Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
February 26, 2023 [printfriendly]
Life can turn on a dime.
Just a few weeks ago, I published my updated Blog about my cancer journey and Continuing to Thrive.
And I was thriving!
And I’m still thriving!
But there’s a “but” …
But now, I’m dealing with a new surprise – a surprise I was not expecting. I guess that’s why I call it a surprise.
My New Surprise
My new surprise is “Long COVID”.
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 Americans who had Covid are struggling with “Long Covid”. Unfortunately, I am one of those as are many of you. So, I’m doing what I do best: finding unconventional methods to regain the quality of my life.
Read on to learn how I worked with my doctors to understand my condition, create benchmarks of my current state, and devise a plan to get me back on track. There is so much that medical professionals still don’t know about long COVID. If you find yourself in a similar battle, I invite you to follow along. I’ll be sharing what I learn, what works, and providing guidance to help you get your health back.
But first, here is how Long COVID crept up on me.
It seems like the COVID episode I had the week of Christmas 2022 caused undiagnosed damage to my lungs and heart. I didn’t know then what I know now. Now, I’m manifesting symptoms. And I’m getting educated about Long COVID.
My early symptoms began around the time I published my Blog about thriving. It started with having excessive phlegm. Then it progressed to shortness of breath. I had trouble taking deep breaths and was easily fatigued. And these symptoms increased.
As I said, not much is understood about Long COVID. As a matter of fact, Long COVID was not believed to be a “real” condition by many conventional healthcare professionals until recently.
Fortunately, my doctors have come to believe it to be real. Coincidently, one of my docs has had Long COVID herself and is empathetic to what I am experiencing.
My medical team recommended several medical tests. These are not specific for the diagnosis of Long COVID but can indicate changes that are consistent with those who have Long COVID symptoms.
The following tests showed several disconcerting results …
- My BNP blood test result was elevated. BNP stands for Brain Natriuretic Peptide. BNP is a protein secreted by the ventricular musculature in the heart in response to volume or pressure overload. Since its discovery over 30 years ago, BNP has emerged as an important biomarker in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF).
- My Chest CT Scan showed signs of some recent lung damage from possible infection. This may suggest the presence of Long COVID.
- Although I have a CBC (Complete Blood Count) blood test performed every 4 weeks, my current CBC showed a lower RBC (Red Blood Cell), Hemoglobin, and Platelet count than my usual results. Also, my NLR (Neutrophil Lymphocyte Ratio) was significantly elevated, which is consistent with COVID.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, my cancer journey was centered around my efforts to improve my immune system to help heal my body as best as possible and as naturally as possible. My most recent battle with Long COVID symptoms has put another wrinkle into my equation. Although the equation has changed, I’m going to continue with my Unconventional Cancer Protocols to help my body heal.
Among other things, my Protocols provide all the bioavailable nutrients my body requires to function properly in their natural ratios and symbiotic relationships with other nutrients that are consistent with healthy metabolism.
In addition, I will repeat the BNP and CBC blood tests once a month and the Chest CT Scan in 3 months.
My original goal is still my current goal – to enjoy a quality of life as best as I can. Longevity is not my primary concern although that would be quite fine. (See, I still have a unique but morbid sense of humor.)
However, from everything I read, therapy for Long COVID should be approached gradually, and recovery could take a long time.
My Doctors’ Recommendations
It is my decision to continue with my Unconventional Cancer Protocols to support my immune system. Also, my doctors have recommended the following 2 practices to assist my body’s healing and repair …
- Breathing exercises with an Incentive Spirometer
- Physical therapy to slowly regain muscle efficiency and assist with functional movement and improvement
Long COVID has many names:
- COVID Long-Haul
- Chronic COVID-19
- Long-haul COVID
- Post-acute COVID-19
- Post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC)
- Long-term effects of COVIDTop of Form
As I mentioned earlier, the CDC has determined that 20% of those having COVID go on to develop Long COVID. To receive a diagnosis of Long COVID, a patient generally continues with symptoms for at least three or more months following the viral infection.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus can wreak havoc on virtually every body system …
Of course, not all people with Long COVID have the same symptoms. There are more than 200 reported symptoms associated with various individuals suffering from Long COVID. And these symptoms can linger, change, or reappear over time. Here are just a few of the organ symptoms affected and their manifestations …
Lung and Heart Symptoms
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Heart palpitations
Neurological & Muscular Symptoms
- Brain fog and memory issues
- Dizziness when standing up
- Muscle aches and pain
- Joint pain
- Sleep problems
- Feelings of “pins and needles”
- Loss of taste or smell
- Depression or anxiety
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
There is no test to specifically diagnose Long COVID, but some of the following medical tests may suggest changes that occur with those suffering from Long COVID.
- Brain Natriuretic Peptides: Elevations in the proteins measured in this test can indicate heart failure.
- Complete Blood Count: This can rule out anemia in a person who is short of breath and provide information about red and white blood cell counts. An elevated white blood cell count can signal an active infection. This test also can be used to uncover an elevated Neutrophil Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) , which is a feature of acute COVID.
- C-Reactive Protein: This test detects the liver’s response to inflammation in the body. This biomarker is usually elevated in people with COVID-19.
- Ferritin: This test also can be used to detect anemia or problems with red blood cells, as well as inflammation in the body.
- Complete Metabolic Panel: The CMP can be used to detect imbalances in minerals and electrolytes, as well as provide information on kidney and liver function.
- Troponin: Elevated troponin levels can indicate heart damage or even a heart attack.
- Electrocardiogram and a Chest CT Scan: These tests may help if there is concern about heart damage or lung damage.
Current treatment for Long COVID appears to be “hit and miss” with little or no emphasis by the conventional medical community on healthy nutrition and lifestyle changes. In some cases, Long COVID damage may be permanent and may require ongoing care.
My Personal Cancer & Long COVID
I’m travelling a path that is uncharted. Multiple Myeloma has no known cure in conventional oncology. And Long COVID is still being debated among the medical profession. However, recent studies have shown that patients with multiple myeloma have a higher mortality rate after they contracted COVID.
These uncharted health concerns are motivating me to be even more courageous and unconventional. I’m a fighter. I will fight the fight in my own way with the integrated assistance of my medical team.
If you suffer from Long COVID, I know what you are going through. Although we may have different symptoms, recovery must be thought out and approached gently. Various medical disciplines might need to be consulted. I’ll share everything I learn from reading and from my approach to my personal treatment.
By the way, do you know that I proclaim myself to be a Survivor and not a Victim? Let me help you if you have questions about your coping skills and anything else relating to your nutrition and wellness. I offer a free 30-Minute Consult with me to discuss your concerns.