My Cancer Update
– My Struggle –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 21, 2023 [printfriendly]

In September 2018, I knew the odds were that I only would live another 3-6 months. That wasn’t an intuition. It was my oncologist’s opinion based on his years of medical experience treating patients like me with multiple myeloma. However, I didn’t give in to his dire prognosis. I rejected chemotherapy since my bone marrow cancer was incurable, and I moved into the mode of advocating for myself.

I created my Unconventional Cancer Protocols and vowed to myself that quality of life was my one prevailing goal.

For almost 5 years, I fulfilled my desire. I enjoyed a quality of life for the most part with some setbacks along the way. But now, my body is not cooperating.

 

COVID Has Been the Thorn in My Progress

COVID has activated my multiple myeloma creating anemia, compromised pulmonary and cardiac function, and extreme exhaustion. And the multiple myeloma is spreading rapidly and causing continuous bone pain and pathological bone fractures especially in my ribs. All these manifestations rapidly progressed within the last few weeks.

On Monday, 5/15/23, I had an appointment with my medical doctor and consulted with my oncologist. On Wednesday, 5/17/23, I was examined by a pulmonologist.

My medical team has come up with some suggestions, which I will integrate with my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.

  • Medications for A-Fib, Congestive heart failure, and Compromised pulmonary function
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy

It appears the road to physical recovery will take time. These Long Haulers COVID manifestations are not well understood.

 

Quality of Life

For the second time since my diagnosis of multiple myeloma back in September 2018, I am suffering from a decrease in quality of life. The first major setback was in August 2019 when I broke several major bones and was put in a Hospice Hospital to die. Needless to say, I did not die. I recovered and revoked Hospice in September 2019, and I went on to thrive.

I will keep this positive determination to recover from this current major setback. I’ve surprised many medical professionals with my progress over the last several years, and I just might shock them once again.

However, I am not in denial. I know the multiple myeloma is progressing. And I am prepared to deal with its eventual outcome.

Hospice is my last option to continue a quality of life until I die when the time comes. I am not sure when that time will come.

 

The Future

As you might imagine, this is a stressful time for me and my wife, Sue. However, we are both survivors! One of the greatest joys in my life, besides my wonderful family, is working with patients around the world. It is my privilege to use my background and knowledge to help people regain control of their health. Quality of life is a gift, and I’ve worked incredibly hard over the last five years to find a way to maintain mine through numerous ups and downs.

Through the free resources on my website and my 1:1 coaching sessions to help guide you through specific ailments, I’m honored to still be able to help others. After all, helping others is what led me to enter the medical field over 40 years ago. If you find yourself dealing with health issues, please consider this my invitation to reach out. You never know what the future will hold so get your health in order now. Trust me, you don’t want to wait until you’re really sick.

 

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My Cancer Update
– Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) & Severe Anemia –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

May 7, 2023 [printfriendly]

Since my diagnosis of incurable multiple myeloma in September 2018, I have successfully maintained my quality of life and stabilized the progression of this bone marrow cancer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, I was given 3-6 months to live. After determining that traditional methods such as chemotherapy wouldn’t stop the cancer, and would impact the quality of my life, I created what I call my Unconventional Cancer Protocols. While I have never been in remission, I’ve surprised everyone, including my doctors, with both my progress and perseverance. I share my methods openly as well as my ups and downs, in hopes that I can help you from finding yourself in a similar situation.

When I contracted COVID-19 in 2021, it caused an activation of my multiple myeloma. I’ve been dealing with Long Haulers COVID, which I discuss in this blog, and now I’m seeing further complications. I’ve always been transparent, and I’d like to share my current battle with you.

 

Diagnosis of A-Fib and Anemia

On Monday, 5/1/23 I had to go to my internist. I had been exceptionally weak and out of breath following just simple physical movements. After taking a few steps from my living room sofa to the bathroom, I would feel exhausted and needed to sit down.

Billy, my Internist for over 35 years, examined me and took an EKG. I was in atrial fibrillation. I have never been in A-Fib.

I then saw my on oncologist on Tuesday, 5/2/23. My blood work showed my hemoglobin to be at an extremely low level.

The decisions were made. I had A-Fib and severe anemia. I needed to integrate some conventional meds to address A-Fib, and I needed to have a blood transfusion of packed red blood cells to improve my hemoglobin. Both needed to be done ASAP.

My internist and oncologist both agreed that the COVID-19 virus had a lot to do with these manifestations.

I’ll share some facts about COVID, A-Fib, Anemia, and my integration of conventional medical treatments while still emphasizing my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.

