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Humor and Healing: Laughter for the body and soul

How laughter might just be the best medicine for cancer patients
How laughter might just be the best medicine for cancer patients

There are very few phrases more gut wrenching than “You have cancer.” The fear of the unknown can leave you reeling. What treatment will I need? Will I have side effects? Will I survive?

Mental health experts say for some, finding humor during a health crisis is one important way to cope.

Two years ago, Diana Bosse went to the ER with intense abdominal pain and was blindsided by the doctor’s diagnosis: diffuse large b-cell lymphoma.

“I mean, you think cancer, you think the worst, you think chemo, you think, you know, I’m going to be so sick. Then I thought I can’t keep doing this. I cannot stay in this black hole,” Bosse told Ivanhoe.

Instead, Bosse began posting about her cancer journey on social media.

“Humor was my coping mechanism,” Bosse shared.

Board-certified psychologist Shelley Johns works extensively with cancer patients. She says a good, heartfelt laugh does wonders for the soul and the body.

“You take in more oxygen-rich air, it helps get your cardiovascular system moving,” said Shelly Johns, a clinical health psychologist at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis stated.

Johns recommends her patients stock up on mood-boosting movies, read a funny book, or pull out your childhood comic book collection.

Finally, surround yourself with likeminded friends. For Bosse it was long-time friend and part-time cartoonist Steve Wallace. He read Bosse’s social media posts daily and began to sketch her exploits.

“I knew it was her coping mechanism and I knew I would probably do the same thing,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s illustrations gave Bosse the push she needed to fulfill a lifelong goal, turning her Facebook posts into a book.

“So, I thought ‘If I don’t do something now, who knows if I’ll have another chance,’” Bosse said.

Bosse has been cancer-free since August 2019. She is donating 5% of the proceeds of her book to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and another 5% to the Alzheimer’s Association, where she works. You can order on Bosse’s website, Dianabosse.com.