You Have Cancer: Go Ahead and Laugh
(Editor's Note: This guest blog is written by Marci Landsmann, managing editor of ADVANCE for Healthy Aging.)
Cancer is anything but funny.
But ask diagnosed people about the power of humor, and you'll find few that can survive without it.
I can recall when my boyfriend received the diagnosis. If you ever
heard anyone whisper the c-word, imagine having to utter the word rectal
before. After his diagnosis, I can't say enough about the power of our
laughter in getting us through. I'll never forget him sitting at a
table at a party, as he twirled a cork screw wine opener back and
fourth. In a room full of close friends and family, he turned to me and
said, "Maybe I can do the operation myself." His friends were all too
familiar with his diagnosis and the seriousness of the impending
surgery. I was the only one who laughed.
But laugh, we did. . .at inopportune times, at things that I guess
weren't really funny. We were like a new couple, and cancer was an
intimacy that only "we got." We couldn't stop making jokes ... really bad jokes.
"Rectum?" he'd say. I'd answer: "Rectum? It nearly killed him."
I guess that's why a recent email that answered my query for
"creative gifts for those undergoing cancer treatment" really caught my
attention. The email contents: "I don't know what your friend's sense of humor
is like, but I have a friend who has suffered through four different
cancers (yes, FOUR) and has kept her sense of humor throughout. In fact,
the 49-year-old mother of seven created a line of t-shirts that bring
laughter to the challenges that cancer patients suffer with every day,
because as they say: "Laughter is the best medicine."
For Linda Hill,
it's about feeling confident and strong, happy and full of life, despite
the scars cancer leaves behind. This is about attitude. This is about
fighting the fight... but with spirit!"
That about captures how my boyfriend and I felt about his fight. (He,
by the way. is cancer-free, and opted out of a DIY operation, going to a
board certifed surgeon.) Linda Hill's shirts made me laugh ... even
though cancer is anything but funny.
Here's some of her shirt slogans, and thanks to Kelly Wanlass for passing these along:
- "I lost my breast. I think it's in my purse somewhere."
- "I lost my colon but I'm still full of crap."
- "I'm too sexy for my hair."
And my personal favorite: "Of course they're fake. The real ones tried to kill me."
Due to the overwhelming response to my query for creative gifts for
cancer patients and also since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'll
be highlighting other good gift ideas on our patient resource center
later this week. But if you want more information on Linda Hill's
products, go to www.somuchmoreonline.com.
And I'll leave it with one of my favorite quotes, that also seems to sum up my sentiment pretty well:
think laugher may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes
stand tall and look into the sun and laugh and I think we are never more
brave than when we do that." -- Linda Ellerbee