By Al Danenberg, DDS (https://drdanenberg.com)
It was an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer.
And this malignancy was incurable with today’s conventional medicine.
I was a very healthy male, age 70, and beginning to retire from a life career as a periodontist. I had long researched and discovered natural ways to heal or prevent illnesses, and focused on a nutrient-dense diet since a health crisis at 59.
(The research and writing are on my website, have been published in Well Being Journal, and on many Podcasts around the world. My experiences were published by Elektra Press in 2017 in a book titled Crazy Good Living. https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Good-Living-Healthy-Gums-Life/dp/0999157310/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1590164824&sr=8-1)
Then, on my way to a convention, a pain developed in my shoulder and persisted. This led to a medical diagnosis of cancer. The doctors said I had 3-6 months to live. I and my family were stunned.
My condition then worsened, even with the best medical treatment and all the natural protocols that had seemed to work so well prior. I had to enter hospice, prepare to die, face the fears, make all the preparations for death, and go through the pains of separating from family and friends.
Then something happened that changed this forecast of imminent death.
In the beginning
After a lifelong career as a periodontist, starting in 2018, there was more writing, lecturing, and consulting around the country. All of it was focused on the benefits of an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet as well as an active lifestyle. I was fit and considered myself as a “senior poster boy” for a healthy lifestyle.
During the flight from home in Charleston, SC to speak at a convention in Austin, TX, there was a connection through the Atlanta Airport. This was April 26, 2018. As usual I walked from the arrival gate to my connecting flight, carrying a luggage bag on my right shoulder where an unusual pain occurred this time. After the presentation in Austin and return to Charleston, that pain in the right shoulder persisted.
It felt as though something muscular was damaged. However, this soreness lasted a few months. It spread from the shoulder to the back. Eventually, it involved the chest area. I sought advice from my medical doctor on August 23, 2018.
This MD didn’t find anything wrong other than the soreness. He ordered some blood work. The only abnormality was an elevated CRP (C-reactive protein), which indicated some type of systemic inflammation. He then arranged for an MRI of the chest and pelvis areas to help diagnose.
The physician called after he received the results. He asked if I wanted to discuss the MRI results on the phone or in his office. “How bad could it be?” I asked. “Let’s talk now.”
He told me I should be very concerned. The test showed that I had 2 cracked ribs, a compression fracture of one vertebra, a hairline crack in my pelvis, and a soft-tissue mass on the side of my spine. “What the hell?” I thought. His question to me was, “Did you fall down some stairs or get beaten up?” My response was an emphatic, “No!”
The doctor then got very serious and said, “I think you have either leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma.” What would be going on in your mind if you were just given these options? I immediately feared for my life, thinking it would change abruptly forever. I was dumbfounded.
His next step was to request a CT scan. The radiologist identified “innumerable lytic lesions throughout my skeleton.” That meant that there were many holes in the bones, just as someone who had severe osteoporosis. The skeletal system was very fragile.
My MD brought an oncologist into the fray. The oncologist ordered more blood tests, a PET Scan, and a soft tissue biopsy of the mass near the spine. In addition, the muscle soreness morphed to severe sternum and rib pain.
Diagnosis and Prognosis
Events began passing by quickly. My life had already been transformed into a journey of terror. On September 19, 2018, all these tests led my oncologist to confirm a diagnosis of moderate-to-advanced IgA Kappa Light-Chain Multiple Myeloma.
This is an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. The doctor stated that my prognosis was dismal. He believed there was only 3 to 6 months to live if I did nothing. I could be dead by the end of 2018. The blood drained from my head.
I was stunned. I thought at the time I was one of the healthiest 71-year-olds walking this earth. Obviously, not only was this incorrect, I needed to get more proactive immediately.
In general, multiple myeloma is a form of bone marrow cancer, which is characterized by excessive production of cancerous plasma cells. Plasma cells are a key component of the immune system and produce antibodies to combat invading microorganisms, toxins, or other foreign substances. When these plasma cells aren’t functioning properly, the body can’t fight infections.
To treat this disease, the oncologist recommended a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs to start immediately. However, he said that there was no conventional cure for this cancer. While chemotherapy could result in remission of malignant plasma cells, the cancer would come back. Then, more aggressive chemotherapy would need to be considered since the original cocktail of drugs would no longer work. Eventually, conventional medicine would prove ineffective, and death would result from the complications of multiple myeloma.
