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Comedy: Would a Few Laughs Help My Cancer?

BY Stephanie J. Hammonds
PUBLISHED May 02, 2016
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
Little did I know in the weeks following my cancer diagnosis in 2009 that I would get advice to watch comedy. One urging even came from a childhood television idol I watched in fourth grade.

Humor: could it help me find my way back through this time of illness to my former healthy state and perhaps a better mood? I do like comedy, but I like drama also. Did I have to choose? Did these recommendations to funny shows have to be exclusive? What if I didn’t feel like laughing? It didn’t sound like it would be helpful. Maybe I shouldn’t take any of these referrals ... seriously.

Several weeks after my first surgery and treatment, I realized I wouldn’t be able to get out as much as I liked, and the days began to drag on. I relied on my beloved artwork projects of paper dolls and flower illustrations to keep me going, but soon I decided to try a little time with DVDs. I set the dramatic shows aside temporarily. And, yes I tried comedy. British comedy, or “Britcoms” as they are known. My first choice, "Keeping up Appearances,” the “laugh out loud” stuff. And, every time I laughed, I felt a little better. Laughing and humor did help take my mind off of this annoying cancer situation. With cancer came worry, anxiety, pain, sadness and scary thoughts. Laughing eased much of it. My mood lifted quite a bit! I was more relaxed. I wanted to laugh!

When I came home from a chemotherapy treatment, I would watch a comedy show. When friends came by to visit, I would put a DVD on, and we would laugh together. Jackie Gleason came next, the “Honeymooners”, then lots of other funny series including “Doc Martin” and “Are you Being Served?” It felt so great to laugh-- so nice to feel almost like my former self again. I had a recurrence in 2015 of my old illness, and I’m still watching comedy. It still helps uplift me every time I have a good laugh, or sometimes a roaring giggle.

“Watch comedy” they said. They were right.
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