Question: How can I use humor to help me cope with my breast cancer treatments and diagnosis?
Answer: Let's face it; there's nothing funny about getting breast cancer. But we've learned from clinical research that laughter actually builds our immune system. It is our immune system that has failed us that allow breast cancer cells to grow. Laughter also produces endorphins in our body, which is one of the most effective ways to reduce pain. So it's a very effective way to not only make you feel better -- physically and psychologically -- but it also helps you physiologically, as part of your breast cancer treatment.
One of the things I did when I was diagnosed with breast cancer was I decided to name my breast prostheses, having had two mastectomies. My left one is Betty Boob and my right one is Bobby Sue – my prosthetic boobsie twins. And I tell people I treat them like they do their American Express card -- I've never left home without them.
One of the things that you can do to help yourself, and your family as well as your friends, is to find funny things related to your treatment or you may also choose to name your breast prostheses. It's a way to neutralize the discussion about this disease, knowing that this remains the most feared disease of all women. And because of its fear, we have a tendency to not want to talk about it, even when we ourselves are going through treatment.
One thing you can do is to buy joke books or go out to a very funny movie. Sit there and enjoy that belly laugh. You'll find afterwards how much better you feel.