Monday, September 19, 2011

Looong Overdue Updates

Wow I just realized I haven't really written in here in like a month! Have been so busy. A lot has happened since my 26th appointment. I am going to keep this general for now and write some more specific appointment updates real soon.
Let me see...In the past several weeks:

I had two more fundraising events totaling almost $300 more dollars.
After pulling those events off and working on my birthday presents for my dentist, I kinda exhausted myself for 3 or 4 days, in addition to my quest I haven't really mentioned in here yet, of trying to break some of the world records for most pull-ups. I am up to 292 in an hour. I wasn't really eating and sleeping enough that week and it took me a few more weeks to build my strength back up.

I am up to 31 appointments now, and about a week away from having my first bridge delivered on teeth 4-6 (upper right side canine and premolars).

I stumbled upon a Crest and Oral B-sponsored contest as an ad while browsing youtube with a grand prize of $25K and to be a guest on the Rachel Ray Show, and a friend and I spent like 20 hours at the last minute filming and editing my 2 minute video submission in order to make the deadline in time. I learned a lot about video editing and am excited to work on playing around with some other video projects soon, possible a silly "training montage" like the ones from Rocky and other movies of me doing crazy exercises or prepping for a bike tour in random downtown Phoenix locations. The two grand prize winners are announced right around the corner on September 30th, so please cross your fingers for me! I will discuss more about my thoughts on and all I learned from my video later.

The one year anniversary of when Pinar and I left Phoenix to begin the bike tour just passed on September 15. (Ironically enough, it was also the deadline for my submission to the Life Opens Up Project.)
This is what the beginning of an epic two month camping, hiking, biking, life-changing adventure looks like.

It was both a heartbreaking and inspiring day to know how much of my life changed as a result of that adventurous two months we spent together, the majority of which I still haven't fully reflected on, written about, or shared with anyone.
Hike and Bike 4 Life, Bitch.

Pinar taking a break in the Redwoods on Avenue of Giants, CA.

One of my many action figure costumes. Almost to San Fran.

Avenue of Giants, in love with the Redwoods

I spent that day thinking about our time together on that journey and how profoundly life-changing our year together in 2010 was for the both of us as friends, healers, lovers, traveling partners and playmates, and my current transformational journey with Rakhee and how far I have come in the past year as I biked 51 miles that night and also set a new personal pull-up record, doing 4 reps with 50% of my weight added.

I won the Employee of the Month award for the first time in my life as voted on by the homeless youth I serve. It felt really great, thinking back to how far I have come as a social worker at Tumbleweed in the past 3 1/2 years, also knowing that when I first got re-hired in January when this whole story was beginning I barely spoke and was incredibly self-conscious with my recently broken tooth and it was really difficult for me to open up and engage with dozens of youth on a daily basis and not fear potential questions about my mouth. It was a true honor to know that they feel I am helping them, when in some ways I feel like I am the most focused on myself as well as I have ever been. Their stories are an empowering inspiration in my life right now as much as anything, and I am honored to have my job and every day try to fill these crazy intense shoes and be the most positive mentor and role model I can summon the strength and face to be each day. I know I never could have done this job a year ago, and that fact and my picture hanging on the wall is one more empowering fact to remind me daily of how much I have grown, both with the support of my dentist and with Tumbleweed.

At my last appointment, Rakhee and I met the Dr. who will be placing my implants for a consultation, and I have scheduled my appointment for my last 3 extractions, bone grafts, first two molar implants and also to receive a 4-tooth provisional denture for the time being til implants are finished if all goes according to the plan for October 4th. (That is a LOT for one day.) I must admit I am pretty intimidated by this one. This will be the first time in like 15 years I will be able to see myself with all my front teeth, even if they aren't permanent yet. It is definitely going to be weird. I got all my extractions out of the way like 6 months ago and have worked on smaller stuff for so long, and so much pressure in my brain seems to be riding on what my front teeth will finally look like that now that we are finally reaching that moment it seems a little surreal to lose the last parts of me that are to be removed. I am currently payed through all of that and a little more for now. So it is also going to be weird to not go to the dentist for a long time, or have the remainder of my appointments much more spaced out as I can afford them after I spent the past several months sometimes having as many as two a week. I frankly have spent more time talking to my dentist than I have with probably anyone else I know outside of work since this journey began, and I would certainly be lying if I didn't already miss my dental partner in crime as I think of the months that lay ahead.

Next up, I basically need to raise the funds asap for my remaining four implants to be placed, while I wait for all of them to heal and fuse to the bone so the crowns can be placed. I.e, now comes the expensive part. So now I am basically back to trying to organize more local fundraisers and sell art and cookies and tshirts and do bike repair and odd jobs and basically every crazy thing I can come up with to try and hustle like three more grand by late October to hopefully place those implants before Rakhee leaves to go on rotation in for a few months. So this is me, once again, asking for help, in any way you have the time, energy or funds to offer. This could mean as little as sharing my story with others and helping me to network and/or get media coverage, to offering to perform, donate ingredients at future dinner parties, letting me tune up your bike for tips, tshirt printing orders, stencil art commissions and basically any and every idea you might have is possible. Host your own event, have a yard sale, donate things for raffles, you name it! Tell your friends when I have events. I feel like I work like 5 jobs right now, and also am trying to exercise 10-15 hours per week which is a whole other job in and of itself, but I am open to all options and I know that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. It is always just a matter of finding a balance and staying focused.

Please send me positive energy around the 30th and maybe this contest will miraculously answer all of these questions for me!
Thank you all for reading, and I am going to try to find more time to catch up on a lot of the entries in my head I have been neglecting to get out over the past month. Please drop me a line at if you would like to discuss helping me in any way, or if you need help I can assist you with. Thank you!
Remember when practically this whole thing was red?? It's getting closer and closer to being all blue!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Please vote for me by Thursday September 15th for a crazy chance to possibly pay for all my dental work!!

Hello. HUGE apologies for such a long hiatus. I have SO much to update, but for now, I have to put it on hold for a bit longer to invite all my readers around the world to PLEASE take a few minutes and watch this video I made as my submission to a Crest and Oral B-sponsored contest, the Life Opens Up Project. If they pick my entry, I will win $25,000 and a guest and I, HOPEFULLY my dentist (!) will be flown to NYC to appear on the Rachel Ray Show in the next few months.

Here is the LINK.

Please share and help me get last minute votes--some other videos have been posted weeks ago and the contest ends in 4 days. Votes are only a small portion of the judging, but every little bit counts and could mean the difference between winning and losing. I have never been more excited about a potential opportunity. This could be my chance to tear down all the walls of repression around dental care and speak for millions of people suffering and living in alienation and fear on National Television. Tell me, when in all seriousness is the last time anything about dental care and oral heath ever made the news, or anyone with teeth like mine was ever shown in any media unless being made fun of. I think I have a pretty good chance to win, but I need your help!

This video is also the most recent footage of the real me that exists. I hope you will watch and vote, and I will love you even more if you repost and share in any manner possible. Maybe at the last minute I can go viral on twitter and have a landslide! At this point, after all I have been through and all the showers of positivity from around the world, I truly believe than anything is possible. So thank you all for helping to manifest those dreams and slowly build my new empowerment. Wish me luck!