My wife and our two adult children were present in my oncologist’s office during this diagnosis and prognosis. I had to act quickly, but I couldn’t accept a treatment regimen that would be so caustic to the body and destroy the immune system without offering a cure.
I intended to delve deeply into unconventional therapies to help my body heal naturally. However, because of the severe pain in my ribs and sternum from the malignancy, I required targeted radiation to the area in order to breathe without pain.
Unconventional Cancer Protocols
Eventually, with the help of integrative medical professionals, we came up with a set of unconventional cancer protocols which I started immediately. From the day of the diagnosis until now, I have tweaked my protocols frequently. (My current Unconventional Cancer Protocols are posted at the end of this paper.)
Things went well for a while. Blood chemistries and cancer blood tests stayed stable. My attitude was upbeat and forward looking for the most part. But being human, I had moments of depression. However, I did climb out of the abyss of self-pity quickly, but not alone.
My wife has been a pillar of strength all along. Whenever moments of self-pity or worse would set in, she was there lickety-split with encouragement and even some tough love to set things straight. She is an awesome person and an amazing wife. I am fortunate to have convinced her to be my wife 51 years ago!
The Scariest Days of my Life
I had outlived the doctor’s 3-6-month prediction. However, starting in March 2019, there were some pathological fractures in vertebrae near the pelvis. Treatment resulted in continuous pain in my legs. As the residual pain progressed, I entered hospice in early August to help with pain management.
On the night of August 21, 2019, while brushing and flossing my teeth in my bathroom. I turned to throw the floss into the trashcan. In that split second, my right femur split in half, and my leg gave way underneath me. I collapsed to the ceramic floor. I bounced off my right rib cage and also fractured my right humerus in half.
Raw, indescribable pain pierced the entire right side of my body. I couldn’t move; I thought I would die. When you fear for your life, all things become overwhelming. I screamed for help from my wife while completely helpless lying on the bathroom floor.
The pathological bone fractures were caused by weakened bones from this incurable marrow cancer. The compromised skeleton allowed the body weight to snap the bones. Emergency personnel were attempting to put me on a stretcher carefully and be transported to the ER. There was excruciating pain. I had to revoke hospice in order to be treated in the hospital.
I stopped taking all of the supplements begun after the diagnosis in September 2018. Now, I was giving up my life, my life-long identity as a personal self, and I entered the deepest and darkest state of depression I have ever experienced. Not only did my femur and humerus break, but so did my spirit.
Immediately after entering the ER, the doctors put me on narcotics. I was beyond lethargic. I had a catheter placed and was required to use a bedpan. Within 24 hours, I had emergency surgery to stabilize my broken right femur with plates and screws. My fractured humerus was not treated at that time.
I refused physical therapy after surgery, and there was nothing else the hospital could do for me. My wife knew she could not bring me home, and I was readmitted to hospice. I was transported to a hospice hospital to die. The doctors gave me heavy doses of narcotic medications. It was either the pain or the drugs—I chose the drugs. I was so drugged that my wife could not rouse me even by slapping my face.
While being medicated to remain comfortable in the hospice hospital, there was the beginning of Hurricane Dorian striking the city. The hurricane was bearing down on Charleston on September 4, 2019. It was moving at only 1 mph but packed winds of 185 mph. The hospital was ordered to evacuate.
By that afternoon, the staff had me evacuated to my home. My family had to scramble to get a hospital bed to prepare for my evacuation. After I got home, the power went out in my neighborhood for 23 hours. I was immobilized in an electric hospital bed that didn’t work because there was no electricity. There was no air conditioning, and the outside temperature was in the 90s. I was sweating, with no lights, TV, or telephone service, and I was scared almost to death.
Then Something Wonderful Happened
I was confined to this hospital bed at home for about two weeks. We had to hire an aide to help me do the basic life needs that we all take for granted.
My wife challenged me to get my head together. Also, my son cajoled me to return to my unconventional protocols to heal. Remarkably, I then started to rally.
One of the essential factors of healing is “mental attitude.” I had dealt with this cancer with a positive attitude up until the disaster in the bathroom. Then I let stress, depression, and fear take over. The fact is, the way a person deals with stress in life affects various biochemicals in the bloodstream.
