREE car wash as a service to our Windward community. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for supporting our organization. This year is extra special, as we celebrate twenty years of providing physical therapy to our community.

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The car wash was the perfect event for our patients to watch us sweat as we washed their dirty cars. My favorite moment happened when one of my current patients enjoyed bossing me around by pointing out spots that I missed on her car so she could return the “favor” of working hard in therapy. She was determined to make us feel the wrath of her commands even though her truck was already spotless! We all had a great laugh!

Community events like the car wash are great ways for F&L to express our company values. F&L has always placed our values at the forefront of our commitments. Nurturing relationships is perhaps our greatest value and expressing gratitude toward those that we serve can be a powerful reminder of that value. Seeing our patients arrive at the car wash allowed us to interact with them in a different setting, which often brought on smiles and laughter.

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We look forward to continuing our tradition of free car washes for many years to come. The feeling of declining to accept donations was fulfilling and continued to bring disbelief among patrons.  See you all next year with your dirty cars!

Please look for information for next year’s car wash on our website and Facebook page.