An Australian man has revealed how he beat cancer by overhauling his diet and swapping beers and partying for vegetable juices and meditation.
“The truth of the matter is, I never grasped the idea that something in my life needed to be changed. Not until it was too late, right at the end. I never addressed the problems. I never looked to myself. You know, I just looked to the medical system and whacked a drip in my arm and sat there and said, ‘She’ll be right mate’. Like that’s the mentality that I had. But I wasn’t right because it kept coming back.”
Scott Stephens, now 37, was just 23 when he was diagnosed with melanoma after he had a cancerous mole removed.
“I had just noticed a mole on my thigh that had changed. I went to a skin specialist who took it off, didn’t think there was anything to worry about but sent it away to be checked” Scott explains.
“The skin specialist called me to give me the news. He said it was Metastatic Melanoma and I just couldn’t believe it”.
“At such a young age I didn’t believe I could have cancer. I had some scans and the doctors removed the tissue around the mole and I was given the all clear, I thought that was a close call.”
Just six months later and following a check up, Scott was given the devastating news that the melanoma had returned to the lymph nodes in his groin.
Scott went on a 12-month course of immunotherapy treatment which took him into remission. He says: “At the end the doctors said ‘you are all good’ and they said I was in remission. It was a tough time because you still live in fear and at the early stages you are pretty fragile individual, any aches I had I thought its back, it must be the cancer.“
“I never sunbathed as a kid and my parents always put sun cream on me.”
After nine months of being in remission Scott proposed to his girlfriend and when she said yes he says he tried to return to a “normal life”.
“I thought I am only 27, I hit rock bottom, I thought I am going to die.”
After returning from their honeymoon, one of Scott’s regular check ups revealed a large mass in his chest.
“The doctors considered me to be a risk so I was on six monthly check ups. A biopsy on the tumour confirmed the melanoma was back,” says Scott. “I had major surgery to remove the tumour and I came out clean. It was then at my next three monthly check up that the doctors told me the tumour was back and it had spread to my pelvis and the bowel.”
“After the massive surgery I was not prepared for that and I just cried. I asked the doctor what can we do and he said I could have chemotherapy but it only had a five per cent success rate.”
“I thought I am only 27, I hit rock bottom, I thought I am going to die. I hit the the wall and thought my number was up, this could be it.”
“After I had the chest surgery and in between the diagnosis, I was bed ridden and a friend told me about The Gawler Foundation that provide support and information for people with cancer. I thought I am going to do this and I attended one of their groups.”
“I took all the meat and beer out of my fridge”
Scott went on a retreat where he learned about how to help the body heal itself through juicing, meditation and nutrition.
Scott says: ‘I decided then to change my life, it was a massive cultural shift for me. I was a beer drinking carnivore and I had a terrible diet. This new thing I was thinking about was a massive shift, I wanted to live, so I took all the meat and beer out of my fridge”
“I started to do light exercise, I used to walk around the block, that was all I could handle.”
“I adopted a proper plant based diet and just thought I am just going to look after myself to the best of my ability and I thought I am just going to give this my best shot and hopefully I will live.”
“I thought chemotherapy was going to finish me off”
Scott started a new round of chemotherapy around the same time and lost 10kg in a week.
“I didn’t think I could take much more, I thought chemotherapy was going to finish me off so I decided to not keep going with it.”
“I made my peace with the world, it was up and down, but at the next appointment three months later I went back to my doctor and he said I was stable and that was the best news we could hope for.”
Scott was practising Qi Gong, meditating three times a day for 45 minutes, juicing four times a day and walking half an hour each day. He says: ‘I was really looking after myself and three months after having surgery for a blocked bowel I had another check up.
“My doctor was going through my notes reading the report and when he got to the end there was no mention of the tumour. We thought he had the wrong notes but he pulled up the scan and it showed the tumour on the pelvis had gone.”
Scott has now been cancer free for eight years and is a proud father to seven-year-old Lily and five-year-old Flynn.
“That just gave me more motivation to live a healthy life. I know these changes saved my life and without the tools I have had along the way I know that I would not be alive today.”
“I think the easiest way to sum it up for someone is: Would I have got well without all these approaches like meditation and essentially, looking after yourself? No. Would I have got well with just that and no chemical intervention? Maybe. But if you wanted to break it down, the drugs weren’t going to cure me. Not by themselves.”
“There is a better life waiting out there, whether you have cancer or you don’t. The little things you do in your life can make such a difference.”
In Memory – January 2016
It is with great sadness that I have learned of Scott Stephens’ passing. After 10 years in remission his cancer returned in 2015 and his family announced that Scott passed away peacefully in January 2016. My thoughts are with his family.
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