“What was the secret to your longevity?” we asked my grandfather at his 100th birthday party. Dropping his voice, so we all had to gather around to hear him, he replied, “Well, as soon as I was born, I took in a good breath, and then I let it out. And I just kept repeating this . . . again and again.”

– Jacob Light, September 21, 1986
Dr. Grossman’s Maternal Grandfather

Health And Wellness In My Experience by Terry Grossman, M.D.

If you want to live a long time in excellent health, it doesn’t hurt to have good genes. I feel quite fortunate in that at least one of my grandparents, my mother’s father enjoyed remarkably good health until, at almost 105, he died of a stroke suddenly during lunch. He was hospitalized only briefly twice in his life, for pneumonia at age 96 and appendicitis at 97. Most of his brothers and sisters lived well into their 90s. Knowing that I have at least some of his genes is a comfort to me, because I know that I also have a number of potentially harmful genes as well. For instance, his wife, my maternal grandmother, died of colon cancer at 57 years old, and I have quite a few of her genes too. 

I have performed complete genome sequencing (all 22,000 genes!) on myself, and this information has played an important role in the fine-tuning of my health-maintenance program. After I recovered from the initial depression of finding out about some of my “bad genes” (perhaps feeling a bit like Neo after he took the red pill in the initial Matrix film and had my eyes opened to “the real world”), I became even more motivated to follow the principles outlined in my latest book, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.

Statistically, I might expect to live another 12 to 25 years. The figure of 12 years is based on actuarial tables from the Social Security Administration, the 25 year figure is based on questionnaires (“How Long Will You Live?”) that ask specific questions about my lifestyle. But this projected life span doesn’t take into account the accelerating progression of scientific discoveries, while actuarial tables of today are based on the past.

In my actuarially projected life span of 12 years, many therapies should be enormously beneficial to me. Sophisticated scanning devices and new tests are now able to both detect and destroy any cancer cells in my body before they have a chance to get out of control. If my heart begins to fail me, as it almost undoubtedly will eventually if I live long enough, I expect to be able to receive new heart tissue cloned from my own stem cells. I had a sample of my stem cells collected and placed in cryonic (frozen) storage back in 2013, so that I would have the most youthful cells available for this contingency. Other options include a heart transplant from a transgenic animal (an animal that has had human genes inserted) or even a shiny new bionic heart.


Nine steps to living well forever.