It’s Not About Me

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist
December 10, 2018 [printfriendly]

It's Not About Me

Although I am battling an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, it’s not about me. I know my potential life outcomes – I either will kick this malignancy at least into remission, or I will succumb to this bone marrow cancer. But let me tell you, it’s really not about me.

It’s about the pillar that keeps me strong and picks me up when I get down. (Yes, I get down sometimes – very down!) The pillar is my wife. She is the stabilizing link in the chain. She is the unsung hero.



My Wife

When I get depressed, she is there to offer words of wisdom and compassion. She is there to bring me back to the person I am. She is there to make sure I take all those supplements five times a day, use my PEMF mat four times a day, and keep the scheduled appointments with my medical professionals who tweak my unconventional regimen every two weeks. But, she is dealing with so much internal anxiety. I feel for her. For me, it’s all about her.




We met in the 9th grade. Somehow, she knew I was the one for her. I was not as fortunate at that time to know what she knew. But, years went by, and we got married in 1969. Almost everyone I know has been married at least two or three times or has been divorced without remarrying. My wife and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary in June 2019.




My wife, my pillar, my confidant – has always been the one to stabilize our lives. She has been the strong link in the chain. As all married couples, we have been through a great deal of emotional, financial, and physical trauma during the course of our marriage. Now, the challenge is with her. She is the one who faces a world of uncertainty – a world in which I may not be there. She may need to deal with so many things, with which she has never had to deal.




We planned on living together for at least another 15-20 years. My sudden diagnosis has brought tremendous uncertainty into her life. I can see this uncertainty in her eyes.




I have a spiritual belief that allows me to accept anything that comes my way. But, if this disease overcomes me, I will not be there to comfort her in her grief. Since I am somewhat of a control freak, I won’t have the ability to see her through her bereavement. Anticipating her pain bothers me since this is something I will not be able to fix or make better. For me, it’s all about her.





My Poetry

My readers know that I like to write. I have shared some of my poetry in the past.Here is a short poem I wrote for my wife on Mother’s Day in 2001.

Happy Mother’s Day

 (May 13, 2001)

I don’t need a special day

To remind me how much you mean to me.


There’s caring in your thoughts,

Compassion in your voice, and

Sincerity in your eyes.


There’s gentleness in your actions,

Determination in your gait, and

Fairness in your decisions.


There’s strength from within,

Beauty from without, and

Love enough for all.


I don’t need a special day

To remind me how much you mean to me.


I love you and appreciate you always.





Summing Up

When all is said and done, the bottom line is that my wife is the star of my performance. She’s the producer, director, and editor. Her story is the story that must be told. Truly, she is my strength. It’s not about me; it is all about her.




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  1. The Five Remembrances

    I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

    I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

    I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

    All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

    My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

  2. God Bless your wife and you. J. Delavigne

  3. your courage (and that of your wife) are a lesson in living to me. Thank you. N

  4. Beautiful. I wish you, and your wife, well.

  5. Dr Danenberg, Your love, and concern, for your wife is profound. I wish, if I may, to suggest a book called ‘Permission to Mourn, A New Way to Do Grief’ by Tom Zuba, which may be helpful for you both in different ways. Continuing positive energies to you and your wife.

  6. Dr. Danenberg, I just ordered your book based upon your recent testimonial post. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you also for sharing your journey. We lost a close friend and colleague to this disease in 2013, so my husband and I have a bit of insight about this reality for you. I am so sorry this diagnosis has crossed your path. HOWEVER, my husband is a 10 year neuroendocrine cancer survivor that started in the pancreas with metastasis to the liver; so we also have insight on how to LIVE with cancer; not die from it! I want to encourage you and your wife to “go with what you know” in a world or many unknowns. It has been helpful advice that was shared with us early on so that we really LIVE between scans, lab tests, and procedures necessary to keep the disease stable. Please give my email address to your wife as I have been walking in her shoes for a while now. There may be a time when either of you may wish to reach out. I have found that deep faith in God, support from family and friends, and laughter have been equally as important in this journey as the treatments David has undergone. I’m pausing now to pray for your health and your family believing in the power of prayer to help navigate all things in this life that break our hearts.
    Thank you Dr. Danenberg, for the knowledge you continue to share and the lives you have improved!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences.

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