Scott Brewster didn’t ask for cancer. A doctor of chemical engineering, he lived in a world of numbers and hard data, a world in which cancer is something that just happens. When science failed him, his search for holistic answers would challenge his worldview on every level, healing far more than he ever could have imagined.

As Elaine Brewster watched her husband’s incredible transformation, she realized that all miracles begin with a choice, a decision to let go of illness, anger, fear, resentment, sorrow, and despair. Elaine walked by her husband’s side every step of the way throughout his long road to spiritual healing.

As someone who has long been open to universal energies, Elaine knew from the beginning that Scott would make a choice and that that choice, once made, would be irrevocable. From his choice to heal to his ultimate decision to let go, Scott’s Choice: Letting Go and Letting God is her loving chronicle of their journey together. Here’s my conversation with Elaine Brewster.

This is The Author Hour Podcast, I’m your host Benji Block and today I am honored to be joined by Elaine Brewster. She’s just come out with a new book, the book is titled Scott’s Choice: Letting Go and Letting God. Elaine, we’re so glad to have you here on Author Hour with us today.

Elaine Brewster: Thank you. I’m really happy to be here, Benji.

Benji Block: Absolutely. We’re going to get into much of the story here but first, would you just tell us a little bit about yourself and some of your background?

Elaine Brewster: I am a mother of six, I have 18 grandchildren.

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: They live from California to Florida.

Benji Block: Amazing.

Elaine Brewster: Most of them live here. All but half of them live here in Utah so I get to see them on a regular basis. I’m a singer, I was – if any of you your age probably don’t know the old musical Camelot but — I was the first queen of Camelot, Guinevere that was in that musical when it finally left Broadway and started coming to the universities. A friend and I were double-cast as Guinevere in that.

Benji Block: That’s incredible.

Elaine Brewster: I’ve done a lot of leads in musicals and operas and plays and then I got married and had these six kids. My husband was a banjo player and I was an opera singer, those two don’t seem like they really mix.

Later, we had the kids take piano and violin lessons, and then when they got older, my husband thought that they looked like a bluegrass group to him and so we actually toured all around the western states in Kansas and Canada for 15 years and I was also in some major choirs. I’m a past member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Then, 18 years ago, in the midst of revising some music that we were going to be doing for our state, then my husband up and died and so my life changed at that point. I actually took all of these instruments and all of the learning that I’d done from that 15 years and I turned them into one-woman shows. So I do — my one-woman shows are always music story, music story. He and I were also storytellers, we’re part of the National Storytelling Guild. 

Anyway, I have shows about how music makes you feel about pioneers and the one I’ve been doing most recently is about Pony Express because my great grandfather was the last living Pony Express rider.

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: Well, in Utah.

Benji Block: Yeah, that’s incredible, what a journey. I am shocked by all of it and I mean, I love it. I’m sure that it’s such a good conversation moving forward. Obviously, what you’re talking about in the book, you’re sharing your husband’s journey, obviously yours as well but there’s been some time since his passing. Why was now the right time for you to write and release this book?

Elaine Brewster: When people — well, this was an all-alternative journey, I should start right away. That’s why I wanted to write a book because it was very different from what most people experienced in North America. Any time I would tell anybody just one little bit, their eyebrows would go up to the ceiling and they’d say, “Wow, that’s different. You should write a book.”

I finally decided to and it just took a long time. It’s a very researched book because there were a lot of scientific methods that we were using and I needed to not only make sure that I was writing them as faithfully as I can, who’s just a teacher and a singer and I’m kind of a non-scientist although I’m interested in science.

Also, then, I had to make it easy enough for people to understand, so it’s taken me a long time. I was also doing some composing for some schools and I only got to write on it six months of the year because the other six months of the year, I was doing some music composing.

I just, it just took a while. It just took a while and I finally decided to look into self-publishing just at the point that I was getting ready to give it to somebody else that I thought could do a bang-up job of publishing it and decided that that was the way I wanted to go.

Going Beyond Western Medicine

Benji Block: In total, how long has this book sort of been in the works for you, something that you’ve been passionate about?

Elaine Brewster: Well, sort of ish, 18 years since he’s been gone. The last 15 years I’ve worked on and off, I actually had to wait until I was through with Tabernacle Choir, which was eight or nine years ago because you’re just too busy. When you’re in that group, it’s like being on a train and you don’t jump off until you retire from it.

Benji Block: Yeah.

Elaine Brewster: At age 60.

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: No, 55. I can’t remember. No, it’s 60 and I had to just wait. It’s been a really dedicated process the last eight or nine years.

