My Cancer Journey
– My Biggest Battle Now –

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

September 4, 2022

We are all going to die.

But not yet for me!

I’m like the old Timex watch commercials – “Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking”.

Let me take you back in time. Here’s a 1960 TV commercial for Timex watches featuring John Cameron Swayze:

 

 

First Premonition

Several years before I was diagnosed in 2018 with incurable bone marrow cancer, I wrote a letter that I showed to no one. I had an eerie feeling, and I put down on paper what I was feeling. I originally addressed this letter to my family, but never gave it to them.

I wrote in that letter that I knew something was not right in my body. Although I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I had no clinical signs or symptoms, I just knew that it would manifest into a serious medical concern that could kill me.

Then it happened. I was diagnosed with incurable multiple myeloma in September 2018 and was given 3-6 months to live. Obviously, I’ve more than outlived that dire prognosis. And that premonition did not become reality.

 

Why Did I Develop Multiple Myeloma?

After my diagnosis, I became obsessed with uncovering the reasons why I developed this life-threatening and incurable bone marrow cancer.

While most peer-reviewed medical papers state there is no known cause for multiple myeloma, there is some research suggesting that ionizing radiation may cause plasma cells to become malignant.[1] Interestingly, one research paper published in 2014 showed that 50-79-year-old male dentists had a higher risk for multiple myeloma compared to the general male population in that age group.[2] And there is additional research that suggests that cancer is a mitochondrial metabolic disease and not a genetic disease.[3] Diet, lifestyle, and toxic exposure can damage mitochondrial function[4], which increases metabolic disease.

Understanding these concepts, I embarked on a Health Plan to repair and rebuild my mitochondria and my immune system naturally – not through chemotherapy. From this research, I eventually developed my current 11 Unconventional Cancer Protocols. But I also needed to dig into the underlying causes of this cancer.

I cannot prove what caused multiple myeloma to manifest in my body. Initial damage to my plasma cells could go back decades before the emergence of clinical signs and symptoms of this bone marrow cancer. But I have some ideas. Insults to my body, which have been cumulative over time, may have initiated and advanced this disease.

  • My dental training and specialty training lasted 6 continuous years until completion in 1974. As a dental student working in the clinics for these years, I could have been exposed to the ionizing radiation produced by dental x-ray machines almost daily. I do not know how well I personally was protected from dental radiation in the clinics. This is low dose ionizing radiation. It is very possible I had excessive and continuous exposure during my 6 years of professional training.
  • In addition, as a dental student we learned to repair dental decay with amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are made with elemental mercury. As students, we played with mercury in our hands. Excess elemental mercury was thrown on the floor! We watched how these little balls of mercury danced on the floor, getting smaller and smaller, and eventually disappearing. Mercury vapor was all around us 24/7 in the dental school. I had no idea of the potential toxic effects from mercury exposure way back then. I certainly was exposed to excessive elemental mercury during my years as a dental student.
  • And then, other toxic elements in my environment could have compounded my toxic load to my plasma cells.

Medical doctors have known that multiple myeloma begins with one unhealthy plasma cell in the bone marrow. This unhealthy cell can multiply rapidly because it will not mature and die naturally. This malignant cell produces more malignant cells that eventually overwhelm the production of other healthy marrow cells. Specifically, malignant plasma cells crowd out healthy white and red blood cells. This can lead to fatigue, anemia, internal bleeding, kidney failure, decrease in the ability of the immune system to fight infections, and increase in bone destruction.

Multiple myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that the body cannot use. In time, these abnormal and nonfunctional antibodies accumulate in the body replacing healthy antibody production. Ultimately, the body succumbs.

If multiple myeloma is a mitochondrial metabolic disease, then improving mitochondrial function and metabolic health could be important and effective methods of treatment.[5] My unconventional cancer protocols are based on these methods.

 

Second Premonition

Since my diagnosis, I have been transparent in my cancer journey. Still, I never mentioned the letter that I wrote for my family years before.

I recently had another premonition which I am going to share. I won’t keep it secret.

My premonition was that I am close to death.

