A few years ago, the ADA produced a video on oral cancer. It told the stories of two women who were diagnosed with squamous cell carcinomas of the tongue. One of the women in the story was Eva Grayzel. She is a professional storyteller who had a sore on her tongue. Her dentist looked at it and asked her to come back in two weeks to recheck the area. She did so and it looked the same, so the dentist referred her to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. The tissue was examined by a general pathologist, not an oral pathologist. The general pathologist missed the dysplastic cells. Oral pathology should always be sent to an oral pathologist. Eva went to several other dental and medical people, but no one had an answer for the discomfort she was experiencing in her mouth.
Finally, she went to a head and neck surgeon (an otolaryngologist) in New York, who took one look and said she had a stage IV squamous cell carcinoma and needed immediate surgery. It was an extensive surgery, but it saved her life because she survived the cancer. At the time, her children were five and seven, and she did not know if she would survive. Eva did not know how to tell her children what cancer was. Her children were deeply affected by watching her struggle with the severe effects of her treatment. As a result, Eva founded the Talk4Hope book series that helps children understand a cancer diagnosis, and acquire the skills for coping and communicating.
As a result of Eva’s experience, you and I don’t need to fret about how to talk to children about cancer. Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek, by Eva Grayzel, helps children understand the life of cancer from the perspective of the charming and personable Mr. C himself. The book is currently listed for national distribution by Atlas books. You can buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all major booksellers for under $5, which is an affordable price in order to help as many children as possible.
You can help more children by forwarding this information to your friends who work in hospitals, cancer centers, pharmaceuticals, health-care companies, libraries, schools, foundations, and any other place that you can think of.
This year, the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Dental Museum will celebrate its 16th anniversary. If you have not visited the museum, you need to put this on your bucket list when you visit the Baltimore area. I know that you’ll be excited and proud of the manner in which our great profession is presented in the past and present.
July is a good month to look at those goals that you wrote down back in December or January to see how you’re doing, and to make strategic shifts in your action plan to reach those goals. I would also recommend that you examine your vision. Are you really all you want to be? Vision is what helps you become the you that you want to be. How can you possibly get there if you don’t have a goal in mind? I urge you to get off by yourself and let your mind explore the impossible. Dream the impossible dream and then find a way to fulfill it!
As many of you know, I have a real understanding of the value of my clinical assistants. If they don’t show up, I go home. They seem to know more about the procedures than I do, and I can’t find anything if they aren’t there, so I might as well leave. I guess you might call that job security for the assistants! I know that my assistants have established a trust relationship with our patients. This is extremely important to the patients and to me.
In my job, I get to speak to many dentists and assistants. It takes a concentrated effort by all members of the staff to create a successful practice. Success does not necessarily mean being the highest producer. Success means many things to many people. In my practice, we strive for happiness. I feel that a successful dental practice should be fun. Nothing reduces stress better for me than a smile or a pat on the back. This means we need to turn our staff into a team. This is a group of people with a common purpose who realize that “together, everyone achieves more.”
Another dentist recently reminded me that if you want to soar with eagles, you have to surround yourself by eagles. Go for it!
Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor
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