 

COVID and Atrial Fibrillation

This video helps visualize the comparison of a normal heart rhythm to one with A-Fib:

An April 2022 study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology stated that new-onset atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) occurred in 1 out of 20 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Researchers in this study examined nearly 28,000 patients without a history of A-Fib who were hospitalized for COVID-19.

A-Fib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with A-Fib.

In this paper, new-onset A-Fib was strongly associated with increased in-hospital mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events. Of the patients in the study, those who developed new-onset A-Fib while hospitalized experienced longer hospital stays and greater need for ICU care and intubation and approximately 45% died in the hospital.

 

COVID and Anemia

COVID-19 also affects the blood. In this 2021 paper, the authors discuss the pathogenesis and clinical significance of COVID and anemia. This other paper published in 2023 discusses the connection between COVID and anemia.

Anemia is a disease that occurs when the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein responsible for transporting and delivering oxygen to organs and tissues.

Having anemia means your hemoglobin levels are low, and your body is not getting enough oxygen. Without oxygen, the body lacks the energy needed to function, which causes symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue.

Anemia has many causes and can either be a short-term or long-term condition. If left untreated, anemia has severe symptoms that may become life-threatening.

COVID-19 patients develop inflammation that causes a reduction in intestinal iron absorption and changes in iron hemostasis, resulting in reduced production of hemoglobin.

Anemia affects the body’s immunity.

In addition, anemia activates the body’s sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate, pulmonary capillary leakage, and high blood pressure, which causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A patient with COVID-19 ARDS develops worse outcomes than typical ARDS, often resulting in respiratory failure, circulatory failure, and myocardial damage.

 

My Treatment for A-Fib and Anemia

My heart rhythm must be restored to normal; my risk of a stroke must be minimized; and my hemoglobin level must be increased.

I started treatment on Monday, 5/2/23.

I began taking two conventional heart meds to stabilize the heart rhythm as well as Eliquis to prevent a stroke. On 5/4/23, I received a pint of packed red blood cells via venal infusion to elevate my hemoglobin levels. I may need additional transfusions before my hemoglobin is restored to a healthy range.

Let me emphasize that I have not changed my Unconventional Cancer Protocols. These protocols have helped my immune system from day One of my diagnosis and are seminal to my overall wellness program.

 

NLR

I also continue to monitor my NLR.

The NLR is the Neutrophil/Lymphocyte Ratio. Neutrophils and Lymphocytes are two different white blood cells that can be identified in a Complete Blood Count (CBC) blood test. It is a reliable blood marker for systemic inflammation in many chronic diseases as well as a most robust marker for COVID. In addition, it is an indicator of the survival prognosis for multiple myeloma patients. A rising NLR may suggest a poorer prognosis as multiple myeloma progresses.

A normal NLR is between 1:1 and 3:1. In this published study, the average NLR for hospitalized COVID patients was 6.15. When that ratio rose above 8.17 in the study, the risk of death increased. Strikingly, my NLR on 11/2/21 was 42.0 – a seriously disturbing level when I was diagnosed with COVID in November 2021! However, I was able to significantly reduce the NLR as I healed from COVID using my Protocols after my first bout with COVID.

This time around with Long Haulers COVID, my NLR was 11.6 on March 7, 2023, and then increased to 22.3 on April 4, 2023. But on May 2, 2023, the NLR dropped to 11.7, which is definitely moving in the right direction now.

My goal is to continue to reduce the NLR. I was able to do this before, and I am determined to do it again. It appears that I am being successful!

 

Getting Back to Normal

While my body is struggling right now, my mind is sharp. If you have health concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I believe that the reason I’m still here is to help others. I’ve turned “3 months to live” into 5 well-earned years while maintaining the quality of my life. No gatekeeping here. I want to help you reach your health goals and prevent anyone else from struggling with illness. Here’s the link to set up a complimentary 30 minutes with me.

 

 

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My Cancer Update
– My Mind is Keen; My Body is Compromised –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

April 9, 2023 [printfriendly]

If you have been following my cancer journey from the onset, you know I was diagnosed with incurable bone marrow cancer in September 2018 and given 3-6 months to live. Spoiler alert, I’m still here! But not without a fight, and I’m currently facing another battle.

Multiple myeloma is a complicated form of cancer where plasma cells in the bone marrow become malignant. Plasma cells are responsible for making antibodies that recognize and attack germs, so this puts my immune system at a severe disadvantage. At the time of that dire initial prognosis, I was given the option of chemotherapy, which would continue to damage my already weakened immune system in an attempt to kill the cancerous cells. I believed that the collateral damage to healthy cells from the chemo outweighed the potential benefits. And my oncologist was candid that the chemotherapy would not cure this malignancy.

