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Lesson 35

                      Never Give up the Hope of Living

                                        Text A

    In this recorded conversation with a friend, Alison Willson described her reactions to the news that she was going to die of cancer. The conversation took place five months before her death.

    Firstly, I told myself, "The thing has happened. However much you fuss , and scream , and yell , it's not going to change " I realised I'd got to discipline myself. Another thing was, I remembered the vicar of a church I used to go to saying that this kind of thing was often much harder for the relatives than for the patient. So here there was scope for me to do something positive.


    Thirdly, just before I left the hospital, I came across two young women in their thirties, both with small children and both with cancer. I thought , well , what am I worrying about , because my children are grown up and independent. If I can get this right for myself and make some sort of peace with it , then the people who love me will also accept it and this needn't be too 6ad a time.


    Of course, it wasn't as simple as that. When I came out of hospital I found I was getting it wrong with quite a lot of people , because they didn't look at it the same way as I did. And again, I think if you're going to die around the age of 50, far more people are involved than if you're dying when you're really old. You know, it's fairly threatening to people of your own age, they see you in the middle of a fairly busy life suddenly stopping-and they find it unacceptable. This busincss again of getting them to givc me pcrmission to die. . .


    Several of me friends still feel very angry and bitter aboui it and just won't accept it. In consequence they tell me I shouldn't accept it. I get all these stories about these heroic people who have organ after organ rcmoved and say, I'm not going to die; I'm going to live; and they go on, year after year. It makes me fecl I'm be.ing terribly fecble. I feel rather guilty , as if what they're saying is , wcll . you're not trying hard enough.


    I can't really see what else I could be doing. I'm very confused about all this. I don't quite understand what I ought to do. Well , I suppose one could be a Chichester and rush across the Atl.antic in a boat. But you know. really , I'm too tired for that. I think what I want to say to people is that if you're in this situation it isn't nearly as bad as people who try and put themselves in your position think it is.


    For one thing . other people comc to it cold , whereas I've been doingAmy homework on it for the last two years. I've got used to the idea and have come to the point of acceptance gradually. The other thing is that they're feeling well and vigorous, with lots of things they're in the middle of doing. But I am actually getting very tired and don't fecl vcry well.


    The fact that I can't drive my car and am generally having to cut down my activitics isn't as   bad for me as they?think it is. I try to get this through to people, and it seems to release their anxiety a bit. My friends are beginning to accept what is happening and come along with me.


    It's been a time for thinking about relationships and' sorting out those which weren't very satisfactory. Also, to a large extent, the pressure is off and you're going to die, you don't really have to do much. It's rather a rclief if you're not feeling well. I've been very happy these last six months.


    I used to think that if you knew you were dying there would be a great black pall over everything, and nothing could be of any value. But it isn't like that. In some ways, even, you get increased appreciation of things. Colours are brighter and littlc pleasures mean more. You almost get another dimension.


    I feel that if. I hadn't understood what was happening, and come to terms with it , this would have been lost. So if you asked me whether I would rather have a coronary or what I've got . I would rather have this because I've had all this good time. And I feel sad because other people might have it , but miss it -because they aren't allowed to come to terms with what's going to happen, or don't feel able to, and this is such a waste.


                                       Text B

    Wang Jinghui is a lecturer in China Textile University in Shanghai. Now, at the age of fifty-three, he is about to leave this world.
    In July last year, he was diagnosed as to be suffering from cancer in the esophagus. The doctor told him that there might still be a slight chance for him if he got operated on at once, as the cancer was already in an advanced stage. The news greatly alarmed Wang and his daughter who had accompanied him to the hospital. Naturally they wanted to have an operation at once as there was not a moment to be lost.


    "But all our wards are full at the moment," the doctor told them.
    "How long do we have to wait then?" the daughter asked.
    "At least two months. We have a long waiting list. "
    Back at home, the daughter was at her wit's end. Five years earlier, her mother had died of cancer. It was her father then who had looked after everything - her mother's operation, then the funeral. And after her mother's death, it was her father who looked after her and her younger sister, and had seen them through school, and then college for her. She had just graduated and her younger sister was still at school. How could they do without their father? No, their father must not die.


    She lost no time and spared no efforts in finding a hospital for her father. She went everywhere and asked everybody friends , relatives , acquaintances , anyone who might know of a way to , or have connections with a hospital. A few days later one of her former schoolmates came with the heartening news that one of her friends had a relative who could pull strings with a certain big hopital.


    And so this friend's friend's relative made his appearance. He proved to be very helpful and enthusiastic, and promised to see the whole thing through. But he constantly dropped hints to Wang's daughter about the "going price" for"road-paving" to a hospital.


    At the hospital things went as smoothly as he had promised. Wang's daughter had handed him three hundred yuan, and soon he had everything arranged - consultation for Wang and registration for living in. He informed them that there would be a vacant bed the following Monday.


