by Mary Jo
(Happy Jack, Arizona US)
My name is Mary Jo, I am 54 years old. I have two grown sons and five grandchildren all of whom I am very proud.
I live alone with my dog in a little place in the mountains of northern Arizona called Happy Jack. I have lived there for 16 years. The altitude is about 7,200 ft. It is very beautiful, but the older I get, sometimes challenging. My home uses solar power only because electricity has never been available. I haul every drop of water I need from a well about a quarter of a mile from my home.
It is a wonderful place where neighbors help each other, whether it maintaining the well or cutting wood. I love this lifestyle and will live there as long as my health allows. I have a disease called Scleroderma, it is an autoimmune, connective tissue illness that causes inflammation, hardening of joints, internal organs, tissue and skin. It causes chronic pain, stiffening joints, organ failure and high blood pressure from kidney malfunction.
I also have degenerative disc disease and a torn disc at L4-5. I am as active as a person with this illness can be. I have undergone several types a of treatment and take many medications that improve the quality of my life and enable me to function.
I have tried to take care of my teeth but between the illness, treatment, and medications it been devastating to my dental health. I had seen a dentist as often as I could afford but have received poor treatment. I am embarrassed to say that I now have only 8 teeth on the top and 7 and a partial on the bottom. I am having difficulty eating as I only have one molar. These remaining teeth are now decayed and painful and I am embarrassed by my appearance.
I am also aware of the danger these decayed teeth pose to the health of my heart. I do not receive any type of public assistance and have no desire to do so. I meet my own needs. This need I cannot meet.
I was made aware that on occasion some dentists give grants for dental treatment but it could be three years before you would be notified if you were chosen to receive treatment.
I had prayed I could find a way to get implants when my dental needs became critical,even though I am in poor health I still consider myself a young woman. I do the best I can to take care of myself. I watch my weight, I keep as mobile as I can. I still care about my appearance and thought implants would look better and I would feel better about myself.
I now know implants are out of the question. The cost of dentures are going to be a financial hardship for me, adding to that the fee for extractions I may not be able to afford to take care of this problem for months.
I would love to be the recipient of this dental vacation but whoever is the recipient will be eternally grateful for this life changing event, for that, Thank You