Bad things happen.  It is a constant in all of our lives. In my 42 years on Earth, I have never met anyone amongst the dozens of people I encounter daily who has said, “Nothing bad happens in my life. It’s amazing!”  I have had plenty of bad things happen in my own life, and every time I think that it can’t get any worse than this, guess what? It does.

But do you know what’s amazing? I’m still standing. I’m still here seeing my patients in my orthodontic office in Irvine. I have a great family of six rambunctious kids and a spectacular wife. I live in a great community in one of the safest cities in America.  Your life may be picture perfect, but you can’t escape bad things from hitting. What makes the biggest difference is how your mind and heart deals with those tribulations.

COVID-19 is unprecedented and we are currently living through a historic event.  Who could have ever predicted something that could stop the entire world to a screeching halt?  I have been doing a lot of reflection amidst the chaos.  The news spits out figures of more confirmed COVID-19 cases and reports more deaths. We have record-breaking unemployment rates, the stock market is crashing, and businesses are closing. We are overwhelmed every day with the negative. Fingers are pointing the blame in all directions.

It’s normal to feel as if everything is hopeless. Although there is no “right way” to deal with all of this, I encourage you as you sit at home to try seeing things the other way around.

Shutting down my business was not an easy decision to make. I can see my patients and my team members–people I really care about–suffering and it breaks my heart.  The reality is that life will go on and we only live this one, precious life. We are doing this for a higher cause. In the midst of despair, I am also seeing resilience and kindness.

I am seeing fathers who may not have had the opportunity to cook or clean at home now stepping up and giving moms a break (myself included). Parents are teaching kids to ride their bikes without training wheels or drive on empty streets for the first time. Families and couples are getting bored with normal streaming television and instead playing board games or doing puzzles together. The act of giving is rising on a whole new level. Neighbors are offering to go grocery shopping for others who are elderly or immunocompromised. Can you spare a square of toilet paper? Yes! Here you go!

Malls and shopping centers are closed, meaning people can’t go out and buy unnecessary items. With schools and extracurricular activities closed, families are no longer rushing around town trying to catch practice on time and get homework completed. This has forced us to slow down. When was the last time you took family walks together?

FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom meetings are more common and friendships are reinforced. I have even seen my own team members grow more tight-knit and support one another in ways they never had to before. This has given us all an opportunity to miss and appreciate each other. Our virtual dance party was the highlight of our week.

Mother Nature has been healing itself with less people commuting and fewer emissions from factories due to shutdowns. Countries are reaching out and helping each other. Medical staff from China who battled COVID19 in their own country travelled to Italy with supplies to support Italians in their own fight. Scientists worldwide are collaborating together to find a cure and putting differences aside for the common good.

Before there were any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, our office had mistakenly ordered too many surgical masks for our inventory. This ended up being a small blessing as that meant we had over a thousand masks we could donate to healthcare provider friends who were in desperate need for PPE to protect themselves.

A childhood friend living on the East Coast saw what we were doing with our donations on Facebook and asked for some masks to be sent to him for use at his Emergency Room. We probably never would have connected again otherwise. Local dentists in the area have also been reaching out to me with donations so that we can connect them with healthcare professionals in need. These selfless doctors and nurses may be thankful for the supplies we are donating, but we are the ones who are eternally grateful.

This is no doubt a tough situation and a time of great uncertainty. We must remember to support one another now more than ever. We are by far stronger together ( but six feet apart). Remember, you are not stuck at home. You are safe at home.

 Until we meet again, wishing you and yours health and joy.



Dr. Shung