If you are emotionally stressed, depressed, worried, or scared in any way, your body releases substances that ultimately affect everything, including your gut. The outer barrier of your gut will break down causing a “leaky gut.” Many of the toxic elements in the lumen of your gut then could “leak out” into your bloodstream. If this occurs, your immune system will go into overdrive to gobble up these toxic elements.
If too much toxic stuff gets into your circulatory system unchecked, “metabolic endotoxemia” will ensue. This is extremely harmful to the rest of the body and can cause the development of chronic diseases including cancer. It also can prevent the body from healing naturally. So, getting my head together went a long way in my recovery from the biochemicals of stress caused by fears.
My wife then arranged for a physical therapist to come to my house while I was confined to my hospital bed at home. Within several days I was able to move my body more on my own. I even was able to turn and sit up in bed like a normal human being. My spirit began to brighten.
As my pain started to subside, I began to wean off narcotics. My attitude improved. I knew there were greater powers controlling my destiny.
We are on earth in a physical body to learn specific lessons. If we don’t have these experiences thoroughly, we will have the opportunity to return in another physical body to get it right. This is the concept of reincarnation that has been described in many religious texts. Also, the works of Michael Newton detail his research regarding the immortal soul in Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls. One of my passions now in this life is to overcome this malignancy with natural protocols and get the word out to all who will listen.
By the 2nd week of my physical therapy, the catheter was removed and I was able to use a bedside commode rather than the bedpan. I thought I was becoming normal again.
A few days went by, and I was able to move around my home using a walker and could use the bathroom like a human being. The hospital bed continued to be my bed-of-choice because of the mechanics of the adjustable mattress.
My wife was a crucial part of my remarkable recovery. She dealt me some “tough love” and shook my mental being. Basically, she made it very clear that I am not a victim but a survivor and that I needed to get my act together just as it was before this last serious setback. It became obvious I was not yet done with this life, and that I must have more to give. I revoked hospice care again so I could return to normal.
Eventually, by the beginning of October, I was walking with my walker down the driveway and on the sidewalks in the neighborhood. I was able to get into a car as a passenger to go places. The date is October 10, 2019.
When I met with my oncologist on October 11, 2019, we had an intense talk. He told me that I have an extreme risk for further pathological fractures. In other words, it is likely I would experience other devastating fractures just as I did on August 21st. I must do whatever I could to help prevent future fractures.
My oncologist recommended a new site-specific immunotherapy to destroy any malignant plasma cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5013856/ He also suggested a new targeted immunotherapy to prevent further pathological fractures. https://www.amgen.com/media/news-releases/2018/02/results-from-phase-3-xgeva-denosumab-study-in-patients-with-multiple-myeloma-published-in-the-lancet-oncology/ To maintain quality of life, I elected to integrate these new treatments along with my extensive natural approach to strengthen my body.
Other Pathological Fractures
While lifting myself out of the hospital bed at home on October 16, 2019 I felt a deep and piercing pain in the thigh area of my left leg. The pain was so intense I could not get out of bed. I called EMS and was transported to the ER.
There was another fracture in the femur area but not severe. However, it required surgery to stabilize the weakened left femur. Surgery went well, and on October 18, 2019 I was transferred to an in-hospital rehabilitation center to recover for two weeks. I now have two bionic legs.
Personal limitations then consisted of inabilities to travel distances by car as well as anywhere by plane. It is difficult to use my right arm because of the previously fractured humerus, as well as to walk distances because of the fractures in the right and left femurs. Tiredness puts me to bed at 8 pm.
I am not complaining. I have so much for which to be grateful. These limitations are nothing compared to what I had to endure when I entered hospice in August 2019.
It’s now May 2020. My oncologist wanted to get a better picture of what was happening with the cancer cells throughout my body. He ordered a third PET Scan. My first PET Scan was in September 2018, and my last PET Scan was in June 2019. Both showed signs of active cancer.
A PET Scan creates a 3-dimensional picture of the inside of the body. PET stands for “positron emission tomography.” Radioactive glucose is infused through a vein to “light up” areas of the body where cancer cells are active. Cancer cells “eat up” glucose for their energy source. If there are no active cancer cells, the PET Scan will be completely negative.