Benji Block: Let me ask you this. When you think about those that are going to pick up this book and read it, who do you have in mind as your ideal reader? Who should pick up this book?

Elaine Brewster: My ideal reader is most likely an adult and somebody who is open to new ideas. I don’t expect everyone who reads this book to agree with everything and I don’t expect everyone to start making the phone calls and jump into doing an alternative cancer journey themselves or an alternative chronic fatigue journey or a lupus journey.

I just want people to see that it made sense and I want them to see, “Oh okay, I can see why Scott and Elaine did that.” I just want to create more understanding.

Benji Block: Elaine, when did all of that become interesting to you? Was it when Scott got sick or can you explain what prompted this journey of being so interested in alternate forms of healing medicine and all that?

Elaine Brewster: You know, it’s the craziest thing. It actually started probably 1996, no, 1997. I was in graduate school for two years and I don’t know, you’re so young Benji, you probably don’t know but the people who are my age and older, they always used to cut things out of the newspaper. They cut up — 

Benji Block: My grandparents definitely did, yes.

Elaine Brewster: Yes, when you graduated, it would be in the local paper and they would cut it out, “Benjamin Block graduated” and they would put it on their fridge or they would mail it to you. It was a big deal and that’s how I grew up.

Now I’m in graduate school, I’ve got six kids and I had to make life simpler for myself. I decided that was one thing I could do was never to cut out anything from the newspaper for two years. I was faithful to that except for one time. There was an article and I still have the article.

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: It was an article about a 14-year-old girl in my state who ended up with some nerve damage in her toe and they could never — there was nothing broken so they couldn’t find anything in X-rays, CAT scans, anything. They couldn’t find anything that was wrong so they couldn’t help her. She went to three different hospitals and when she went to the primary children’s hospital, which is a major hospital for youth up in Salt Lake City.

They said, “Well, we can’t help you but what we can tell you is this hurt that has gone from your toe, up your foot, past your ankle, up your shin, up your leg, when it passes over your groin and comes down your other leg, you’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.”

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: That’s what western medicine had to offer her which to me is not much. Instead, her parents — I remember this is 24 or 25 years ago — somehow found an alternative technique of using some big heavy-duty magnets down in Texas, could have been in Austin where you are and it was $7,000 which is a lot of money, especially 25 years ago. She went in on crutches and she left her crutches behind and she was fine.

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: I was blown away. I was flabbergasted that there was something out there that could help people beyond what our western medical method says. Then a little later, a company came to us, a Japanese company that had researched magnets for health only. Theirs are far, far cheaper than that treatment in Texas.

Then I found that there were other things to; far infrared rays that come from the sun that are in the healing rays. You’ve probably heard of people who walk barefoot on the grass, tree huggers, and you just go, “Oh my gosh, that is so fanatical.”

Well, it turns out there are nutrients, right there for free on the grass that our bodies need and that the bottom of the feet specifically — because you’ve got somewhere around 1,200 nerve endings per square inch on the bottom of the feet, per square inch.

There is all these nerve endings that are designed to receive this good stuff that’s out there in nature and so that started me on this journey. Before then, Benji, I didn’t know any more about it than anyone else. In fact, in my book I say, I used to say, “Oh acupuncture shmacupuncture.” I thought I was so clever and it turns out, I wasn’t clever or knowledgeable at all.

Benji Block: Wow, that is so interesting. You then get interested and then Scott gets sick. What was that like? I know his background is different, right? The journey for him and then the journey for you. Would you give us some insight and a peek behind the curtain as to how both of you responded when he started getting sick?

Elaine Brewster: Scott was — my husband was a chemical engineer so very left-brain, very logical. He did want to have his own company and so that’s why he looked at this Japanese company but it just — magnets, chemical engineering. Magnets, chemical engineering, you know? It just didn’t seem to make sense.

Then a physicist friend of ours who also had a Ph.D. gave a reading list to Scott and that reading list is in the back of my book. My husband read all of those books about energy and magnets and he looked at me and he said, “I feel like I’ve just gone to all of my undergrad studies again. I’m reading about heat transfer. I’m reading about scientific principles, this stuff is real.”

That helped him to be able to understand this. Now, when he went to the hospital that first Sunday in December, and found that he had a problem. He of course did all of the things that all of our doctors in western medicine expected him to do, biopsies and MRIs and CAT scans and you know, doing everything they could to identify it and help.

But, being in this other world that was this umbrella of this Japanese research company, we also knew about alternatives and so he wanted — he was just a very thorough man and he wanted both explored.

Benji Block: Yeah.

