Laughter goes a long way to heal the body and soul. As a writer I’ve experienced laughter’s wonderful gift in real life events and in fictional movies and books.
Did you know that the Cancer Center of America supports laughter therapy for its patients?
Paraphrased from Cancer Center of America: After evaluating patients before and after a humorous events, results demonstrated that episodes of laughter help reduce pain, decrease stress hormones and boost the immune system.”
Ridding the body of stress hormones is important because stress “feeds” cancer. It also exasperates other illnesses and conditions.
Laughter is a superman among medicines.
I’ve always enjoyed funny books and movies, but I had my eyes opened to the vast benefits when I became my son’s caretaker for two years during his cancer treatments at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas.
There was no such thing as immune therapies then, and Alan’s battle was made worse by the fact that he could not be with his children very often. The chemo destroyed his immune system and kids are little germinators. So, his wife remained in North Texas, taking care of them and holding down the fort with only rare visits. We all felt Alan’s pain and stress over this.
Alan and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment within a mile of the hospital. His illness was already 4th stage when diagnosed and his treatment was extremely harsh. Often it seemed we took two steps forward, only to take one step back. The stress on both us took a toll, not to mention his physical discomfort.
Then one day, a stranger opened my eyes. As we sat waiting for the patient bus that would drive us to our apartment, I was feeling particularly defeated. A man’s hearty laugh drew my attention. For some reason it made me feel better and I glanced over to see what was so funny. I was shocked. Half of the man’s face was gone. I nearly cried. Not so much for the horror of his loss, but for the fact that I felt ashamed of myself.
I mean, here was a man who had lost so much and yet, he could still laugh. I determined then and there, that a defeatist attitude would win us no battles against the depression or the cancer.
And so Alan and I laughed — whenever we got the chance. Sure we had some low moments but we managed to find humor in almost every situation, and we used the he** out of it.
Even during the one-week intervals every 21 days, when he received chemo in the hospital, we laughed. We watched old movies together until the wee hours of the morning – didn’t matter how lame they were as long as they were funny. I remember one in particular, the The Cone Heads. We laughed till our cheeks hurt.
Laughter helped Alan push through his misery. It helped me to cheer him on.
One time we came back to the apartment to discover a bat-size moth roosting in the artificial fichus plant by his favorite chair. My big brave son jumped a foot when it flew out at him, and we became a couple of bumbling stooges trying to wave the darn thing out the door, him with his shirt and me with a broom. Again, we laughed so hard. Another time a huge and I mean Texas-size tree roach appeared on his bed cover. Alan came tearing out of his room yelling as me to “get it.” I’m like, no way! I don’t do creepy crawlers. But I found the trusty broom and the bug spray, batted the monster off his bed and drowned it bug juice. Then I teased the he** out of my son.
I have many such stories that happened during those two years. Now, almost five years after his passing, I remember our special bonding over shared laughter. In my grief, nothing has ever comforted or healed me more then those memories of laughing together.
I’ve always been fond of humor in the fiction I read. I suppose that’s why I like to write humor in my own stories. Like most writers, I’ve endured more than one crisis in my life and looking back, I realize humor and laughter have always helped me get through rough times.
One of my readers once said to me, “I know what you were going through when you wrote that book. How on earth did you write something so funny at a time like that?”
It was an easy question to answer. I told her, “the book saved me; its humor was an escape and reminded me what’s truly important in life.”
It’s my hope that the humor in my stories will — even for a moment — put a smile on the face of someone who’s having a tough time.
May is my son’s birthday month so I’m posting the special links below. I hope you’ll take a look.
You don’t have to donate money to help cancer patients. Only about 75% of patients have family members that are perfect matches for a stem cell transplant. You can save a life by registering and donating stem cells. Here are a few links to sites that will explain how it’s done.
On a special note: For some reason, Asian stem cell donors are few. Thus Asians and half Asians [like my son] have a more difficult time to find a match. If you’re Asian, please consider donating.
A You Tube explanation of the process should you be chosen to donate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyriQibRhLA
Real stem cell donor talks about how to donate stem cells and how easy it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPwNSd15phQ
BE THE MATCH how to register & receive a stem cell test kit http://marrow.org/Support-the-Cause/Donate-bone-marrow/Join-the-marrow-registry/Join-now/
BE THE MATCH how to register & receive a stem cell test kit