Laughter – the Best Medicine by Debbie Nolen

DebbieNolan2Proverbs 17:22 says: A joyful heart is good medicine. (I’ve had plenty of medicine recently. I prefer laughter!)

Ecclesiastes 3:14 says: A time to weep, and a time to laugh. (I have done a little crying, but I’ve tried to laugh more.)

Proverbs 31:25 says: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Even a virtuous woman can laugh while still being honorable.) 

“Laughter is the Best Medicine.” No doubt you’ve heard this phrase before, especially if you read the Reader’s Digest.

Laughter is contagious. It can bring people together and make people happy. Rick Warren says: “Humor is an amazing thing. It’s a tension dissolver. It’s an antidote to anxiety. It’s just like a tranquilizer, but without any troublesome side effects. And it’s free! You don’t even need a prescription.”

A book that has helped me with my journey the last few months is STRENGTH RENEWED by Shirley Corder. It is not a humorous book, but a straightforward look at her experience with breast cancer from beginning to end.  Shirley has become a Facebook friend of mine, and she often personally comments on my posts. She even sent me a message asking me to write a review for her book on Amazon, which I did. Even though the book is not humorous per se, she does make me laugh at some of her experiences. She reminds me to be upbeat and let God use my experience for good. God is bigger than this disease.

One question she asks is: Why do you think God created laughter? My answer to that is for us to be uplifted and uplifting. If I can laugh even when I don’t feel like laughing, if I can laugh at myself because I can’t change the way things are, if I can laugh because I have a heavenly Father who will see me through this, then my journey is a little bit easier. I read an article that said I need to laugh at myself and laugh at situations instead of complaining.

Well, losing my hair was certainly not one of my brighter moments. However, it happened and I had two choices. I could either complain and be miserable, or I could make light of a situation out of my control. Well, you may not know my family, so guess what our standing jokes are about? Yes, my hair….or lack thereof. Often Mark, my husband of 30 years, tells me not to “flip my wig” and I often say I’m having a “bad hair day”.  One day I put a hair clip in the last six hairs I had on top of my head, and my 25-year-old daughter Paige said I looked like the Troll doll. But, I must admit the best laugh came from the quiet one, my 18-year-old son Drew, who decided I must have “given up hair for Lent”.

Yes, laughter is part of my medicine. My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 5:16, part of which says,“Let your light so shine before men.” This experience of mine right now is not about good works, but about attitude. I choose to let God handle the things I cannot understand and I let others know where I put my faith. I don’t always feel good, and I still have a ways to go on my journey, but I know who holds my tomorrow and I will continue to laugh my way there.

On December 12, 2012, Debbie was diagnosed with Stage 2 Triple negative cancer. The 1/2 cm lump was detected on a routine mammogram—which incidentally was performed four months later than it should have been. It might not have shown up if she had had the mammo when it was due. (Not suggesting you’re better to put it off, but showing God is in control, even when you slip up.) A surgeon performed a lumpectomy on December 21, 2012 and this was followed by four chemotherapy treatments. At the point of writing this article, she was preparing for 35 treatments of radiation. By the way, the photo on the right was taken before her final chemotherapy. Just goes to show, losing your hair is not all bad. You look stunning Debbie!  

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