Elaine Brewster: He was actually going to have an operation and then he realized that that day was when we were giving a free concert, a Christmas concert that we gave every year to the community. That was the day we were going to give it, so that was not a good day for an operation.

In the time after, then we started looking at a lot of other material, some of the material was from a man named Dr. Richard Scholtz who is a natural energy worker and he believed in the techniques from Dr. John Christopher who said, “There is no incurable disease.”

What the difference then, Benji, became was do you believe that your body needs outside intervention; so you need the chemotherapy agents, drugs. You need the surgery. You need things to happen to you or do you believe that your body is inherently able and wanting to heal itself?

That was the stance that he finally took and so that means, doing things outside of the western method.

Choosing To Live

Benji Block: Yeah, that brings us also to this phrase that shows up several times in your book, this phrase “Scott will make a choice. Once chosen, it will be irrevocable.” Set that scene for me and what trajectory that phrase sets you and Scott off on?

Elaine Brewster: Okay, thank you. Just a week into or less than a week into finding that he had a problem and we’re trying to figure out what this is, I was talking with my daughter-in-law on the phone and while I was talking with Lindsey, this phrase popped into my mind. Scott will make a choice. Once chosen, it will be irrevocable and I never told anybody that.

I spend a little bit of time in the book. I do believe in God. I do believe that we are part of a larger — can I say, universe? A larger place? In the world, it’s not just us and that God helps us and knows what we’re about and believes in us and loves us.

I spend a little bit of time especially in the beginning of the book explaining from master economist, Clayton Christenson, how he explained how we feel the spirit, how we listen to that, how we can access those thoughts that come in. I also spend a little bit of time indicating that sometimes I have things that come to me and I know they’re not of my own making.

They did not come out of my mind from some thinking process. They were put into me and so that was one that was put into me by some other source and I never told anybody about it. But what I thought it meant was some kind of a path that Scott would go on a treatment path — he said he wanted to live and there is nobody as persistent as my husband. Here it said, you know, once he chooses, then it will happen. It will be irrevocable.

Benji Block: Right.

Elaine Brewster: He always said, he never — well, once or twice. They were almost like mistakes but when you asked him, he always said he wanted to live so I thought he would. I just paid attention to that. I will say it turned out to be, I didn’t know that at the time, two days before he died that all of a sudden it just occurred to me just in a flash. I recognized it wasn’t talking about the path he was going on, his treatment plan, what method he wanted to use. It was talking about the choice to live or die. 

Benji Block: Wow.

Elaine Brewster: I thought, “Oh, live Scott. 

Benji Block: That is so interesting and there is so much there that I would love to unpack.

Elaine Brewster: Right. 

Benji Block: You say the following, “Through my writing, I realized that Scott’s story merely starts with alternative and energy methods but then progresses through emotional growth and finally spiritual growth to lead him to God. It’s a story worth telling and worth learning from.” The journey to getting this book out though, when he passed, I mean you had all these notes, all this stuff, this information. 

Did part of you want to put it on the back burner and not think about it anymore? And how does it then become something like “Okay, even though he’s passed there is so much good here that we need to share because we’ve learned so much through this whole process”? 

Elaine Brewster: Yeah, I am thinking three things right now. Talk about unpacking, can we go back a little bit to the statement you read? 

Benji Block: Yeah. Tell me what you’re thinking.

Elaine Brewster: Okay, so yeah. Here were these energy, these alternative methods that we were using, which were stronger than the things — that I’m going to say — stronger than the things that we were getting from our Japanese healthcare company because that’s mostly about maintaining and now you really need to do something to attack. But let me say this, everyone’s cancer journey, everyone’s life journey, everyone’s health journey is individual. 

I think that we end up taking the journeys that we need to take. I contrast it with my sister’s cancer journey, which was very much chemo-radiation-chemo-radiation. Her last chemo killed her but she had a journey like so many people who have chemo of your hair falling out and being courageous and holding on, holding on. His journey was different because his journey then brought in not only the alternative physical things but energy workers. 

I call energy workers somebody who has a special ability to help you on an energetic cellular level. Sometimes the work that they do — we know that massage, it is a hands-on kind of thing. Many times the energy workers, their hands are about two inches off your body. They never even touch you but they’re still, through their intent, they’re still affecting and then there are some other people that do it long distance. 

We even had one energy worker that helped us and he lived in Brooklyn. So, my husband’s journey allowed him to start thinking more in terms of what he needed to change in his life, what he was holding on in his life, what was not working for him that could be changed. You have a lot of books like Dr. Bernie Siegel and Dr. Lawrence LeShan. Bernie Siegel’s book, one of them is, Peace, Love and Healing, and Lawrence LeShan’s first book is, Cancer As a Turning Point, and they’re all talking [it] — and there are many others. 