A New Beginning
So, on May 8, 2020, I had a new PET Scan from head to toe. The oncologist called me at home that night. He said, “Al, put your wife on speaker phone.” Then he proceeded to read the radiologist’s interpretation of the PET Scan.
George, my oncologist, explained that the PET Scan showed no active cancer cells. I had him repeat this several times. I could tell he was beaming. Without a doubt, my wife and I were emotionally struck. The essence of this report was that my entire body was free of active cancer cells. My wife and I stared at one another wondering if we really defeated this incurable bone marrow cancer. Could it be that after 21 months, I am cured?
Now for the reality. I attribute the cancer-free PET Scan to a combination of all the integrated protocols I have been following and the attitudinal/spiritual shift I described above. But I’m not out of the woods yet. Some of my specific cancer blood tests still report a high level of protein from malignant plasma cells.
These test results may reflect the dead or dying cells that my immune system has not metabolized so far. Also, I still have severe and innumerable bone lesions as a result of this aggressive cancer. My risk is dangerously high for additional pathological fractures. I must be prudent and proactive to protect my bones from breaking. So, I’m not able to say that I am in complete remission today. But maybe I am close! ?
There is no claim here that the protocol I created for myself will cure cancer or be beneficial for others to follow. I can’t say that any of these protocols by themselves have brought the bone marrow cancer into remission:
- Eat a healthy diet: I follow a nutrient-dense, primal, organic, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory eating plan. I consume a fat-to-protein gram ratio of 2:1 or greater to maintain ketosis the majority of the time. I eat when I’m hungry and drink when I’m thirsty. There are no processed foods in this plan
- Fortify the gut and maintain an intact gut epithelial barrier: I take 2 caps of Megasporebiotic, 4 caps of MegaIgG2000, and 1 scoop of MegaPre mixed with 1 scoop of MegaMucosa in cold water (all products from Microbiome Labs). I also take 2 caps of TerraFlora Deep Immune, which also stimulates the production of interferons (IFNs) as well as activating downstream immune cells (from Enviromedica).
- Support the bones: I take 6 caps of OsteoVegan (from NuMedica), 2 caps of Megaquinone K2-7 (from Microbiome Labs), and 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (from NatureWise).
- Boost the immune system: I take 3 herbal liquid extracts: 5 ml. of Echinacea Premium 1:2; 2.5 ml. of Korean Ginseng 1:2; and 5 ml. of Astragalus 1:2. I add Marshmallow Root 1:5 Glycetract, 5.0 ml. to the 3 herbal liquid extracts for mucous membrane support and as a “sweetener” for the other 3 “bitter” elixirs. (all from MediHerb)
- Repair mitochondria: I use PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) Therapy using the PureWave full-body mat first thing in the morning for 8-minutes at setting “Vital – 9”, afternoon session for 8-minutes at setting “Basis – 10”, in early evening for 8-minutes at setting “Relax – 4”, and at bedtime for 24-minutes at setting “Relax – 2”.
- Assure animal-based nutrients for my cells: I eat 1-2 teaspoons of raw Manuka honey, which is made by bees and has none of the hazards of plant foods (1 Tsp of honey = 6 grams of carbs) – most people will stay in ketosis if carbohydrates are less than 25-50 grams/day. I also take 5 caps of Desiccated Organ Complex and 4 caps of Desiccated Bone Marrow (supplied by Enviromedica).
- Control pain: I take 200mg or 400 mg of ibuprofen only when necessary.
- Target specific proteins involved in my cancer: I take 2 human-derived monoclonal antibody immunotherapies—XGEVA injections attack a protein that causes my bones to weaken and they inactivate this protein. Darzalex infusions attack a specific protein on the surface of malignant plasma cells and kills them. Along with the Darzalex, I am given premeds (Tylenol, Benadryl, and Decadron) only the day of infusion to limit any side effects.
- Help prevent colds and flu: I use a Bee Propolis Mouth Spray 4 times a day if I feel any “scratchiness” in my throat (from Beekeeper’s Naturals).
- Strengthen my body: I do arm and leg stretches daily. Based on the condition of my skeleton, I do modified-pushups and modified-squats several days a week. Also, I walk one mile outside every other day.
Read other articles by Al Danenberg, DDS, about functional medicine, nutrition, and other natural means for preventing or reversing dental illnesses in the following print copies of Well Being Journal: