Becoming a disabled dentist is painful both physically and psychologically. One of the best ways to fight back and survive is communication. You have a survivor story to tell. We often hear from others that they are so sorry that such a bad thing happened to us.  The genuine concern of others is most appreciated, but what we really want to hear is congratulations.  Congratulations that we survived. Congratulations that we are alive.  It is so important to look beyond the event that brought you to this point,  but in retrospect you will benefit by sharing your story of disability.

By sharing your story you will help not only yourself, you will genuinely help others. It is  so important that we know we are not alone. How comforting it feels when someone else says that they have experienced the same emotions, frustrations , and pain that you now have.  This may sound like we lack compassion for others, but the opposite is true. We will survive as a team. As the founding fathers wrote over two hundred years ago; “Either we hang together or we will surely hang separately”.  By talking/writing/sharing your story you strengthen you resolve to persevere and simultaneous comfort and motivate others. You are still a healthcare professional. You may not be able to help others clinically right now, but you can help them overcome the disability crisis they now face.

We look forward to hearing your story. We plan to tell individual stories of survival weekly. Of course, we will not include any names or places in our communication with others. Your individual story is a gift to others. Use it to motivate and really encourage others to survive. Go ahead and be a little selfish, it will help you too.  Start by just talking with your friends, family , and spouse. When you feel more generous, talk with others about your survival and plans to transition.

Any information is beneficial. Let us know about your personal experiences. We all need to know about how you survived. What problems did you have? Did you have any problem with your disability insurance company?  How did you deal with your practice?  Do you have any good ideas to share?  The old proverb, “many hands make light work” is so valid in this area. By sharing your experiences, others may avoid unnecessary grief and frustration.  Believe us, you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment by being involved and still being relevant even when you are disabled.

We don’t expect you will immediately stand up and volunteer. Reluctance to even speak about disability is an unfortunate trait we as dentists share. We also know of the generosity that our profession has demonstrated.  The time will come that you want to still be a part of the dental team. Help the team win. Become a part of something bigger than we are as individuals. In preschool, one of the very first lessons your child is taught is sharing. We want you to share your experiences, both the good and bad. Others will learn and cherish your gift.


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