This I Believe

Kimber - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2004, she told me that not only the doctors, painful surgery and chemotherapy would make her better, but being happy would help her as well. I did everything I could to get her to laugh; I retold only the most hilarious things that had happened at school, I told her jokes, and we watched comedy shows and movies. Even though going through this ordeal was very tough on everyone in my family, laughter helped us to get through it. All in all, I do truly believe that laughter was the primary medication that helped my mother, so I believe that laughter is the best medicine when dealing with any disease.

I know that when I have a cold, or I’m just feeling down, it makes me feel better to watch a re-run of the Three Stooges, or Wile E. Coyote getting hit in the head with an anvil. Laughter and comedy give people hope that things can get better, and life has more to offer than pain and runny noses.

One afternoon shortly after my mom had begun chemotherapy, I came home from a horrible day at school. I dumped my book bag in my bedroom, and then went to check on my mom. I really just wanted to be alone to wind down, but when my mother motioned to the bed beside her, I couldn’t refuse to relax and lay down with her. Mom was too tired to talk, but she changed the channel to the comedy network. For the next few hours, we could not stop laughing together. By the time I had to take a shower and get ready for bed, I was in a much better mood, to the point where I was actually looking forward to school that next morning, and my mom was so exhilarated and energized that she had the perseverance to have dinner with us that night. That just goes to show that laughter can work miracles, no matter how small they may seem.

I recently watched a movie by the name of Patch Adams, who was a doctor that created the doctrine that laughter is the best medicine. The movie went on to detail the methods he used to cheer up depressed terminally ill patients. While watching the movie, I too came to see the benefits of laughter and brightening up a patient’s last days. I too came to accept the doctrine.

Laugher increases respiration and heart rate, which reduces heart pressure. It also releases endorphins, the happy chemicals, which can put you in a better state of mind. These together can overall boost your immune system, giving you a better chance at fighting a disease. Medical doctors stuck on old beliefs and courses of treatment reject the theory. But put them in a hospital gown and tell them they have six months to live, and I will be the first person to tell you that they could do with a smile.