Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
December 19, 2021
My greatest fear is that I may “get broken” beyond repair. And then I would lose my quality of life. I also might not be able to continue sharing and teaching all I have learned along my amazing Cancer Journey.
Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks! And at the age of almost 75, I am an “old dog” with lots of “new” tricks. But a broken dog can’t jump up and down any longer. And I like to show off.
Everything I’ve learned I want to share. I have not found anybody who has connected the medical dots as I have. But as Humpty Dumpty fell and shattered into pieces, my fragile and porous skeleton could do the same.
I don’t have a fear of death. And certainly, I am not in denial of my situation. I am realistic.
My greatest fear is suffering severe pathological fractures in the future that could incapacitate me and end the quality of life which I enjoy today.
My dilemma is that my mind is working overtime, but my physical body has been challenging me recently.
A recent study showed that fully vaccinated patients with multiple myeloma have an increased rate of COVID-19 infection and have an increased risk of dying compared to vaccinated individuals without cancer. And I’m not vaccinated for reasons I’ve discussed in previous Blogs.
My cancer journey has taken me through a lot. Most recently, the 10 Unconventional Cancer Protocols I created have helped me through COVID and Long Haulers without meds and without hospitalization. I am impressed with the overall strength of my immune system because of these protocols. As I have repeated in the past, my oncologist is amazed!
Multiple myeloma is a bone marrow cancer. It weakens the immune system’s ability to create necessary antibodies, which are created by plasma cells in the bone marrow to fight invaders. Multiple myeloma also can create severe bone lesions throughout the skeleton making bones very fragile.
Initially, the symptoms in 2018 that brought me to my physician were pain in my right shoulder and sternum area. I had no idea that my problems were anything more than a torn ligament or a damaged muscle. At that time, I had no idea I had a crack in my pelvis, broken ribs, and a vertebral compression fracture causing bone and breathing pain.
Once the diagnosis of IgA Kappa Light Chain Multiple Myeloma was confirmed in September 2018 and I was given 3-6 months to live, the obvious became real to me. Most likely I would die from the complications of multiple myeloma. And I was prone to painful and life-threatening fractures even if I only twisted or bent my body in such a way that a weakened bone would snap.
My ultimate realization of my fragile body occurred in August 2019. That is when I was standing in my bathroom, twisted to the left to throw my used dental floss into the trashcan, and instantly my right femur snapped in half. I collapsed to the floor – breaking several ribs and splitting my right humerus in half. These severe fractures eventually put me in a Hospice Hospital to die.
Amazingly, I rebounded, revoked Hospice, and returned to my protocols. To the shock of most people around me, I was recovering. And when I saw my oncologist in October 2019, he was pleasantly surprised once again.
I continued with an excellent quality of life until 6/22/21, when I received a botched injection of my monthly immunotherapy (Darzalex), which is not chemotherapy. Within a week after this injection, I began having various areas of bone and muscle pain. My oncologist and I thought these symptoms were a combination of side effects from the Darzalex injection. Yet, I never experienced bad side effects from this therapy in the past.
But then I experienced overall joint pain, total exhaustion, lack of energy, diarrhea, headaches, and a persistent cough. I finally recognized that the progressively worsening symptoms were the effects from the SARS-CoV-2 virus which took over my weakened body. The complications after the Darzalex injection in June 2021 set my body up to make me more susceptible to the virus.
COVID & NLR
My concerns were documented after my routine monthly CBC (Complete Blood Count) following the COVID infection and the peak of my symptoms.
The CBC looks at the components of the blood – red blood cells. white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, etc. A ratio of two specific white blood cells has recently been explored and documented in COVID patients. It is the ratio between the number of neutrophils and lymphocytes circulating in the blood. It is called the NLR (neutrophil lymphocyte ratio).
For a healthy individual, the NLR is usually between 1:1 to 3:1. However in severe COVID patients, the ratio is elevated along with the number of lymphocytes being significantly below normal. In a current study of hospitalized COVID patients, those with an NLR of 7.45 or higher were more likely to require a ventilator and had a higher risk of dying.
A significantly elevated NLR has become a “hallmark of severe COVID”. After my severe symptoms, my NLR was 42:1 – an extremely elevated ratio. This has never occurred before in my CBC results and concerned me.
My oncologist believes now that the increased activity of my malignant plasma cells as shown on my most recent PET Scan taken on 10/26/21 (after my severe symptoms were receding) is related to COVID’s effects on my bone marrow cells. Malignant plasma cells cannot produce healthy antibodies to the virus. So, millions of dysfunctional antibodies were produced in my bones that created more bone lesions as seen on this PET Scan.
And all those bone lesions make my skeleton more and more fragile. Like Humpty Dumpty, I’m prone to life-threatening pathological fractures.
And bone lesions cause bone pain.
Bone pain is a symptom of progressing multiple myeloma. Fortunately, my bone pain in subsiding. And this bone pain just may be the final stage of “long-haulers COVID”. Whatever the cause of my bone pain, my ongoing efforts to improve my immune system should allow healing, and I’ll be fine in time. Just as I was before contracting COVID.
My most recent monthly blood work on 11/30/21 showed that my NLR dropped from 42:1 to 24:1. Still very high, but markedly better. I’m moving in the right direction!
Once again, I emphasize that the quality of life is most important to me – not longevity. But I want to live as long as possible if I can be productive for my family, friends, and myself.
Believe me, I am not a victim.
Don’t pity me.
I am a survivor.
But I am a realist.
Today, I am doing very well considering all that I have been through. I’m encouraged that I have returned to walking outside a little more than a mile most days of the week.
My attitude is positive as I deal with this challenge successfully. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again with my 10 Unconventional Cancer Protocols. My wife is my pillar of strength and has taught me this lesson very well.
Concluding Thoughts & Inspiration
There are many unknowns.
What I do know is I have found a way to do the impossible: I’ve taken an incurable diagnosis and reclaimed my quality of life even without chemotherapy. I’ve also recovered successfully from COVID. I’ve researched and experimented to beat the odds and created a system that allows me to achieve the best health and healing potential possible in my situation.
Imagine what could happen if you incorporate these methods into your life before you get sick like I did. And if you have a serious diagnosis, there is always a way to improve your situation by looking at it from a different perspective and being proactive as I have.
I’m reminded of a study that was published in 2019 that showed that 88% of the US adults are metabolically unhealthy. And this leads to serious chronic diseases including cancers. Today, I am in the minority with healthy metabolic flexibility.
My greatest joy in life is my family. My second greatest joy is helping others, just like you. If you haven’t taken the time to book a consult with me, please do. I would love nothing more than to leave a legacy of improved health and wellness.
I’ve incorporated all the lessons and facts I’ve learned into my 12-Week Balanced Metabolic Coaching Program. It’s customized to your specific health goals and needs. If this is your first time working with me, you can book a complimentary 30 minute consult to ensure we’re the right fit to work together.
If my journey has taught you anything, I hope it’s to take control and be proactive with your health. Heal your body before it’s too late. I can help.
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