My Cancer Journey
– a Twist of Fate –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 1, 2020

 

 

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.

 

 

My Pillar

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.

 

 

Moving Forward

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.

 

If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my “Belly Bites” Newsletter HERE.

23 Comments

  • James Tran

    thanks for sharing. i hope this journey continues for you both for a long time

    Reply
  • Melissa G

    God bless you both <3

    Reply
  • Rosemary

    Thank you for sharing this today, Dr. Danenberg. I’m so sorry to hear of this new challenge your wife is facing. My heart goes out to you both and your family. One thing is for sure, you’re both incredibly strong and resilient people. I’ve been following your blog since before your diagnosis in 2018, and one of the things that has always stood out to me is the wonderful, supportive relationship you and your wife share. I’m so glad you have each other and share such a deep love & gratitude for one another. I am certain it will bring you both through the challenges, come what may. You’re both such an inspiration, truly! I’m so glad you’re not letting the “haters” get to you. I look forward to your emails and blogs each week – thank you for what you share here. Sending lots of love & healing to you and your wife!!

    Reply
  • Stephanie Sommers

    Thank you for sharing this. My only surprise was that I assumed she was already on a similar diet as yours, maybe not as strict. Please let us know how your wife gets on, and I would be curious as to what protocol you create for her. Wishing you both the best, always.

    Reply
  • Vicky

    Oh, I am very sorry to hear of your wife’s illness. I understand needing to be pillars for each other. My husband and I are also your ages and we try to do this for each other. So much life we have lived, so thankful to have 50 years of marriage, but it is still hard to come to grips with this sunset. The best to both of you.❤️

    Reply
  • Francie

    Thank you so much for your continued transparency with us. You both are in my thoughts and prayers. You are an inspiration in so many ways – and a rock solid, loving marriage with God right in the middle of it is the most important one. Blessings and Hugs! <3

    Reply
  • Hedy Flanders

    God bless .. praying for you both. Thank you for sharing. <3

    Reply
  • Heather

    Thank you always for your courageous posts. Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers as you journey together.

    Reply
  • Tracy McAlvanah

    Amazing and inspiring story of your life’s journeys. Lifting you in prayer for all God’s BEST in both your lives. It’s so wonderful how you help others through your experiences, by sharing what you’ve learned and continue to learn. ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  • Arturo

    “Don’t leave any music inside yourself” that is an old saying. And you are providing every day wisdom and sharing your path. Your wife has been doing the same from her side of your equation. A perfect fit and bond forever.

    Reply
  • Kathy

    So sorry to read of your wife’s health trouble. I can relate to what you shared as it sounds somewhat similar like my husband’s. He has advanced 4 th stage cancer, but also started to cough .The cough was worse when he was laying down. He was tested for Covid and it was negative. He was given an inhaler at first, and then told he had GERD. But it turned out that it was severe heart failure. His lungs would fill with fluid if he did too much physical work. He ended up at the Mayo Clinic for testing. He found he had 3 arteries blocking the blood flow into the heart. His ejection fraction was 20%, normal is 50%. He had a triple by pass, but there is much dead heart tissue. He is recovering though. He is back at his full time job. He is on a keto diet, lost 45 pounds, takes lots of supplements. He walks every day also and is in cardio rehab. He is not taking any medications, except something for his prostate cancer.

    There is hope, and I hope healing for your wife. In hind sight the Cleveland Clinic is one of the highest rated heart hospitals in the USA. But at the time we wanted to go somewhere where there would be a team of doctors, not just one, and that they would work together since he had a complicated health issue. Mayo was an amazing place.

    My husband is feeling great and not in any pain. He no longer coughs and has had an amazing recovery.

    Reply
  • Jennifer Wenzel

    God bless you both 🙏❤️

    Reply
  • Steve

    My heart goes out to both you! May God bless you all the days of your life together!

    Reply
  • Lori

    Thank you and God Bless You Both ♥️

    Reply
  • Susan Fox

    Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful relationship you and your wife share. Much love to you both in this new challenge.

    Reply
  • Emily

    I am very sad to hear of your wife’s illness. I will be praying for healing, joy and strength for the both of you! Thank you for being a wonderful light and inspiration to us all.

    Reply
  • Isobel Delussey

    Your journey has been a preparation as well as a healing one. 🙏

    Reply
  • speshulk67

    I do tire of the obstructions in the road of life. I want to understand but the truth is I don’t. I do get angry but I know that is a wasted emotion so we gird up and go forward. We can pray and keep you both surrounded by loving energy. You both are very experienced at fighting the GOOD fight. So bless you both as you leap on the faith of your love for each other and do what must be done! We are with you! Sending love and light hood people.♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
  • Max

    Blessings to you and your wife. You both are an inspiration and and outstanding example to those of us who are also coping with difficult health problems.

    Reply
  • Beverley

    I am so sorry. How devastating . I will put you and your wife in my prayers, You are both lucky to have each other and you will get through it. Continue to be hopeful . God’s blessings to both of you. Sending healing thoughts and virtual hugs.

    Reply
  • Dapose

    You have helped me Dr. if I could help you and your wife it would be to read the short and wonderful book, Human Heart Cosmic Heart by Dr. Tom Cowan. Like you Al, Tom thinks deeper than the convention.
    Live well.

    Reply
  • Celeste Ryan

    Thank you for your transparency. It is an inspiration to read. We never know how long we have in this world. You are both so lucky to share a life together.

    Reply
  • Polina

    Stay strong Al, you and your wife are such an inspiration to all of us!!! Sending you healing thoughts and grateful for your honesty and taking us along on the journey with you. With lots of love and admiration,

    Polina

    Reply

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