They’re all talking about how the things in your mind actually do affect your body and that’s one of the reasons that I wrote that book. I’d have people — my husband was so healthy. He was the top faculty racketball player for four years over at BYU and this was in a time when the BYU college students were number one in the nation.

Benji Block: Wow. 

Elaine Brewster: That’s who he was playing. He was really competitive and athletic. I’d have people come up to me in the store and, “Oh, I’m so sorry your husband died. He ate well, didn’t he?” And someone else would say, “Oh, I thought he was so healthy” and the idea that they were giving me coming from the western medical method model is that if your body is healthy, then you won’t have any problems and that’s not true because we’re a whole entity. 

That is one of the big things that I hope will be a takeaway from this book. I hope it will be another arrow in the quiver of mind-body so that people can realize that what we think really, really ends up being manifested in the physical body. 

Benji Block: Yeah, let’s talk a little bit more about that. I am so interested in energy work, our mind, and the role that that plays. For someone that’s completely new to this space, what are some of those maybe initial learnings that you would want to give away? What are some of those, the key moments that you had and things that you would say — whether it’s a breakthrough or just an interesting insight? 

Because a lot, I mean, obviously our listeners are primarily in the west and would know western medicine but would be unfamiliar with some of this conversation. 

Elaine Brewster: That is such a really good question and I haven’t completely wrapped — well, I will in the future. I haven’t wrapped my brain around the things that I want to say to a new person. One specific thing is telling about applied kinesiology also called muscle testing. 

Benji Block: Okay. 

Elaine Brewster: It has different names. This is a toggle kind of a process, like a light switch goes up and down. It’s what I call computer systems, which are binary, zeros and ones. So the cells in the body, I have found, all communicate to each other. Each cell is like a whole city with a factory. Our cells are more amazing than we know and that maybe be a topic of discussion right there so that people can start realizing the beauty and the complexity of their body and not bypass it. 

Each of these cells then knows what is true and what isn’t and so one way of muscle testing is to put someone’s arm straight out at the side about shoulder height and have someone else just press gently on your wrist to feel the resistance. If I am there in Austin with you and I am pressing yours and I ask you to say your name, “My name is Benjamin Block”, your arm will be pretty stiff. 

If I ask you to say my name, “My name is Elaine Brewster” you say, your arm will go down because the body knows it’s not truth. 

Benji Block: Interesting. 

Elaine Brewster: This is really interesting to me because this is a technique that has been proven and you can electrically find the differences. I show a double-blind test by a guy named Jeff Bell and his dad in there. It was just a blindfolded test.

Benji Block: Yeah. 

Elaine Brewster: Anyway, it’s something that all alternative workers know and use, every single one of them. It is something that pretty much zero western medicine people know and use and the western method believes that — I mean, it’s just all so complex. They believe that everything they’ve been taught is like the beginning and the end and that’s where it is. I have to say that things are changing because there are a lot of people who are your age or in between your age and my age [that] recognize that there are some things out there that western medicine hasn’t been addressing or hasn’t been helping and so they’re willing to look for other methods. 

Merging Western and Eastern Medicine for The Benefit of the Patient

Benji Block: When you think of the future and you think of eastern and western medicine philosophy, do you see some level of like a marriage needed where we take the best of both? Do you look to the east and go, “This is just — we need more people to see the value here”? What would be like a preferred future that you would imagine? 

Elaine Brewster: Oh, thank you for asking. My preferred future definitely is a marriage. I think we need a lot of the diagnostics and we need the surgeries, we need the place where medicine has come to in our western society now. The problem is — well, just imagine this. Here over on the left hand, are some diagnostics whether it’s a colonoscopy or whether it’s an MRI or a breast exam or whatever but then, what we do, because it’s all we know to do, is then from that place on your left hand, we skip way, way over here to where your right hand is and I got my hands out about 24 inches away from each other. 

We skip right over here and we go, “Oh, let’s do surgery. Oh, let’s do chemo. Oh, let’s do this” because those are the only tools we have and in the middle, we’ve skipped a whole bunch of stuff that could be used and that if it’s used, it will maybe take the pain away for people until we get to that point of maybe needing surgery. It could be that we get people better and that we don’t have to do those more invasive things. 

