I used to be obese. I stood 6′ 1″ and weighed 265 pounds.  I was an active alcoholic. That meant drinking almost every day and subsisting on garbage masquerading as food. I was sedentary. If we’re being honest here, I was a complete loser.  

The entire world was to blame for my predicament. It was my parents’ fault. Society was responsible. I made some mistakes, and without a time machine, there was nothing I could do about them so why not embrace the freefall into the abyss?

I got sober over 16 years ago. Something changed, and then everything changed. I lost a few pounds simply because I wasn’t filling my body with beer. I needed a way to fill the time I’d previously spent drinking, so I gave the gym a try. I had no idea what I was doing. I just tried to figure it out. Eventually I hired a trainer, but only for a few sessions. I started eating healthier foods too although continuing with the theme of blissful ignorance, I really had no idea about what I was doing.

The spin bike was my favorite station at the gym. Pedaling fast with significant resistance left a pool of sweat beneath me which made me feel a real sense of accomplishment. What if I rode a bike outdoors? It seemed a ridiculous thought since I hadn’t been on a bike since rolling around St. Louis’s south side on a Huffy twenty years earlier. Plus, that didn’t fit my self-image.

But I was writing a new narrative for my life. This was the next chapter. So, I bought a bike. And rode it. A lot. I No spandex for me. Adorned in punk hardcore t-shirts and mesh basketball shorts, I earned the saddle sore atop my trusty steed, a used mountain bike. I rode the streets for 50 – 90 miles per day. I commuted to work via bike. didn’t know anything about cycling as a sport.

An inverse relationship existed between weight lost and confidence gained. New clothes, new look. Former colleagues and old acquaintances no longer recognized me. Eventually someone signed me up for a 5k run even though I hadn’t run 100 feet in 15 years. Leaving the house pre-dawn to avoid judgmental neighbors, I attempted to run to the end of the block and back, ¾ of a mile. I couldn’t do it without stopping, so I did it again the next morning and the one after that, again and again.  After a few weeks, I could run 2 ½ miles without a break.

The race was canceled. I was bummed, but I kept running. Weeks later, I finally ran a 5k. About a month later I ran a 10k. A month after that I ran my first half marathon, and that same year I ran my first marathon. Each step led to a cascade of new opportunities. Marathons led to ultramarathons. Not every step was pretty, but each moved me forward. Relentless forward progress.

From my income and familial relationships to my self-esteem and friendships, everything in my life improved. Today, my life feels like a dream, albeit not a dream I ever envisioned. It’s not the story I would’ve written, but it exceeds my wildest dreams. I wouldn’t change one comma.

You might be wondering why I just gave you a condensed memoir. Fair enough. Let me connect the dots. I didn’t sue the fast food industry or file suit against Guinness. Nor did I wait for a magic weight loss pill.

I controlled what I could control. Quit drinking, ate healthier foods, ate healthier portions, and moved my body. It took work. It still does. I certainly could have postponed the changes indefinitely and continued pointing my fingers outward. I did that for a long time, and it didn’t work. I had to play the cards I was dealt and act locally. I can only change the way I think and behave. Everything else is out of my control.


The simple answer – everything. Almost all dentists are interested in Dental Sleep Medicine implementation, but most that tiptoe into the field flounder, founder, and quit. They tell their colleagues about how insurance companies didn’t pay on claims, or the office staff just never got behind it because it took too much time, or how every physician just slaps patients in CPAPs.

Simply stated, they look outward. They blame everyone else. They seek the silver bullet, the Ozempic of Dental Sleep Medicine. There isn’t one. Successful practices’ paths to Dental Sleep success are paved with a bunch of lead bullets.

Too many dentists think there’s a way they can buy their way to the DSM promised land. Wrong. It doesn’t work that way. Yes, some products are better than others. Sure, some services are superior to others, but those are all supplements. You should use best-in-class home sleep testing services, third party billers, coaching continuums, and top notch devices, but they are not substitutes for doing the necessary work.

So many dentists postpone action while awaiting perfect alignment of the stars. You’re better off waiting for the Cincinnati Bengals to win a Super Bowl. Don’t hold your breath for the day that insurance payors will consistently reimburse twice what you think is warranted while only requiring one simple fax, every team member shows up on time with smiles and initiative to go above and beyond, each physician in your zip code knocks on your door wanting to know how to refer patients, and the ones that show up have duffel bags full of cash. Knock it off. If you’re waiting for that scenario to manifest, you’re gonna croak first. Ridiculous. Unicorns don’t exist.

If you want to treat sleep patients, go to some courses, attend some webinars, and read some books. Then screen, test, and treat your team members and their significant others. Start screening some actual patients. Align yourself with the best companies that can provide you counsel and your patients an exceptional experience. Success will compound. Your DSM muscles will gain some definition. You’ll probably see a few referrals. You’ll gain confidence and increase efficiency. You’ll do more, and it’ll become easier.

I sat down with Madan Kandula, MD a couple months ago and he hammered home the importance of “being the change you want to see in the world.” That’s what I’m talking about here. You probably aren’t gonna change Medicare dumbass PDAC guidelines, and you’re unlikely to shift Blue Cross Blue Shield’s arcane protocols, but you can change how you operate in your practice. Be the change you want to see in the world.

There are dozens of dental sleep practices that treat 50 or more patients each month. They save lives, generate desirable collections, and the dentists have rewarding lives. They contend with the same insurance challenges, time management issues, and they have the same tools. The difference between you and them is in the mirror. Be the change you want to see.


If you have a 100% consultation-to-treatment conversion rate, more physician referrals than you know what to do with, and have all the most updated information on medical billing, appliance design, sleep marketing, and everything else Dental Sleep Medicine related, then you shouldn’t come to the 2024 Transform Dental Sleep Symposium.

For everyone else that is committed to continually improving your Dental Sleep Practice, learning from the best in the field,  and having a lot of fun while doing it, you should absolutely register yourselves and your team for the Transform Dental Sleep Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ on February 2-3, 2024.

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