When Bad Things Happen to Good People
– Dedicated to My Wife, Sue

Dr. Al Danenberg Nutritional Periodontist

October 23, 2022 [printfriendly]

If you have been following my Cancer Journey, you know that I have extolled the virtues of my wife, Sue. She has been my pillar of strength, my motivation, and my sounding board for many, many years.

In August 2019, I entered Hospice because of a series of pathological bone fractures. As you know, it is very rare to enter hospice and then be able to revoke it. I attribute my health today to Sue. She gave me some tough love while I was in Hospice in September 2019. All this was happening as Charleston was preparing for Hurricane Dorian. By the beginning of October 2019, Sue helped me to redirect my cancer journey and revoke hospice.

She is an amazing woman who also has guided me to restore my quality of life. I love my wife. I owe my success to her.

Now she is needing my strength.


When Bad Things Happen to Good People

On Sunday, 10/9/22, Sue was having trouble catching her breath. She never complains about any medical issues no matter what they may be. But on that Sunday evening, she was in the bedroom changing her clothes. When she emerged, she looked pale. In a quiet voice she said, “I can’t catch my breath.” I asked her if she wanted to go to the emergency room.

She quickly answered, “Yes!”.

I immediately knew it was bad.

I called the ambulance which arrived within minutes. I couldn’t accompany her to the ER because of my bone fractures.

After a couple of hours, the ER doctor called me and said that Sue apparently was having internal bleeding and possible kidney failure. They were going to admit her to the ICU as soon as a bed was available. The physician thought she would be transferred that evening to a downtown hospital.

Early Monday morning after being transported, Sue was seen by a myriad of medical specialists in the ICU. She was hooked up to various monitors and an IV.

And then the tests began.

Needless to say, it has been a harrowing experience for her. Although she is an RN, it’s scary when the tests are being performed on YOU! And it’s scary when you don’t know what is wrong. And you don’t know what you don’t know.

It seems that many medical complications were contributing to her need to be in the ER that Sunday evening. It took a week before all the physicians had integrated all the results of all the tests to come up with a medical plan to restore my wife’s health.

I visited her in the ICU for a few hours a couple of times. However, I am not able to be with her physically in her hospital room every day. So, writing about her as I am doing now is cathartic for me.

As of this writing, it appears that she in turning the corner and beginning to improve. She was transferred out of ICU and into a cardiac room on 10/16/22. Sue tells me that she is starting in-hospital physical therapy soon. However, she is not stable yet, and her medical team is working diligently.

The plan is for Sue to stay in the hospital for a few more weeks while she undergoes physical therapy and continues to stabilize her overall health.


We Go Back a Long Way

Sue and I have spent decades together. She and I were married in 1969. That’s longer than most of you who are reading this have been alive. We met in the 9th grade. Sue tells the story about telling her mom after she met me in the 9th grade that she was going to marry me someday.

Both of us grew up in Baltimore, MD. While in dental school in Baltimore, I was in the “early commissioning program” for the Air Force. Both of our children were born in Baltimore while I was in dental training.

After I completed dental and specialty graduate school, the Air Force sent us to the Charleston Air Force Base in SC where I was the Chief of Periodontics for my 2-year obligation. Since we loved Charleston, Sue and I decided to make the city our new home. I went into private practice for the next 44 years but stopped seeing clinical patients when I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2018.

We currently have two adult children and 3 amazing grandchildren – two of which are in college now. How time flies!!

Sue and I have built a beautiful life together. Like all love stories, we’ve had our challenges, and this latest one has been hard.

I cherish my wife. Sue means EVERYTHING to me!


Changes Are Coming

When Sue finally is released from the hospital, there will be some new and great things happening. As the chapters of a great novel introduce the reader to a new situation, our new life chapter will introduce us to elder living and internal discovery …

  • We will sell our home and move into an independent senior living facility just a few miles from where we live today.
  • As a surprise for Sue, I purchased a Sleep Number Climate 360 Smart Bed with adjustable frame from the Sleep Number Store in North Charleston, SC. And let me tell you that all the transactions were handled on the phone with the store Manager, Erin. Erin is the most customer friendly, efficient, empathetic individual I have met in a long time.
  • As a team, Sue and I will continue to help one another.
  • Our new living environment will be supportive to her and my medical issues as well as provide many varied social activities.
  • I will continue to provide all the services I currently offer on my website – they just will be coming from our new location. By the way, I may get preoccupied with learning mahjong and playing bingo. 🙂
  • And I will be enthusiastically praising the virtues of an animal-based diet with all the residents I meet at our new location as well as the head chef.



One day before I published this Blog on my Website, Sue took a turn for the worse.

She is now in the SICU, Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

I am waiting to hear from her medical team.



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  1. I am praying for you and Sue! May God lay his healing hand on both of you and cover you in his love and Grace!

    • You and Sue are in my thoughts and prayers. We’re all here for you and Sue just like you’re here for all of us!

  2. I am praying for you both, Dr Al. God bless you.

  3. My prayers and thoughts are with you at this time. Dana

  4. an abundance of positive energy toward you and sue. she will make it!!! love to you both

  5. I’m praying hard for a quick and full recover Sue! You both have so much more life to enjoy together in your new home. Hugs Dr. Al ❤️

  6. My prayers for you and your wife during this trying time. You have been such a gift to my husband and I .

  7. God bless your dear wife and you, Dr. Al!! I’m praying for you both!!

  8. Thinking of you and your amazing wife. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  9. Also sending prayers to both your wife, Sue, and yourself during this challenging time. May her recovery be swift so that you both can be together again soon! Heartfelt wishes to you!

