Healing with Humor

WARNING…This page may not be for everyone…I am giving permission for you to laugh WITH me…thanks Ziggy for the great intro cartoon…

My way of dealing with discomfort and frustration is humor.  Some people turn inward and get depressed, sinking in a ‘woe is me’ well of despair.  Not me.  I’ve only got one life to live and I’ll be dammed if I’m going to live the rest of it stuck in a rut of depression.  I’ve heard that being happy and laughing promotes healing, so I thought I’d share a few stories with you that relate to having a mastectomy.

As I am facing another reconstruction surgery next month, here is a cartoon my husband ran across that made us both chuckle.

HUMOR RELIEF #1 – Before my mastectomy a friend of mine shared a story of the time between her mastectomy and reconstruction.  She was at a golf outing and it was a windy day.  It was her turn to tee off and she swung with a vigilant follow through, pushing her prosthetic puff out of its place and onto the course, blowing down the fairway.  I got a good laugh at that visualization. I could see how funny or humiliating it could be, depending on the type of person you might be.

HUMOR RELIEF #2 – I ran into a friend of mine whose wife had a mastectomy and I told him my story.  We hugged and then he shared a story that brought a smile to my teared up face.  He said, “When the doctor told my wife and I a mastectomy was recommended, she paused, then turned to me and said, I’m done with these breasts now, what about you?’” That simple bit of humor hit me as not only funny, but practical.  As I walked away from my friend I had a moment where I realized my breasts had done their job as intended by nature – breastfed my two sons.

HUMOR RELIEF #3 – One of the things I enjoy volunteering for is our Community Garden, tended by volunteers who work to grow produce to benefit the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and our area families in need.  I had signed up to be the garden manger on a May Saturday morning and was working with a small group of volunteers hauling mulch to spread over the cardboard to prevent the weeds from overtaking the gardens. A few of my volunteers had ‘retired’ for the morning and we became short handed. I found myself shoveling the mulch, wheeling the wheelbarrow and spreading the mulch as well.  I was raking vigorously when I noticed something white in the mulch.  I picked it up and realized it was my sock that had fallen out of my sports bra. Instead of wearing my prosthetic puff in a bulky bra, I wore my regular sports bra and stuffed it with a sock, just like many of us slow developing girls did in middle school.  I looked around and was relieved that nobody but me noticed and had a good laugh.

If you have your own humorous stories, please feel to comment and add them.  We can always use a good laugh.

One comment on “Healing with Humor

  1. I did not have breast cancer, but I had major surgery and complications that left me with drain tubes for three years. As you can imagine, dealing with these tubes became a normal part of life. My main tube came out of my abdomen, through my rib cage and the bulb was on a really long tube, that if I let it hang, it reached almost down to my knees. Since I needed to have a somewhat normal life, I became very creative in stashing my tube “grenades” so that they would not be visible to the average person.

    At the time of this story ( I am getting to it…) I had not one, but two tubes and two grenades. My favorite place to stash them was in my panties. I would wear one pair of panties for the usual functional purpose, then I would put on another pair, and place the grenades (emptied of course so they were flat) sandwiched between the two pair (yep, right in the crotch so that my legs could anchor them) so that they would not move around. This was a great and very effective set up for me, as it allowed me to move about pretty freely. Until that day that I went to Milwaukee to audition for Wheel of Fortune.

    I am not bragging (ok, maybe a little), but I am a REALLY good Wheel of Fortune player. When it was all over the screen for weeks on end that they were having auditions for Wheel of Fortune in Milwaukee, I HAD to go. I had my heart absolute set on it, but truth be known, I probably was not very smart for going. I was pretty sick at the time, and pretty weak, but THIS was my chance. Wheel of Fortune was on my bucket list, and at the time, I was pretty serious about my bucket list.

    I stood in line for a couple of hours, and the adrenaline is what kept me going. I knew that my chances of getting called up on stage were slim. There were over 5000 of us that showed up to “audition”, and only about 25 of us would even get the chance to get up on stage. Those aren’t very good odds. They drew our names out of a drum, and the chit that we wrote our information on was about two inches by three inches. I remember crumpling the paper before i put it in the drum to beef up my chances and then I walked into the auditorium after standing in cattle lines for hours. This place was huge, and standing room only for me, Ugh, I was beat, and sweating.

    In the first round of five names called, I was the fourth name called. “Melissa Chamberlin, Berlin, WI, come on down” From there, everything replays in my mind in slow motion. With what ever energy I had left, I started waving my arms around, people were applauding like mad, and I had to RUN down the isle and up the six or so stairs to the top of the stage where a microphone was quickly pinned on me, and then up to the front of the stage to get interviewed by a WAY TOO EXCITED M.C. It was then, when I was placed right at the edge of the stage, where my secret stash was about eye level to the folks in the audience, I realized that one of my grenades had come unplugged, and air had filled the bulb up, so it appeared that I had a, ummmm, errr, package in my pants. If that weren’t the worst of it, a little bit of drainage came out of the bulb. Yep, right there. M hmmmm. I was SURE that EVERYONE saw it, and I wanted to just yell, “really, it is a drainage tube, really, I am really a woman,” but instead, I sort of just flopped. Do you remember the episode of the Brady Bunch where Cindy just froze up during her game show debut? Yep, that was me. Needless to say, I never made it on the Wheel of Fortune, but I did eventually get better, and I have this, errr, fond memory to share with you. You must learn how to laugh, and laugh often.

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