Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
March 30, 2020
My Unconventional Cancer Journey is now confronted by the world’s economic, medical, and emotional uncertainty. Life as I knew it is in flux and disarray. And it’s not just me. The pandemic is having worldwide consequences. Apparently, an enormous amount of people feel that things are falling apart all around them. Many are losing or already have lost their jobs. Numerous employers and entrepreneurs are finding their businesses are going under. An abundance of people has stopped spending and may never go back to their extravagant lifestyles. Untold totals of people have serious diseases, which now are complicated by COVID-19. No one knows exactly what is going to happen! Some say they know, but no one knows. Experts are making predictions on a daily basis but continue to change their opinions minute by minute.
Take a Deep Breath
Let’s take a deep breath.
I’ve been there two years ago. But not in the same way.
Beginning in 2018 when I learned that I would be dead in just a few months, I knew in an instant that my life had drastically changed. Nothing could be the same. Yes, my world had changed. Yes, I was T-boned by my diagnosis and prognosis. But I didn’t die! I survived and thrived.
And now the COVID-19 pandemic is everywhere.
Since September 19, 2018, I have been living with the reality of my mortality from my incurable bone marrow cancer. I have not been alone. Others have had to deal with their declining health-related issues. My journey may be unique only because I was given 3-6 months to live. I had rejected conventional chemotherapy and embraced an unconventional and more natural method of healing my body. My goal has been to maintain a quality of life – not to live for many years with a progressively degenerating disease.
Today, my life is further compromised. I am in the high-risk category for this pandemic virus because of my compromised immune system resulting from multiple myeloma. In addition, I feel the devastation experienced by the world’s population. Once again, I feel like I have been T-boned.
With all the obvious unease and fear, there is an unwavering strength that has worked for me most of the time – attitude. It never was easy. As a matter of fact, it has been downright difficult. I have had rare but severe bouts of depression when my attitude was overcome by irrational fears. Yet I have been able to climb out of this emotional abyss quickly with the help of my pillar-of-strength.
Sadly, I entered a state of depression just yesterday. As in the past, my pillar-of-strength came to my rescue. I owe it all to my devoted and rational wife who has been my stabilizing force. When all else has failed for me, she has always been there to help me get my head back into gear.
We have been married for almost 51 years. She knows me inside and out. I hope I am there for her as she is there for me when I get into a funk. However, she rarely seems to fall into the hole I have been able to dig for myself. When I play the role of the victim, I can succumb.
Yesterday, I was getting overwhelmed. Friends had sent me videos of doomsday predictions by “apparently educated” experts. The TV is ablaze with sensationalism and deadlier and deadlier accounts of our worlds’ invisible disease. I started to feel locked inside my home because of my high-risk category. All of these things took their toll on me yesterday. Then my “victim” personality began to shine. The hole I was digging was growing deeper and darker.
But my astute wife got the message immediately. I initially reacted in a very unproductive and negative tone when she started asking me, “What’s wrong?”. I lashed out at her telling her that she did not understand me. Of course, she did understand me better than I understood myself. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to get it.
We talked about how I turned my life around even after my devastating cancer prognosis. She pointed out all that I have accomplished since 2018. My wife was specific about how I improved my life and the lives of many others who have looked to me for support and inspiration. I told you; she is my pillar-of-strength.
My wife works full-time for a home medical equipment company specializing in respiratory care. Now, she is working at home. The powers-that-be moved her two computers, corporate telephone, printer, and all the spaghetti of wires from the corporate office to our home and assembled them on top of our kitchen table. Overwhelming! But she and I now are together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So, we have begun to share “sheltering-in-place” together. When she takes breaks from her daily job responsibilities, we talk, play a little, watch some TV, try some puzzles, and talk about whatever comes up. Of course, I am constantly writing, giving interviews for podcasts, and providing Skype consultations all around the world. Most people at this point are interested in my unconventional cancer journey and how I am improving my diet and immune system.
Physically, I am able to improve my movement, flexibility, and strength. I have been able to do body weight exercises and stretches at home. Also, I have been walking almost a mile outside many days of the week. And my culinary skills have not taken a back seat to this pandemic. Cooking at home for my wife and me has always been fun. She is following a more Paleo-type Diet, and I am strictly on the Carnivore Diet.
Our time in the house also has helped my wife and me to be in contact with our adult kids and grandkids via telephone or text messaging. I’m learning more about my grandkids from texting than I have learned from them when things were normal.
And so, this pandemic, which seems to be overtaking all of our lives, very well might teach us lessons to survive and thrive. One of the most vital lessons possibly to come out of this disaster is for us to learn that supporting the health of our immune system is paramount. That means providing a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet; proper hydration; a balanced and supportive gut microbiome; restorative sleep; efficient exercise, and stress reduction.
From Me to You
I have discussed these pillars of health in my 2017 book, Crazy-Good Living. I also have updated much of the current medical research in my paper I titled, Your Gut is Killing You. As I have told readers in the past, my goal in life now is to give back and pay it forward. I will send you my PDF of Your Gut is Killing You if you send me an email request (Dr.Danenberg@iCloud.com). It’s rather lengthy – over 12,200 words with 261 cited references.