Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
August 8, 2021
The phrase, “Be Prepared”, has become a cliché. But I have an interesting interpretation of it as you’ll read in a moment.
For over 100 years, Be Prepared was the motto of the Boy Scout movement. Its meaning is to be prudent and have protocols on hand to deal with anything that comes along. In other words, you want to anticipate the worst-case scenarios and have a game plan to deal with them.
But if you become obsessed with potentially negative situations and preparing for them, your stress levels might increase and become chronic, causing harm to your body.
You’ll read in a moment that I have a different take on Be Prepared. My interpretation may surprise you.
I’ve been to the edge of death in a Hospice Hospital in 2019, then rallied, and here I am thriving.
How could I have prepared for the “ton of bricks” that fell on me as I learned of my incurable cancer diagnosis and prognosis in 2018? How could I have prepared for the devasting circumstances that put me in Hospice a year after my diagnosis?
I don’t believe anyone could be completely ready for the life-death scenarios I experienced. In Hospice, I was on narcotics and other meds, bedridden, constipated, catheterized, demoralized, and depressed.
But miracles do happen, and blessing must be counted.
Preparing for the worst-case scenarios is not what I am writing about today. I’m referring to preparing for what happened to me after my diagnosis but before having to enter Hospice. And again, preparing for what happened to me after revoking Hospice. I’m talking about preparing for the miracles and blessings of life!
Prepare for climbing out of an abyss to see the light. Prepare for experiencing the love that comes from those who are praying for you. Prepare for making memories which you will create with loved ones. Prepare for savoring the breeze of the wind, the song of birds, and the warmth of the sun.
These preparations are far more exciting than preparing for the worst-case scenarios of life. The preparation and anticipation of good things to come can change your brain and heal your body. These are foods for the mind-body connection.
This is powerful stuff!
Prepare for Life’s Miracles & Blessings
Expecting the good and joy of life causes positive changes in your brain. Happy thoughts improve neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
There was a television series on TNT that brought these ideas home to the viewing public. Eric McCormack starred in this series called, Perception. He played Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuropsychiatrist who also had schizophrenia. I looked forward to watching each episode and personally found the shows to be entertaining as well as a learning experience.
Every show began with a scene where Dr. Pierce was giving a lecture to his college students about an aspect of the human brain and how it was influenced by our perceptions. Then this aspect of the brain would be a significant element within the plot of that episode.
In Season 1 of Perception, Episode 1 begins with Dr. Pierce lecturing to his students about “reality” as it applies to the brain. He explains that “reality” may be a figment of your imagination. Like a bad dream.
Your brain experiences the fear and physiological changes resulting from a bad dream as if it were horrific events in real life affecting you. The brain can’t distinguish the “bad dream” from the “real events in the real world”. Daniel Pierce then ponders: “If what we perceive is often wrong, how can we ever know what is real and what isn’t?”
The plot of Episode 1 begins with Dr. Pierce consulting with the FBI about a murder. But he quickly proves that the confession made by the wife of the murder victim was false. Her confession was a result of a defect in her brain.
The plot thickens as the hour-show progresses. And then there is a resolution.
Daniel Pierce ends the episode with another lecture to his college students. He tries to define “normalcy”. He points out the brain may not be “normal”, but the “abnormal brain” often protects the individual from harmful external stimuli.
The TV programs aired from June 2012 to March 2015. I have no idea why it was cancelled. They were awesome as far as I was concerned. (By the way, you can watch all 3 seasons on IMDb TV for free:
If we perceive our environment and ourselves with gratitude and exciting expectancy, we can prepare ourselves for life’s miracles and blessings. Preparing for positive thoughts and experiences will produce some dramatic changes in our brain. For example …
- Synapses (areas connecting neurons) will increase dynamically
- Mental productivity will be enhanced by improving cognition
- Our ability to pay attention and focus will intensify
- The capability to think and analyze incoming data will expand
- The capacity to solve problems quicker and boost creativity will be heightened
On the other hand, if we dwell on the terrible things that might occur, our negative thoughts will cause chaos in our brains. Bad thoughts will …
- Slow down brain coordination
- Make it difficult to process thoughts and find solutions
- Hinder creative ability
- Decrease activity in the cerebellum, which helps with the coordination and movement related to motor skills
- Impact the left temporal lobe, which plays a key role in perceiving sounds, assigning meaning to those sounds, and remembering sounds.
My Life’s Miracles & Blessings
Of course, I was ill-prepared for an incurable malignancy diagnosis. I had no symptoms except a sore shoulder and then some pain in my chest. But immediately after my diagnosis, I had to prepare for the rest of my life. I knew that a positive outlook could improve my healing journey.
My wife and I discussed how I wanted to pursue the rest of my days – no matter how many there would be. We both were determined to prepare for the miracles and blessings of life that awaited us.
We discussed my “bucket list” of things I wanted to do before I died. My thoughts were to spend quality time with my wife, kids, and grandkids making memories for all of us.
I also relied on my strong belief that my immortal soul was in control of my body.
The 11 months after my diagnosis, my wife and I made some beautiful memories:
- Dinner with my immediate family at Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant, which is a 5-Diamond dining experience at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Disney World
- Presenting my grandkids with their “time chests” that I began preparing for them starting the day each was born (We were planing to give our grandkids their chest when they reached the age of 21. Circumstances have now changed.)
- Open, honest, and frequent discussions between my immediate family and myself about my mortality and the comfort of leaving this life with no regrets
But then, in August 2019, I had a life-threatening fall, fracturing several major bones on my right side that put me in Hospice to die. I was not prepared for this painful, debilitating setback. Yet, with the strength of my wife, I surprisingly rallied, revoked Hospice, and once again began preparing optimistically for the rest of my life.
Today I look forward to my precious time with my wife.
I also love to learn new things, to write, and to share my knowledge. Fortunately, I have gained some recognition because of my Unconventional Cancer Protocols and my emphasis on recreating a Robust Immune System. People from all over the world have consulted with me and taken my 12-week metabolic coaching program to help their bodies heal and become as healthy as they can. I receive great joy in talking about my positive experiences along with my setbacks with anyone interested.
But with all of this, I am practical and realistic. I accept my mortality.
The malignancy in my bone marrow is not in remission. But I don’t dwell on this. I excitedly look forward to new experiences and lasting memories. Preparing for these miracles and blessings are supported by my spiritual belief, positive outlook, and control of my environment and healthy lifestyle. Living a quality of life is at the top of my list – much more important to me than longevity.
Thank you! ❤️
Thank you – I needed this.
I love reading your posts, Dr. Al, and how you have helped others despite your personal challenge.
Very inspirational ❤️
I love this! There is a Yiddish saying “Tracht gud vet zein gut” which means think good and it will be good. Thank you for sharing this!