Matthew Sawyer

West vs. East; Conventional vs. Alternative: A Story of Hope (from The Humlegaarden Report)

During my initial consultation, my Oncologist described me as the 19-year-old male who presents with “a challenge.” What was that challenge? A tumor of massive proportions. Well, I am here to tell you that that tumor and the subsequent chemotherapy, radiation and loss of my leg was the absolute best thing that could have ever happen to me. Yes, that’s right. Cancer, well, if I could have chosen to have it, two years ago I would have said no, but today I come before you saying, “Thank God for it!” It saved my life.

Yes, that’s correct, even the most positive minds teeter on the edge of insane negativity. At one point death seemed like a welcomed friend home for a visit: “Come and stay for awhile; let’s catch up on old times,” I’d say to myself. I do admit, that was a rather eccentric way to describe my emotional state after I found out about the relapse; but what did I have to live for? Everything seemed to be spiraling downward through each level of Hell, but unlike Dante, I had no guide. After a few days of that my positive attitude got the better of me and I gave in, pushed the fear aside and jumped into another battle with my nemesis — Synovial Cell Sarcoma.

As of mid-March I had two rather large tumors in my lungs and a good number of smaller ones scattered throughout. A pelvic MRI showed increased soft tissue growth and metastasis to my left ileum and sacrum. When my cancer experience first began in the latter half of 1999, it took 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 7 1/2 weeks of radiation to put me in the hospital with an infection. After just one round this past March, I was back in the hospital a week later with an infection. So, obviously, what took 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 7 1/2 weeks of radiation in 1999, only took one round of chemotherapy in 2001. After that fiasco, it became increasingly clear that my 20% chance (most of which was riding on “luck”) of seeing Christmas was just not feasible, and nor was the use of Conventional Medicine.

After refusing more chemotherapy, we (my Dad, Mom and I) began to read and by the grace of God found the book: “The Definitive Guide to Cancer.” It told of the wonders of a foreign world: Alternative Medicine! So I completely changed my diet and my lifestyle, almost over night. I’d say that the entire diet centered around four 12-ounce glasses of freshly squeezed carrot juice per day. The carrot juice has a powerful antioxidant effect and an even more powerful detoxification effect. This coupled with a diet void of red meat, caffeine, refined sugar and white flour; mostly vegetarian and full of vitamins and natural supplements, we went full force at attacking my cancer and finding an alternative to chemotherapy. I took the highest doses possible of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, flaxseed oil, a multivitamin with no supplemental iron, as well as, more natural supplements like Miatake D Fraction and cracked cell Chlorella: both have antioxidants and cancer killing effects. My main goal was to increase my antioxidant intake 50 fold, because after all, antioxidants have cancer-killing effects.

“Still, there must be more than this,” I thought. So, armed with The Definitive Guide to Cancer, we searched for more options. Our goal: to find an Alternative Cancer Clinic and hopes that Christmas 2001 would be the best, most special Christmas yet. And so, we began again. While perusing “the book,” we came across the name Ralph Moss, a former science writer for Sloan-Kettering. For the past 20 or so years, Moss has been writing cancer reports for patients across the country. Reports that include both Conventional and Alternative means of treatment. After reading and rereading the report, we came across the Humlegaarden in Denmark. So, we emailed Humlegaarden to touch base with them and see what this place (soon to be my personal oasis) was all about. The next morning at 9am my phone rang, and on the other end of the line was Finn Skott Andersen, MD and director of Humlegaarden. He is the most intense, intelligent and amazing man I have ever met. Just watching him walk, you know that he has intent. He walks hard, fast and with his head down; so if you want to see him you’ve got to get his attention. But once you have it, it’s yours and at your convenience. After speaking with Finn, we decided that Humlegaarden was a go, and a month later, on April 29, 2001 my Father and I arrived at this converted villa on the east coast of Denmark. And so it truly began!

I think that it’s important to address the fact that I did not go over to Humlegaarden to seek a cure. No miracle pills or magic bullets. I went over to Humlegaarden seeking out hope and healing, physically, mentally and spiritually. You know, hope is an interesting idea. If you ever had to live on just hope for any extended period of time you’ll understand. I lived off of practically nothing but hope for nearly two years: I hope that chemotherapy and radiation will work. I hope that the pain will go away soon. I hope that this next MRI shows that my tumor is operable. I hope that I wake up with two legs. I hope I get out of this hospital soon. I hope this depression ends. I hope the next chest CT is okay. I hope the next chest CT is okay. I hope the next chest CT is okay. I hope that my cancer will respond as well to chemotherapy as it did the first time. I hope I’m alive in 8 months. See, it’s not the most productive way to live and it really takes a lot of energy. Hope is over rated. So, after I realized this subconsciously, I kicked hope out of my mind and brought faith back into my soul. At that point, I truly realized that God has a big part to play in each of our lives. Still, it took three weeks in Denmark for me to learn this blessed lesson.