So, I rejected the chemo (but not all forms of conventional medicine) and set out to figure out how I could maintain the best quality of life for the time I had left.

This led to the creation of my Unconventional Cancer Protocols. I was coming from a foundation of good health (you can read more about my background HERE), but there were some important adjustments I made in order to create the most robust immune system I possibly could. I’ve written about those at great length in previous blog posts.

However, setbacks occurred.

A major setback took place in August 2019 when I broke my right femur and my right humerus in half as well as several ribs – all at the same time. That put me into a hospice hospital to die. But amazingly, I recovered; I revoked hospice in September 2019; and I continued with my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.

I did quite well while following my protocols until I was exposed to the COVID virus. Then, a series of setbacks ensued. The SARS-CoV-2 virus reactivated my multiple myeloma by stimulating my malignant plasma cells to aggressively create dysfunctional antibodies. And I contracted COVID three time –  in June 2021[1], in January 2022[2], and again in December 2022[3].

COVID played havoc with my overall health and specifically my plasma cells. The virus caused my multiple myeloma to become very active which created an abundance of dysfunctional antibodies in my bone marrow. These dysfunctional antibodies continued to weaken the internal surfaces of my bones. The results were numerous pathological bone fractures. Today, I am dealing with several rib fractures which take their time to heal.

Unfortunately, COVID turned into Long Haulers COVID, which has caused my body to continue to feel exhausted and weak. In addition, the further activation of my multiple myeloma led to anemia. The dysfunctional antibodies were crowding out my healthy red blood cells and platelets. The myeloma also was preventing the normal creation of red cells and platelets. My hemoglobin and platelet counts dropped to low levels. The first lab results to confirm this were on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, I had my regular 4-week appointment with my oncologist. My doctor ordered the same blood tests that have been monitored since my diagnosis in 2018, (CBC, CMP, and specific antibody blood tests). The results showed slight improvement in my hemoglobin but more deterioration in platelets. In addition, there were increasingly higher levels of dysfunctional antibodies being produced.

 

NLR

I also have been monitoring my NLR.

The NLR is the Neutrophil/Lymphocyte Ratio. Neutrophils and Lymphocytes are two different white blood cells that can be identified in a Complete Blood Count (CBC) blood test. It is a reliable blood marker for systemic inflammation in many chronic diseases and cancers as well as a most robust marker for COVID. In addition, it is an indicator of the survival prognosis for multiple myeloma patients. A rising NLR may suggest a poorer prognosis as multiple myeloma progresses.

A normal NLR is between 1:1 and 3:1. In this published study, the average NLR for hospitalized COVID patients was 6.15. When that ratio rose above 8.17 in the study, the risk of death increased. Strikingly, my NLR on 11/2/21 was 42.0 – a seriously disturbing level when I was diagnosed with COVID in November 2021! However, I was able to significantly reduce the NLR as I healed from COVID using my Protocols after my first bout with COVID.

This time around with Long Haulers COVID, my NLR was 11.6 on March 7, 2023, and then increased to 22.3 on April 4, 2023. My goal is to reduce the NLR from 22.3. I was able to do this before, and I am determined to do it again!

 

Where Do I Go From Here?

As I said, I am diligently working on reducing my NLR and returning to a stable state with this cancer.

In the future, a transfusion of packed red blood cells might be necessary.[4] But for now, my diet and gut health are two of my major efforts to regain the most robust immune system I can. And my oncologist agrees that my animal-based diet with an emphasis on organs and animal fats has a lot to do with the improvement of my hemoglobin.

To that end, I will continue to follow my Unconventional Cancer Protocols. But I will add a new product to the three desiccated organ products which I already consume daily. The new product is Life Blood from Heart & Soil.

 

Life Blood contains whole blood extract from grass-fed and grass-finished pastured cattle in New Zealand. The extract is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and various immune proteins. In addition, Life Blood has spleen and liver in the mixture. These vital nutrients and peptides should help to improve my iron stores, oxygen delivery, and endurance.

My way of eating will stay the same, but I will include more cooked organs more regularly. I have found a good source of liver, heart, and kidney mixed into a pound of pastured grass-fed ground beef that is easy to stir fry and delicious to eat. The farm is The Family Cow in Chambersburg, PA. There are other sources for this mixture, but I have found The Family Farmer to be dependable and to practice ethical husbandry.

