In this wonderful profession of mine, I get to see people from various backgrounds and cultures along with myriad personalities. I guess that’s true for any service industry. I personally believe that dentistry provides the unique opportunity for us to get to know patients on a personal level as we tend to their worst fears and insecurities. Every day I get to experience these diverse emotions in people, both good and bad. Occasionally, it does get challenging to emotionally distance yourself from what your patient is going through. Depending on how closely you interact and how attached you get, patients become your family and you end up becoming a part of these roller coaster experiences of their triumphs and tribulations over a period of time. I feel blessed to be able share these with my patients and my team members and as an extension, with my readers here.
This post is about a patient who is very close to my heart. She is the epitome of positivity and strength. She came to my office by sheer coincidence and when we shook hands for the first time nothing seemed amiss. On further conversation, I came to know of the extremely difficult health journey she was going through.
To put it mildly, she was in the eye of a storm but, you wouldn’t know it. She was probably in her late 20s or early 30s. The fact that she was weathering such a storm with such grace was mind boggling to say the least. I saw her at least 4-5 times after that initial visit but never did I see her in a negative frame of mind, never did I hear even the slightest hint of self-pity. There must have been moments when she broke down, but I never saw her in that state. She was always well put together, with a beautiful smile, even if she’d had a gruesome hospital appointment just hours before.
One day, I told her that she was an inspiration to me and that I took strength from her indomitable spirit whenever I was having a bad day. She teared up just a little and said that she needed to hear that. She said that she’d just had an extremely difficult day and was seeking spiritual strength to keep her going with all the positive blessings that she has in life. That right there is a person of resilience, positivity, and a humble human being. She went on to say that we made her feel very special when she came to our office but the truth was that it was a great day for me whenever I got to see her.
I pray to the universe that she receives what she seeks and regains her health fully.
Let’s be grateful for everything we have big and/or small.
I wrote this post a few months ago and hadn’t quite gotten around to publishing it. I’m happy to report that we now have a very positive update. I saw the patient recently and told her about sharing her story, while maintaining her privacy. However, she was eager for me to share her story on a personal level with all the details in the hope of helping many more people.
Her name is Marketa Ford and she was diagnosed with Lupus when she was 17. Her Lupus resulted in kidney failure, because of which she ended up needing a kidney transplant. She moved to Texas from LA when I first met her and we were working out the logistics of getting dental clearance to get her the kidney transplant. She was getting dialysis done every single day of the week. There were some extremely rough patches along the way with multiple dental specializations involved. Through all these difficult times, I never saw Marketa waver in her faith nor in her strength. She finally had her kidney transplant done and is on her way to recovering to leading a healthy life. In all this Marketa has had steadfast support from her husband, Tyrin Ford.
Both Marketa and Tyrin shared their hope for more people to come forward in signing up for organ donation. A catastrophic loss of life could save many more lives in dire need of organ replacement. Marketa was extremely lucky to have found a perfect kidney match in her husband, but the process was not without its share of red tape and hurdles. Few people are as lucky to find a donor match.
I sincerely hope that the next time you renew your driver’s license you check the box for organ donation. We all will have to move on from this earth at some point, so let’s make our lives count by saving another when we leave. #vsmilefamily #teamvsmile
To learn more about Marketa and her non-profit organization that rallies for people affected by lupus, please visit their website