    They went home full of hope. He, the man who had arranged everything for them, began to lay down his cards. "The going price is two thousand and five hundred yuan. But don't worry," he hastened to add when he saw the alarm in father and daughter's faces. "I've managed to bring it ddwn to the bottom line-- one thousand two hundred. But you have to get it ready soon. I have to satisfy the registration office, the surgeon-in-charge, the operating doctor and his assistant, the two anaes thetists- not a single one could be left out. "


    What else could they do? In order to cure her father, the daughter went about and managed to scrape together 500 yuan which she handed to the man just before her father went to live
    As arranged Wang entered the hospital on Monday, July 16. But more than a week went by and nobody seemed to bother about him, and nothing was 'mentioned about his operation. Both father and daughter were worried about this endless waiting and she approached the man again, to see if he could speed things up. "An operating doctor has yet to be found. " She understood what that meant , and as she was almost worried to death, she gritted her teeth and produced another four hundred yuan. Apparently the man meant what he said when he mentioned one thousand two hundred as the bottom line.


    On July 28, Wang finally was wheeled into the operation theatre. But he was not kept there for long. The doctor opened up his chest and found that cancer had reached such a stage as to make an operation impossible. So merciless was the hand of fate!
    When a reporter from Xinmin Evening went to see Wang early this year, she found an emaciated man lying in bed, obviously nearing his last. He could hardly produce a coherent sentence, but he kept repeating ; "We've been robbed of one thousand two hundred yuan . .. Now we are penniless . . . what is going to happen to my two girls?. . . "


    The daughter said: "What happened to us was far from unique. It has become quite a common practice for patients to pay through their noses in order to live in. All the same I want our story to be told, not that I have any illusions about getting our money back"


                           Additional Information

    Not long ago , an unusual wedding was held in Bcijing's Yuyuantan Park. Both the bride and bridegroom suffered from cancer but had made surprising improvement with the aid of qigong. a traditional C.hinese healing system that relies heavily on breathing exercises. It is also through qigong that the young couple met and fell in love.


    The 28-year-old Guo Chengpei was formerly a top player on the Beijing table tennis team. But after participating in the First Pyongyang lnternational Table Tennis Invitational Tournament in Sepember 1981 , he felt his health declining and he could hardly talk. After an examination he was diagnosed as having lung cancer, which is usually fatal. He had to stop training and undergo treatment.


    Because Guo's cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, it was inoperable. The radiation treatment he received helped little. His doctor predicted that despite his youth, Guo had only three months to live.
    However, being trained as a table tennis player for 12 years, he had an unyielding will and an optimistic attitude. and he did not give up hope.
    One of his friends suggested that he practise qigong, which is credited with prolonging many cancer patients' lives. This strengthened his will to surmount the disease.


    He took his friend's advice to practise Guo Lin qigong (a combination of moving and breathing) every day.
    Getting up at 2:45 a. m. he took the night shuttle bus to Ditan Park and started his routine at 3:40 a. m. He practised for more than five hours. His father and uncles took turns accompanying him.
    With his strong will and indomitable perseverance, he has kept practising qigong for seven and a half years, in all kinds of weather.


    A check-up in 1987 showed that the lung cancer's spread to the lymph nodes had disappeared and the tumour was reduced in size. His weight has increased from 60 to 85 kilograms. He has become fitter and his general health has improved.His 26-year-old bride, Chen Yamei, became ill with thymoma in September 1985.
    "When I was told that I had cancer, I felt the future looked so dark and miserable that I was in despair," she said.


    In December that year, she had an operation. Afterwards she received chemical and radioactive treatments, but little effect could be seen. The cancer began to spread to the lymph nodes and bones.
    While she was hospitalized she often saw patients around her die. She was terribly frightened and she felt on the brink of death herself.


    In June 1986, she heard that qigong could help cure cancer. Though she didn't completely believe it, she saw a glimmer of hope and decided to try It.
    She also went to Ditan Park to learn qigong and was assigned to the class that was instructed by Guo Chengpei.
    "Everyone in my qigong class looks vigorous and energetic,"Chen said. "There is no sign that they have had the deadly disease. It gives me confidence
and courage to live on. "


    She often sought advice from Guo and he always helped her patiently and enthusiastically. They shared experiences and encouraged each other. At last love blossomed in the young couple's hearts.
    After three years of constant qigong practice, Chen's condition is stable. Now she says she has a better appetite and sleeps more soundly.


    "Curing cancer through qigong had a scientific basis," Guo said. "The growth of cancer cells is restrained when one breathes plenty of oxygen. After one properly practises qigong for quite a long time, he is able to greatly enlarge his respiratory capacity. This is good for cancer patients. "


    Drawing on his own experience, Guo thinks that combinations of qigong, Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are the best way to conquer cancer. And he said a wholesome psychological outlook is the most important thing.
    "Everyone suffering from cancer should think like this; Even if the survival
rate in cancer is only 0. 1 per cent , I am the 0. 1 per cent , " Guo said. "Those who can get better the fastest are those who are strong in spirit. "
    The couple hope that all cancer patients love life and never lose their hope of living.