Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
November 1, 2020 [printfriendly]
My cancer journey up to this point has been nothing less than spectacular. I’ve progressed…
- From an incurable cancer diagnosis in 2018 with 3-6 months to live…
- To the creation of my unconventional cancer protocols…
- To rallying and then thriving…
- To severe bone fractures landing me into a hospice hospital to die…
- To a PET Scan in May 2020 showing no active cancer cells.
Wow! An amazing path! But I’m not in remission yet. I’m a work in progress.
I’ve made my experiences transparent. Most people are never able or allowed to discuss their mortality. It was important to me that I share all my accomplishments and setbacks. Sadly, I remember when my Dad was dying in the early 1980s, and my Mom never allowed any of the family to speak about death to him. How scary and awful it must have been for him.
Readers have commented that I have been their inspiration and an example of a healing body. Some even have called me a medical miracle. Yet others have scolded me as being a fake or just an emotional storyteller. Oh well. I have never had the gift of gab.
All the emotional strength that I required came from my adoring and disciplined wife. She was my pillar. On those days that I became deeply depressed, she was there to pull me up by my bootstraps. When I was at the edge of death, she dealt me serious tough love. She made me realize that I was not a victim but rather a survivor. To put it bluntly, I owe my life to her.
Now, I must be strong. Now, the tables have turned. Now, there is a twist of fate.
My beautiful wife was just diagnosed with a compromising health condition.
Several months ago, she developed a cold. It lasted for several weeks. Finally, it seemed to pass. But she had a lingering cough.
We both had several COVID tests, yet they all were negative. Then a few weeks ago, she began to wheeze. Shortly after that, she could hardly catch her breath.
She got scared. I got scared.
My wife’s doctor also is my doctor who started me on my cancer journey. His name is Billie, and we have known him for over 20 years. After a virtual exam, he prescribed several medications. They helped her breathe without distress while sitting. But when she got up and walked more than a few steps, she had trouble breathing again.
Dr. Billie ordered an echocardiogram to look at her heart. Following the echocardiogram, my wife saw him for an in-office exam. I was in the room. Her heartbeat was racing irregularly. She had to sit to catch her breath.
Billie diagnosed a debilitating heart disease. In addition, he noted that the electrical signals in her heart were haphazard.
He suggested a treatment plan that included some conventional medications to stabilize her heart. He also suggested a calorie restriction diet. I added my two cents to the conversation and recommended my Better Belly Blueprint way of eating. Billie agreed. He knows how successful my diet lifestyle has been for me.
After the Diagnosis
After the appointment with Billie, we went out to dinner. We joked that this was a “date night”. We reminisced about the times we went to “coffee houses” back in the 60s. Although we met in the 9th grade, we recalled the first date we had after which we became a serious couple. On that date in 1965, we talked in the car parked in front of her home for 2 hours before we went out to the movies. The time together now at this restaurant is as though we reconnected emotionally once again after 51 years of marriage. It was a glorious dinner.
My pillar is now needing me to be her pillar. Fortunately, I am doing surprisingly well medically, which makes me able to take on that daunting task. I will become her pillar.
But I could never be the person she has been to me. Her strength is in her genes. My strength is just a snippet of her strength.
There are greater powers to be. Whatever purposes my wife and I have on this earth, they are unfolding as we age. We are both 73 years old. Many life challenges have been thrown at us. Age brings maturity and the ability to see what life is all about. Those material possessions that appeared to be so necessary in youth mean nothing now. Life is bound together with love and understanding – giving and receiving – being the best that you can be to each other and to others. I am reminded of the poem by Robert Browning: “Rabbi Ben Ezra”.
The first stanza of this lengthy poem is:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
I don’t know where my wife and I will be months or years down the road. Up until now, I have been counting my remaining time on earth in months. I am a realist with an open mind and motivation to heal my body.
My cancer challenge still is to deal with an incurable disease. My wife’s new challenge still is unknown. No one knows how long both of us have to live. But we are both secure in our love for each other and the beauty of a life well-lived. What else could anyone ask for or need?
Together we are experiencing a twist of fate that will guide us throughout the remainder of our years. We are prepared and motivated to heal our bodies as naturally as possible. A robust immune system is our medical goal. Maybe decades from now I still will be writing and getting my words out to the world. And maybe decades from now, my wife will continue to be personally successful while still pulling me up by my bootstraps.
Check out my new training on the Better Belly Blueprint! You can watch it HERE.