“To Boob or Not to Boob”. That is the question asked in a blog recently by a therapist as she pondered whether to pump up her chest with some fake ones to see a new client after a double mastectomy. There is nothing like humor in the face of medical adversity to smash that fear down to size when it threatens to paralyze.

I remember when my sister first found out she had breast cancer. We met after the news and there were the tears and then the silence in which you could almost taste the anxiety. After a minute or so, an expletive (a very funny one, too) fell from her mouth as she imagined herself without hair—then peals of laughter as we somehow tapped into the comical side of the predicament she was in. Today, many years later, and cancer free, she fondly remembers how much we laughed during that time. There is something about a life threatening illness that cuts right to the heart one’s awareness of the top priorities in life.

Norman Cousins’ writings, former editor of The Saturday Review, actually inspired something called the “humor therapy movement”. He was the author of Anatomy of an Illness in which, after being diagnosed with a crippling illness, he claims to have used laughter, courage, and tenacity to mobilize his body’s own natural healing resources. Maybe we should start focusing on the importance of humor all the time. Who knows, perhaps it would help prevent disease! No surprise there.

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