 

I don’t have a panacea for curing my malignancy or any other cancer or chronic disease. As I have repeatedly said, creation of a robust immune system is critical for overall wellness and healing. My protocols are based on the case reports and papers published by The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention in Budapest, Hungary as well as my independent research of the gut microbiome and other external factors affecting cellular health.

 

Conclusion

I appreciate you being here and supporting me along my cancer journey. If I had a choice, I would have never wanted to be the face of unconventional cancer treatment – I’d choose to be healthy instead! But the information that I’ve found during my fight has been life changing for me, and I’m grateful that I have this platform to share my findings with you.

If you can take away anything from the information I share, I urge you to take control of your own health. My methods may seem extreme, and they need to be! I’m counting on them to provide me more days.

Now is the perfect time to make changes to your own health. Remove toxic elements from your diet. Exercise. Prioritize sleep. Limit stress. And if you need guidance to help with a specific issue or have questions on how to get started, please reach out. I’m here to help. My goals are to have no one suffer through illness as well as to assist everyone regain a robust immune system.

 

[1] https://drdanenberg.com/my-cancer-journey-i-think-i-had-covid/

[2] https://drdanenberg.com/my-roller-coaster-cancer-journey-march-2022-update/

[3] https://drdanenberg.com/my-cancer-journey-a-new-surprise/

[4] https://www.mymyelomateam.com/treatments/blood-transfusion

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STRESS!
– Game Plan for Success –
– 30 Ideas –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

November 22, 2020 [printfriendly]

 

 

Last week I wrote about emotional stress and how it damaged Emma’s mouth. I also explained how she completely reversed her mouth lesions by removing the specific source of her destructive stress. That was amazing!

But I’m sure you know that stress is not easy to eliminate – especially when you don’t have the ability to solve the problem itself.

This pandemic is causing stress for me and for most of the world population. What about you?

Just having to stay “socially distanced” and inside my home most of the time is stressful. Because of my challenge with incurable multiple myeloma, I know that COVID-19 could kill me. And then I worry about the health of my wife, children, and grandkids.

I can’t solve the pandemic problem, but I can control how I deal with it. Most importantly, I can recreate my robust immune system as I’ve described in previous blogs. (Read my Unconventional Cancer Protocols.) But the pandemic is not the only stress I have.

You might imagine my stress level went through the roof in 2018 when I received my cancer diagnosis and devastating prognosis. I feared my career was over, my quality of life would end, and the ability for me to provide for my family would stop abruptly. And now I have the added stress from the repercussions of the COVID pandemic.

Many of the people with whom I coach have experienced increased levels of emotional stress. The primary cause has been the pandemic and all the collateral damage this destructive force has on their daily living and their ability to maintain an income. These increased stress levels have significantly influenced their eating habits, their guts, and their pocketbooks. Working on a Game Plan to address this stress has been helpful for them. In fact, my Game Plan has delivered solutions for me. I know it can help you.

By focusing on solutions for stress NOW, you can improve your overall health and your family’s wellbeing. If you feel you need more guidance, I can assist you through my coaching program.

Let me remind you of the ultimate results of unrelenting stress reported in a study I described in my previous article. The investigators proved that ongoing stress for a long time could cause permanent autoimmune damage if not removed in short order.[1]

 

Game Plan

The following Game Plan consists of action steps and ideas to adjust your response to stress. They are a result of my brainstorming. The list is extensive but definitely not exhaustive. These ideas can assist you in dealing with anxiety, fear, and boredom which could ultimately result in damage to your body. These steps may be able to mitigate if not eliminate the damage from stress.

Go through the list. Many of these thoughts might not work for you. But if only one made a difference, then it would be well worth your effort to read through all of them. So, start your perusal and try whatever makes sense. Include your family and friends as part of your Game Plan

1. First of all, change what you can change. But realize there are things you can’t change. Forget about those things that are beyond your control. But don’t compromise with those things you can and want to change

2. Turn off the bombardment of depressing news on TV.

3. Don’t give into fake conspiracy theories and don’t spread them as facts to others. If they intrigue you, thoroughly investigate them first.

4. Consider your local health department as a reliable source for information about the pandemic.

5. Schedule FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype appointments with close friends and relatives to stay in touch.

6. Have pleasing music playing in the background in your home.

7. View podcasts and webinars that interest you. They are abundant on YouTube, iTunes, and other sources.

8. Watch animated or comedy movies to bring a smile to your face. Streaming TV apps like Disney, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV are great sources for them.

9. Take an online course through a virtual college, university, or educational facility.

10. Journal about your stress. Writing about what you are feeling “inside your head” can help bring dark thoughts into the light and defuse their negative effects on your wellbeing.