I would like saving the invasive things for a later time and try some other things first and as far as cancer goes, I have a podcast that I do every Friday and a few weeks ago, I had on it a group who are down in Mexico. They do the kind of cancer treatment that I think should be done and I would really, really like to see that changed in North America. I don’t know how or when it ever can. They don’t do chemo and radiation and surgery, the three choices, which are all really invasive. They have 27 different methods that they use. 

Benji Block: Interesting. 

Elaine Brewster: Can I say this also when I’m thinking about them? There’s also a fear-mongering that goes on with our western medicine. How many people have been told with Parkinson’s or cancer or other really difficult situations, “There’s nothing we can do.”? 

Benji Block: Right. 

Elaine Brewster: It leaves people feeling destitute. It leaves them feeling hopeless. When you listen to this group of doctors who are down in Mexico that I interviewed, they sound as straightforward as you do right now and yet people generally don’t come to them until they have a stage four cancer and it’s difficult to deal and so they just go, “Okay, this is where this person is right now” and they make up an individual regiment including nutrition for that person. 

They don’t sound scared, they don’t sound scary, they don’t sound frantic, they don’t sound panicky. They are very, very upbeat and hopeful and I mention that. We were working with a clinic down in Mexico and for some strange reason, which I don’t completely understand, knowing that there was no help up here, my husband decided to leave there and come back to his home in Utah and so he had to go have his lung drained. 

We were in the hospital and they were doing all their hospital stuff and I think I wrote a sentence, something like, “All I hear is death and fear. What I want to hear is hope like we heard from our doctors in Mexico.” 

Benji Block: Wow. Well, I have really enjoyed this conversation. I think the book, again, I’ll say the title here, Scott’s Choice: Letting Go and Letting God., you can get it on Amazon and I absolutely loved this conversation. There are so much fascinating things that need to be talked about in this space and I’m glad Elaine that you’re having – I mean, you’ve put this content out into the world because I think it is going to be really helpful. 

I did want to read one more quote and ask one more question before we wrap up. Scott kind of has this epiphany that you discuss, that blessing could come through cancer. You also note that Tony Snow, who was a former Whitehouse spokesman, said this, “I don’t know why I have cancer and I don’t much care. It is what it is but despite this, because of it, God offers the possibility of salvation and grace.

We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face to face.” I guess I just wanted to ask as we wrap up, how did you watch this whole situation shape Scott’s worldview? And going back to that hope theme, what would be hope you would give to those that would maybe be in a similar space today that are listening to this? 

Elaine Brewster: Wow, that’s big questions, Benji. I think that it started shaping him because he started looking at what blessings were coming to him instead of just the difficulty and the hurt — the hurt never went away. It was always there. It was awful but he started looking at maybe the bigger picture. See he, as a chemical engineer, works solitarily. He did his own research. The room that he ended up working in for 20 or more years, it was a basement room. It had no window, he would have to call me and say, “Do I need an umbrella for lunch today?” 

Benji Block: Wow. 

Elaine Brewster: He worked solitarily and he had the capacity to do that, so to see his neighbors, to see his family all love him so much and all gather around him so much was very, very sweet to him. In fact, at his funeral, I’m standing there by the casket and there’s this line of people and I remember thinking, “Wow, he would really, really love to be here and see all these people who came for him.” 

I kind of looked at the casket and went, “Oh yeah, you’re the reason they are here and you can’t be here with this life.” But I sincerely hope — there is an old tradition that people’s spirits hang around until they’re buried — so I hope he was there to see all those lovely people who really were there honoring him. He gave his testimony about God and also his love of his family several times. 

For us, for you and me, to always be happy even in the midst of flees like Corrie ten Boom, that’s the hardest. That’s hard, that becomes a challenge for you and for me but a challenge with hope on the other side of it. 

Benji Block: Yep. Well, like I said, I am so encouraged by this conversation and I love to end there with some hope and knowing that, man, even in really hard circumstances there are things that bloom there, and this book being one of them that’s going to impact many. Elaine, for those that want to stay connected to you, is there somewhere people can reach out or anything beyond maybe just the book? 

Elaine Brewster: My email is [email protected], that is a Mackintosh thing, me.com, and I am really good at answering my emails. 

Benji Block: Perfect. 

Elaine Brewster: The book is going to — it will be told about on elainebrewster.org but right now, I don’t have an email associated with that, so they’d better stick with my regular one. 

Benji Block: Awesome. Well, it has been such a pleasure to have you here on Author Hour. Listeners, you can get the book on Amazon now. Again, Scott’s Choice: Letting Go and Letting God. Thanks so much for being here with us today, Elaine. 

Elaine Brewster: You bet. Thank you, Benji. I appreciate it.