Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
August 16, 2020
Everybody has a story. Everybody has had their ups and downs. And those who say they haven’t, aren’t being honest. So, let me open up and expose my dirty laundry. These challenges resulted in my life’s detours. But there is a purpose for me to tell all. Along the paths I have traveled, I have been uplifted by abundance – but not material abundance.
In the first couple years of 2000, I became a partner with an entrepreneur who was going to change the world. I got excited. This was mind-blowing. In time, I helped him raise money for his life-changing concepts and invested most of my retirement savings with him. Although I did my due diligence, it clearly was not enough. It turned out that he was the mastermind of a cunning Ponzi scheme. I only learned of his criminal intent and deceit after he committed suicide. The financial disaster for me was that I lost all my investment as well as my pride. And then there were legal issues since I was his partner. This was my first devastating defeat I had to encounter. I could have succumbed to this defeat, but I didn’t. I pulled myself up, began to reinvent myself, and eventually moved on with my life.
Then in 2006 at the age of 59, I had a stroke. Fortunately, within 4 months I recovered completely. But my conventional doctors, who saved my life, put me on 7 medications that I had to take for the rest of my life. That didn’t sit well with me. My physicians had no ideas and could give me no answers as to why I had the stroke or how I should get my body healthy. So, I independently pursued answers to my questions and how to “fix” my body. Eventually at the age of 66 and after 7 years of searching for the way, I learned about ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. Within 2 years of adopting this new way of living, I completely weaned off all 7 meds and lost over 35 pounds of body fat. My body began to stabilize, and my hormones started to balance. I became a “senior poster boy for healthy living”. And I started lecturing around the country, providing virtual consults to clients all over the world, while still maintaining my active practice of periodontics in SC. For my patients, I incorporated this healthy lifestyle into my periodontal treatment with great success. But I could have followed my conventional doctors’ recommendations in 2006 to stay on 7 meds for the rest of my life, never learn about the evolutionary way of living, and remain basically unhealthy.
While traveling in April 2018 at the age of 71, I experienced some pain in my right shoulder and some of my ribs. When I finally saw my medical doctor in September 2018, I was diagnosed with an incurable bone marrow cancer and was given 3-6 months to live. Everything that was devastating financially and medically in the past was now superseded by this devastating prognosis. My first thought was that my world was coming to an end. My second thought was that I would have to say goodbye to my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. I was thrown into an abyss of depression and forced to face my mortality. But not for long…
I was never in denial. Immediately I rejected chemotherapy, created my Unconventional Cancer Protocols, and moved on to survive and thrive. But during my cancer journey, I had severe pathological fractures of various parts of my skeleton.
You see, my severe case of multiple myeloma created holes in my bones that made them fragile and prone to breakage. Since my diagnosis, I experienced 2 vertebral compression fractures, several broken ribs, a hairline fracture in my pelvis, two snapped femurs and one split humerus. My serious bout with fractures in August 2019 placed me into a Hospice Hospital to die. Yes, to die!
But surprisingly, I rallied. In May 2020, my recent PET Scan showed no active cancer cells throughout my entire body. My oncologist is amazed. I am thriving. I walk a mile in my neighborhood every day and do modified pushups and squats in my home. Today, I think I deserve a new moniker – the “senior poster boy for self-recovery”. Yet I could have gone the route of chemotherapy, a decreased quality of life, and mired with the overhanging fear of dying from terminal cancer.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I want to make a point – a point that stabs at the core of our psyche. My point is this: All of us have the power to make choices in our lives. My choice was never to be a victim although I felt victimized at the moment. My choice was to be a survivor – even an extraordinary achiever.
I could have been weakened by my financial crisis, or by my life-threatening stroke, or by the crushing diagnosis and prognosis of incurable cancer, or by the numerous broken bones I had to endure. I am where I am today because I never saw the glass of life “half-empty”. I picked myself up each time to persevere.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been to the deepest depths of depression. But I never stayed there for long. Fortunately, I had support from my family – especially my stubborn and amazing wife. I owe my successful recovery to her in so many ways. She showed me how I was surrounded by abundance, and that was where I found strength.
My wife unmistakably showed me that we live in a world of plenty, but I don’t mean an abundance of material things. I am referring to an abundance of faith, hope, will, and love. Her tough love whipped me into seeing my power to move forward in the face of adversity. She embarrassed me into realizing that I am a survivor and not a victim. She worked hard to help me self-motivate.
I believe we are here in our mortal body because of a purpose – a purpose that we had a role in designing. My beliefs may not be your beliefs, but that is OK. Each of us can find our purpose and move toward it and not allow bumps along the way to break our stride.
All this may sound like Pollyanna. I am not just throwing phrases around haphazardly. I have been to the edge of death and returned. Against all odds, I found strength in the abundance of the intangibles of life – and you can too!
Check out my new training on the Better Belly Blueprint! You can watch it HERE.