11. Write down “what worries you” and make a list of “possible solutions” so you can be proactive as well as reactive.

12. Be present. If you feel worry and fear, bring your attention to your breath and your body. Slowly breathe in and out. Focus on the here and now. Be aware of the sights, sounds, and smells around you and what you’re feeling in your body. Continue to breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer.

13. Take refreshing long walks outside.

14. Engage in a hobby or start a new hobby. Examples might be painting, reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, playing a musical instrument, or photography.

15. Exercise inside your home and outdoors.

16. Go to a playground; shoot basketballs; play tennis; throw a Frisbee; swim; engage in some sport; be physically active.

17. Dance and sing. Include your kids and spouse.

18. Play board games and search Amazon for new and challenging games for the family to play.

19. Donate to food banks and children hospitals.

20. Volunteer virtually. Some examples could be reading stories for a children’s hospital or interacting with nursing home residents via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime.

21. Help family members and friends to be calm.

22. Write creatively. Examples might include poetry, your memorable moments, fictional and non-fictional stories.

23. Self-publish your writings on Amazon – it’s free and you can create an income.

24. Create an Internet business.

25. Connect with friends and loved ones via social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. These also are great places to follow businesses and topics you like. Just remember to set yourself a timer – 45 minutes of social media is a perfect window. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of negative news – make sure to mind Game Plan #2 and Game Plan #3!

26. Sleep well: Your body needs seven to eight hours of restorative sleep each night. Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.

27. Practice stress relaxing techniques like meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation:

a. Meditation: I don’t find meditation difficult. It is very natural and simple for me. I sit in a comfortable chair in my quiet bedroom. I close my eyes and relax my thoughts. Whatever thoughts come into my head, I simply tell myself, “That’s Okay” and then let them pass. I often concentrate on something rhythmic like the exhalation and inhalation of my breaths. Sometimes I repeatedly think to myself, “I am relaxed and still.” I meditate for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.

 

b. Diaphragmatic breathing: This is deep breathing in the diaphragm. To do this, I lie in my bed, and put my hand over my belly button. As I breathe in slowly and completely, I want my belly to push my hand out as far as it can. Then when I begin to exhale slowly, I want to try to get my tummy right up to my spine as my hand moves in that direction as far as it can. I simply repeat this a number of times. I find this very relaxing.

 

c. Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique creates total body relaxation by “tensing” separate muscle groups and then “relaxing” them. It’s called the Jacobsonian Relaxation Technique. I get ready for this when I’m ready to go to bed. I lie down on my back in bed and make myself comfortable. The key for me is to progressively tighten groups of muscles and then relax them afterwards. I start with my feet. While lying in bed, I squeeze and curl my toes and constrict these muscles as tightly as I can. Sometimes, I’ll be holding my breath. I keep the muscles really tight, and then I relax those muscles slowly as I breathe out. Then I move up my body to concentrate on my legs, tightening and relaxing these muscles in the same way. I continue to move up to my buttocks, abdomen, back, shoulders, neck, hands, arms, face, etc. Progressively, I tighten these muscle groups and then let go. After one round, my entire body feels relaxed and stress-free. It’s a method I love, and it always works.

28. Provide your body with nutrients that enhance your immune system. Stress will destroy your gut microbiome, create systemic inflammation, and weaken your immune system. You can offset some of the damage by:

a. Eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods

b. Drinking natural mineral water, which has electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, etc. (ex: Gerolsteiner, Fiji, Evian)

c. Seasoning food with Himalayan salt, which contains 84 minerals and trace elements

29. Satisfy your “need to eat to relieve stress” by considering these alternatives to junk food:

a. Drink more mineral water

b. Make hard boiled eggs and have them on hand for snacking

c. Choose pork rinds for a salty crunch

d. Chew on grass-fed beef jerky

e. Eat raw honey to satisfy your “sweet tooth”

f. Enjoy some fruit like various berries, apples, and avocados

30. If your feelings of stress have escalated and are getting the best of you, there is help available. Please take action! Talk about your feelings with a loved one, or you can privately seek assistance from live counselors waiting to hear from you:

a. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

b. Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, 24/7

 

Final Thoughts

I’m not sticking my head in the sand, and I don’t believe that all bad things will go away. How ridiculous would that be? But I know that reframing stress and occupying your time with constructive and supportive activities can give you and your family a healthier perspective when dealing with stress.

For me, I need to feel relevant and productive. That’s my personality, but that may not be yours.

However, I want to emphasize that it is important for me to change what I can change and to let go completely of those things that are beyond my control. This single concept has been a game changer for me. It might be for you.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517692/

 

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