I have a connective tissue disease (CTD)—which one exactly is still to be determined—but like many CTDs, multiple bodily systems and parts are affected. My chronic illness is why I walk with crutches, it's why I take powerful painkillers, and it's why I use a wheelchair.
I've spent the past few years building my life around my illness, and now do my trans advocacy work across Ireland, across Europe and around the world with [relatively!!!] little pain, thanks to mobility aids, accessible housing and disability benefits. With one big exception.
One of the less well-known impacts of some CTDs is effects relating to maxillofacial structure, oral health, and tooth formation. My family doesn't have a good record for dental health, and unfortunately I've got the short end of the stick in that regard (enamel hypoplasia combined with the connective tissue nonsense). From baby teeth breaking in two, to local anaesthetic just not working well on me, to severe chronic pain today, my connective tissue and enamel haven't been fit for purpose at any point in my life.
As I do more and more international work, more and more public speaking, and more and more complicated work involving a lot of talking, my maxillofacial health is holding me back more and more. It's only a matter of time before my general health and work is massively impacted by this, so it's time to do something about it.
I have found an oral surgeon who is knowledgeable about CTDs and who is in an accessible practice, yay! No easy feat. I'm undergoing a multi-stage consultation at present looking at bone scans and MRIs etc to see what works best for me outcomes-wise. The surgery is a combination of maxillofacial surgery and implant dentistry, and will benefit me greatly for the rest of my life. This would, in no small way, be lifechanging, for self-confidence, for health stability, and for quality of life overall.
So, £30,000 is a lot of money, but it's not the whole amount. I'm likely to be paying an additional £15,000 on top of that. Yikes! Unfortunately I don't have the sort of credit or riches required to finance this directly, so I'm hoping to raise at least part of this £45,000 total amount via crowdfunding. If you need more detailed information on the procedure, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Like I've done with other, smaller crowdfunders I've done for myself and others, I'm intending to pay this forward to other disabled people when I can, and to continue to give platforms to similar fundraising efforts with my own growing audience online.