  10. I am sorry to hear this and wishing you the strength and courage to get through this. Hoping for a full recovery for Sue.

  11. Sending positive vibes and healing energy to you both!

  12. So sorry to hear of her suffering. I hope better days ahead for you both.

  13. Saying a prayer for you and Sue.

  14. Sending love and prayers for miraculous healing and the peace for you and Sue. ❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻

  15. Dear Dr. Al, thinking of both you and Sue, praying for your both and sending positive, healing thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories of your life with Sue and your various chapters.

    Mary Lou, a fellow PHCI Health Coach

  16. Sending love your way! Praying for peace, comfort and healing.

  17. So sorry Dr Al. You’ve made a very smart decision to move into independent care.

  18. Prayers for you both. Your connection to each other and to Spirit is strong. Thank you for sharing.🙏🏻

  19. Bless you and your wife, your immense love is felt through your words you so graciously share with us. Sending healing and best wishes

  20. So sorry to hear about Sue’s health crisis. Thinking of you both and sending healing wishes.

  21. Praying for you both, in Jesus’ Name

  22. So sorry to hear about your wife god bless you both. Hope you will both be together again very soon and enjoying you new home. 🤗

  23. Sending heartfelt wishes for Sue’s complete recovery! My best to you both as you embark on a new adventure in your new home!

  24. My prayers are with you and Sue. What a dynamic team you are and I pray you have more years of strength and energy ahead of you. Thank you for sharing so openly and I love the way you are willing to make changes for this next stage of life.

  25. Best wishes to you and your wife!

  26. Best wishes!

  27. Praying for Sue’s well-being and peace of mind for all of your family.

  28. Sending best wishes to you both

  29. Sending many healing prayers and loving thoughts to you and Sue. May God bless you both with His strength during this difficult time.

  30. May you & Sue be surrounded by love & light & strength & courage & wisdom & HEALING ❗️

  31. May you & Sue be surrounded by love & light & strength & courage & wisdom & HEALING ❗️❗️❗️☮️🌸

  32. Dr Al, you and Sue are in my prayers! Healing is so tough at times! Please keep us posted on both of you!

  33. What a change! May you trust in the Lord for everything, lean not on your own understanding (Prv 3:5). Lean on His strength.

  34. Dr Al, both you and Sue are in my prayers! Sending love and light your way! 💐

  35. Holding space and keeping you both in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

  36. My prayers go out to both of you during this trying time.

  37. I am adding my prayers for you and Sue, Dr. Al! May the God of Armies bless and keep you both.🙏💐❤️

  38. Al, while reading about Sue, I couldn’t help but feel the powerful love you both have for each other and your beautiful family. You are soul mates for sure surrounded by an abundance of love by the many people you have all touched in both of your lives and practices. So now it’s our turn to send that powerful healing force back to you both as you are in our thoughts and intentions for healing and recovery. Much love, Gerry

  39. I am sorry to hear of your dear wife’s health. I have been praying for you since I met you and now for your wife as she goes through this valley in her own personal journey. I know that I wouldn’t be here without the help of the Lord God almighty in my life! Praying for His peace and grace to be upon both of you and that you may know him now and forever more🙏

  40. You are both in my prayers! I’m sending love and gratitude for continued healing ❤️‍🩹

  41. My prayers are with you and Sue. The love and support you have for each other is inspirational. May God bless you both.

  42. I am sending prayers, positive thoughts, and love to you and Sue.
    I hope she will be by your side soon.

  43. Our hearts, all KAMPers, are saddened for not seeing the light on tonight. We miss you both dearly. It is going to be tough not having you next door after all these years. We all love you both very very very much. Tearing up now but we know that we will see you soon. Praying for you both and for God’s healing to get Sue back home with you soon. Sending hugs and love to you and Sue. Phamily’s

  44. Dr Al, I’m so sorry to hear of your wife’s medical struggles. You always write with love, purpose and wise perspective. Sending positive thoughts and prayers from Chicago!

  45. I am praying for both of you! May God bless you with much needed healing!

  46. Dear Dr.Al, I am writing to you to say I will pray for you and your dear wife. We all need prayer. My husband is battling pancreatic cancer stage 1B. He has done some chemo with disasterous results. He has had cellulitis and his blood counts have been low along with elevated lymphocytes. We have done alternative therapies which I have hopes for. It is IV MAH ozone therapy and vitamin C IV infusions. This seems to give him energy and keeps him busy. I have been praying for guidance on his diet. I had him on a pretty strict keto diet. He lost a lot of weight. He seemed to do good until we started chemo. I did not feel comfortable with chemo. Now he has had four treatments and I am asking him to not go back. His blood work doesn’t look good. I am not a medical professional, but am smart enough to do research and understand some biology. I can’t see how destroying ones immune system can help you fight an invader like cancer. I am so thankful to find you as I researched the carnivore diet. I will have to modify it some. My husband does like some fruit and vegetables.
    But with strict avoidance to carbohydrates which his body seems to be craving with this chemo. I told him the cancer is the one craving them. Anyways long story short, thank you for sharing your life and journey with us and I will continue to follow you. Much prayers for you and your wife.

  47. Your love story is beautiful and inspiring. That kind of love is why we are here. Thank you for sharing your heart. I am also sending all my love to you and Sue.

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