Once again, I can’t put my finger on the specifics. It’s just an eerie feeling like the last one I had a few years before my cancer diagnosis.

 

My Biggest Battle Now

Today, I am fighting the biggest battle of my life. I must win this battle and prove my newest premonition to be false once again!

If you have followed my Blogs, you know that I have experienced several setbacks – some severe. At no time have I accepted chemotherapy. My belief has been that chemo was too destructive to my immune system in general and could not cure me because my cancer was incurable. My goal has always been to lead a quality life as best as I could until I lost the fight.

My major setback was in August 2019 when I was admitted to a Hospice hospital. But my wife helped me turn my life around. I revoked hospice in late September 2019, and she helped me out of the abyss.

Today, I may be at the same edge of death once again. Yet I still am following my 11 Unconventional Cancer Protocols to help my body heal as best as it can. My attitude is positive, and my spiritual faith is strong.

I can tell you that I have had pain almost 24/7 since February 2022.

In late June 2021, I had severe side effects from Darzalex, an immunotherapy drug that was supposed to kill malignant plasma cells. It is not a chemotherapy drug. The severe side effects from Darzalex weakened my body to the extent that I contracted COVID. The COVID virus caused active multiple myeloma to resurface. As a result, my malignant plasma cells created many dysfunctional antibodies. These antibodies began to weaken my bone internally and put me at risk for pathological bone fractures. Shortly after the multiple myeloma reemerged, I began to develop serious fractures in many of my ribs and other areas in my body. The pain I had to deal with was the result of these pathological fractures which began after February 2022.

I don’t view myself as a victim. I am a survivor. And I certainly am not giving up!

I tell my wife that when I am in pain and I am complaining, it’s not because of a bad attitude. It’s because I have a hard time dealing with pain. My complaining should not be misinterpreted as submission.

Unfortunately, my pain since February 2022 was intense at times. To deal with the pain, I had to resort to medications. The pain was getting worse progressively as it moved to different parts of my body. It progressed throughout my rib cage, my spine, and my left leg.

My most recent pain was in my right humerus. On Saturday, August 5th, I was attempting to slide a dining room chair under my dining room table. When I tried to lift the chair, I immediately heard and felt a snap in my right humerus area. This pain was so piercing, it took my breath away.

A quick trip to the ER showed that I fractured my right humerus in the same spot where I broke it in half in 2019. Following my trip to the ER, the fracture has been healing slowly but surely. Today, the pain is beginning to ease up, but the use of my right arm is still very compromised. As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog by means of dictation using my Word Document software.

I’ve learned a lot about broken bones firsthand. I know that once the fractures have time to heal, the pain goes away.

 

Moving Forward

As I said, the pain because of pathological fractures has been my biggest challenge to date. This is a battle I must win. And I seem to be winning the fight. The intensity of the pain is subsiding!

Here’s another vintage Timex watch commercial that exemplifies my tenacity. My resolve is steadfast. I can “take such a licking and keep on ticking”:

 

 

However, I am not in denial. I know this bone marrow cancer is incurable based on what is known in conventional oncology today. But I have too much to do. And I am excited about my accomplishments going forward.

By the way, don’t forget to order my new book which I am so proud of – “Eat As If Your Life Depends On It”. It will be available in paperback as well as hardcover on Amazon on 9/9/22. In my new book, I summarize the rationale for a paleo, keto, and carnivore diet as well as how and why I blended them into my Better Belly Blueprint way of eating. This is an interactive book in that it also includes an example of a completed three-day food journal as well as a blank three-day food journal for you to fill out yourself. In addition, I explain a method for you to transition slowly into the concepts of my Better Belly Blueprint over a period of nine weeks. Transitioning slowly will help you avoid most adaptation issues that could occur if you jumped 100% into a change in diet. You’ll be transformed into a well-nourished, energetic, cognitively alert individual. Also, you will enhance your immune system to become as robust as possible, which will assist in overall wellness.

I am a firm believer that my diet is what turned my battles around and is the ticket to overcoming my current hurdle. My legacy is to share my learnings with you, so you don’t find yourself in my shoes, struggling with illness. If incorporating this knowledge helped me extend my life by 4 years (and counting), imagine what it can do for you!

