From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook May 2000:

You Can't Quit

by Hon. Hubert H. Humphrey; via Cocoa (FL) Spacecoast Shuttle Blast; and Jamestown (NY) Ostomy Newsletter

The following is an ageless essay from an American whose indefatigable style of living and whose courage in the face of adversity inspired millions around the globe during his struggle with cancer. We hope it will inspire you even now, for his wisdom lives on beyond his own days in this life. Although in this, he focuses on his fight against cancer, the author's can-do attitude can be a boost to ostomates regardless of whether they have fought cancer, for he carried on a very active public life--as a urostomate.

The worst moment of my life was when I discovered I had cancer. I know what this dreaded disease can do to a person and what the chances of survival are. But if you think of yourself as a statistic, then you are really in trouble.

You have to believe you can win this fight. You have to gear yourself to the continuity of the struggle, knowing that there will be days when you won't feel good.

My faith and hope get me from day to day. Deep down I believe in miracles. They have happened to a lot of people who were given up to die and then were restored to good health. But there are days when I get discouraged.

When I start feeling sorry for myself, I tell myself, "The doctors told you this would happen. You can't do anything about it, so get on with living." If you can't get over self-pity, the game's all over.

I think the biggest mistake people make is giving up. Adversity is an experience, not a final act. Some people look on any setback as the end. They are always looking for a benediction rather than an invocation. Most of us have had enough problems so that almost any day we could fold up and say, "I've had it." But you can't quit!

Life is always a struggle. If anything is easy, it's not likely to be worthwhile. The important thing in any setback is whether you can pick yourself up. That helps me with my illness. I keep thinking, "Well, tomorrow's another day." There are many people who say, "it's all right for you to talk about tomorrow being another day, but if you knew how much pain I suffer." I do know.

Let me tell you something. When you give, you receive back a thousand fold. If you have a well and draw water from it, it fills. If you don't draw water, it gets stagnant. You have to learn to give yourself.

I hope I can demonstrate for others that you don't have to throw in the towel when you have something like cancer. Be grateful for every day of your life. Be buoyant about it, and do the best you can with what you have.

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Content last revised 2000-05-13