Dad and I met with Finn the first night we were there and at that point I began on 2mg of mistletoe preparation Helixor A. At this point, I am not going to go into great detail about my experience at the Humlegaarden except to say that I met the most amazing people that I have ever met in my entire life. Some were patients, some were doctors. Some of those patients will die, but they are all survivors. Hmm, survivor, what does that mean exactly? My definition has changed over the past two years from someone who battles cancer and beats it physically, to someone who lives with it, accepts it as part of there life and doesn’t let it effect them in a negative way. These are the people who battle, truly battle. They delve into every bit of information that crosses their eyes about cancer and treatment. They don’t take no for an answer and they question the judgment of their oncologists. When there oncologist says: “Sorry, we can do no more to help you,” they say: “How long do I have?” and have all the faith that they will surpass that deadline. At that point they search the globe for hope and instead find peace with whatever course they decide to take. And whether they live or they die, they are still survivors.

Science, while it has brought us to where we are today, is not the end and it’s not the beginning. It is simply somewhere in the middle; a simple tool, like fire, used to aid those in need and make life a bit easier for all of us. Like a wildfire, the scientific entity has blazed out of control, especially where the cancer industry is concerned. There is so much more out there and even more within the recesses of your soul.

Conventional Medicine, as a whole, is blind to the fact that there is so much more past the four white walls of the treatment room. Overall, Conventional Medicine does work, but you know as well as I do that chemotherapy and radiation are harsh. They are a full-on assault to the body, mind and spirit. There comes a time in every cancer patient’s life when they have to face mortality: “Do I go home and die, or do I find an alternative and fight?” Well, just like Conventional Medicine, Alternative Medicine makes no promises, but it does do one thing: it heals. Maybe not the cancer in some cases, but it heals the soul to the point where you realize that the body is just a tool wielded by the soul and that it is completely expendable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I no longer invite death, but I accept it as a part of my spiritual evolution. I could still be dead in 6 months, but I tell you, I’ll be proud to die a survivor. Conventional Medicine amazingly had the opposite effect on me. It destroyed my body when the toxins flowed through my blood. It destroyed my mind with emotional highs and lows. And it destroyed my spirit and kept it suppressed under a haze of rationalizations. The treatment: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery; they all are worse than the actual illness. I would not be alive today without the treatments I received; however, I won’t be alive tomorrow if I stick with the same treatments. So, the logical thing to do was to find an alternative to the toxins. Something that would be good for my body, mind and spirit; something natural, something pure and unaffected. I found that in Denmark.

I had to travel to the East to receive the treatments that I believe will truly help me. Here in the west, we don’t even give much thought to Alternative Medicine. So, the conclusion to be made is that the East never meets the West. Actually, this is geologic fact, East and West will never meet, physically. But, as human beings we have the power to spread the word from East to West. Therefore, I leave you with this: the blindness that plagues Conventional Medicine does not have to be a permanent thing. Once Conventional Medicine realizes and accepts that Alternative Medicine has a place in this world, then and only then will the blindness be lifted. East and West will meet and for the first time, human beings will be connected as citizens of a united world.

Since my return home at the end of May 2001, I have found that the tumor in my left lung is completely gone. I attribute this to both the Conventional and the Alternative Medicine (both the East and the West,) also my change in diet and above all prayer. The tumor in my right lung has grown a bit, however. At the beginning of July I began an oral chemotherapy that did nothing but put me in the hospital with an infection. Actually, it did show me that chemotherapy is not the way to go. I suppose at this point, doctors would say that I’m terminal. Well, I’m not a doctor, and I intend to fight the war until it is won! I’ve looked into the National Cancer Institute and a clinic in Texas, but at this point I’d really rather be some place that is comfortable. So, I’m seriously considering going back the Humlegaarden. They have a few new therapies, but the best thing is that Humlegaarden will ease and heal my soul. You see, ever since I returned to the United States, I’ve been dying inside, slowly, painfully: both spiritually and mentally. Humlegaarden offers hope once again!

Matthew J. Sawyer

The best therapy anyone can receive is to be reminded that you were once a kid and that inside you now is a kid and that kid will be inside you forever. It’s with you always. It’s part of your soul. — MJS

We’re sad to announce that Matthew died on November 19, 2001.

If you wish to read the entire “Humlegaarden Report,” it is posted on the Bulletin Board.

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The Sarcoma Alliance strives to improve the lives of people affected by sarcoma through accurate diagnosis, improved access to care, guidance, education and support.