Thank you for reading, listening, and being a confidant. To everyone who has been following me and my cancer journey, my desire is to be a beacon of hope and encouragement. We all can improve our overall Wellness even in the light of a life-threatening challenge.

Although we’re all going to die, it’s not yet for me!

 

[1] https://www.mymyelomateam.com/resources/exposure-to-radiation-and-the-risk-for-myeloma

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25164308

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493566/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4256704/

[5] https://www.mdpi.com/2218-1989/11/9/572/htm

 

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My 3rd Serious Setback

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

August 19, 2019

 

 

 

My 3rd Serious Setback

 

My journey with aggressive multiple myeloma started with my diagnosis in September 2018. One fact, which defined the extent of my disease at that time, was that my bone structure throughout my body was riddled with holes. These lytic lesions were the direct result of the bone breakdown process from my bone marrow cancer. My weakened bones were subject to pathological fractures. “Pathological fractures” are caused by a disease, rather than an injury. Both of my previous setbacks were related to pathological fractures.

 

Recently, I learned that I have the acute potential for other pathological fractures – in the thigh area of my left leg and the humerus in my right arm. My oncologist ordered a PET/CT Scan[1] about a month ago. He observed an expanding lesion in my left femur which was breaking through the cortex of the bone. Basically, this meant that I am in danger of my leg fracturing. My weakened femur may not be able to support my normal body weight. A fracture in my leg would cause severe pain. Also, there was a lesion that was expanding to a lesser degree in the humerus of my right arm.

 

After the PET/CT Scan, I scheduled two appointments – one with an orthopedic surgeon and one with a radiation oncologist. Both specialists said that there was no way to prevent another pathological fracture. The orthopedic surgeon suggested that a rod be surgically placed through my femur to help support my weight, but it wouldn’t prevent a fracture. The radiation oncologist said that radiation might help with pain but could make the femur weaker. Also, it appeared that the lesion in my humerus was not a great concern at that time. Since I was not having pain in the femur or the humerus areas at the time of the appointment, I elected to do nothing for the time being.

 

Meanwhile, my blood chemistries continued to show relative stability with some ups and some downs. And my oncologist, whom I saw after the bone scan, believed my current chemistries were not showing a spike in my bone marrow cancer. However, there were signs of slow deterioration in my bone structure.

 

 

3rd Serious Setback

Then, things changed. The week before Friday, August 9, 2019, I began to have sharp pain in my triceps and biceps of my right arm. The pain became severe. My right arm could hardly function.

 

I had new x-rays of my right arm on August 9th. The results showed multiple erosions of the humerus of my right arm and confirmed the worse – another pathological fracture. The radiation oncologist said that radiation would not stop the pain from the fracture area, but it might help relieve some of the pain from the lytic bone lesions. However, I am dealing with innumerable bone lesions throughout my body – all of which could become symptomatic.

 

The next stage of my journey is becoming clearer to me and my medical team. I will have to concentrate on pain management.

 

On Monday, August 12th, I enrolled for in-home hospice care for pain management.

 

 

From Me to You

I want to thank you for your empathy and support. I want to let you know how much I appreciate YOU. I also want to let everyone know that my unconventional approach to my cancer treatment has allowed me to live a quality life with dignity until now. That was, and still is, my goal. Certainly, I will continue with my integrative approach.

 

I know I have written about this over and over again. But it is important to remind you that I believe living without quality and dignity is not worth pursuing for me.

 

Knowing what I know now, I would not have treated myself any differently. I never would have accepted conventional treatment using caustic chemicals which might extend my life but would have destroyed my existing immune system. Again, my emphasis is to lead a quality of life. Longevity has never been part of my equation. I have no regrets.

 

If hospice can provide adequate pain management to the point where I can still function and write as I am doing now, you will continue to read what I continue to write.

 

However, I am a realist. I know I have a terminal disease.

 

[1] A PET/CT scan allows the radiologist to see both the anatomical structure and the metabolic functions of the complete body. It is perfect to see malignant masses and bone lesions on a cellular level.

 

 

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