On 9 January 2009, the cancer site of Cancerstory.com became dormant.
However, the web contents can still be read like a book without further update.
Healing Setback
- Means Test
- Are you ready to "take on" your doctor?
- Can you "fire" your doctor?
- Manage your expectations
- Lack of oncology nutritionists
- Nutrition Maze
- Extravagant claims
- Rare Cancers
- TCM - Controversy
- TCM - Book Review
- Reflection
- Magic Cure
- Man-made Rules
- It's about money
Understanding Cancer
- What is Cancer?
- Stage of Cancer
- Dictionary of Cancer Terms
- Tumour Marker
- Self Examination
- Symptoms of Various Cancer
- Healing & Curing
- Human Papilloma Virus
Cancer Challenge
Diagnosis
   - Cancer's Victim Experience
   - The 8 Overcoming Tools
   - Motivational Message
   - Counselling/Cancer Helpline
   - Financial Issues
   - Cancer Checklist
   - Living With Cancer
   - Free Transport/Financial Aid
Acceptance
   - Seek Second Opinion
   - Learn About Your Illness
Treatment
   - Conventional Treatment
   - Clinical Trials in Singapore
   - Complementary Treatment
   - Coping With Side Effects
   - Coping With Hair Loss
   - Sexuality and Cancer
   - Hospitals/Cancer Organisations
Surviving Cancer
   - Importance Of Support
   - Support Group
Hospice Care
   - Cancer's Victim Experience
   - Living Fully in the Face of Death
   - Types Of Hospice Care
   - Home Help Service
   - Directory Of Hospices
   - Pain Management
   - Advance Medical Directive Act
Special Corners
- Leukemia
- Kids' Corner
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- Women's Corner
- Cancer Prevention Tips
- Products recalled by HSA
- Fundraising for cancer organizations
- Stroke
- Used Medical Appliances
- Will & Estate
- Water Cures, Drugs Kill
- Jurong Health Connect
- Mesothelioma
Art transforms into compassion
Acknowledgement
The 8 Overcoming Tools : How to Overcome Your Fear of a Diagnosis of Cancer

Laugh. A Lot

Take a second right now and think of the funniest joke or story you know. It is okay to laugh out loud right now as you remember it. How does laughing right now make you feel? That's what I thought. Laughter is the best medicine.

Norman Cousins' book, Anatomy of an Illness, was on the New York Times best-seller list for forty weeks when it was first published in 1979. It is still in print and its twin central messages are just as important today as they were when I read it during my own experience with cancer in 1981.

The first major message of the book is Cousins' own story of taking personal responsibility for his own recovery. (Think about the literal meaning of the word responsibility: it means the ability to respond). You might say that is the main message of this book, too the idea that you have within you the incredible power to focus your energies and determination on recovery and health.

The second message of Anatomy of an Illness is what made it a best-seller and what keeps it selling today. Cousins was the man who first popularized the idea with the general public, as well as the medical community, of the healing power of laughter.

In 1964, Cousins had contracted an illness which his doctors were unable to properly diagnose and which appeared to be killing him. What he did, instead of waiting in his hospital room to slowly die, was to check into a New York City hotel and watch funny movies and TV shows! (I might add that he did this with the blessing of his doctor, who knew that Cousins needed something more than clinical treatment for what he was suffering from). Cousins found that ten minutes of good, solid belly laughter yielded up to two hours of pain-free sleep or rest. He was taking advantage of something which is now generally recognized by medical science, that laughter causes a physiological change in the brain, causing it to release endorphins, which are drug- like chemicals that give us a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure.

The opposite of the laughter effect is the harmful result of stress, worry and tension. Negative emotions can cause very real physical reactions such as stomach ulcers. My dad was in a business that took its toll on his nerves around the time I was seven or eight years old. I thought for years that when you grew up your major foods were Maalox and Cream of Wheat!

Cousins' favorite films were old Marx Brothers comedies. He also watched tapes of old Candid Camera shows. When I was in the hospital in 1981, I remember watching a television show that made me laugh so hard it hurt my stitches. I can't remember the name of the show, but it was a super hero fantasy with a guy who had the right idea but hadn't quite learned the ropes: he kept flying into buildings and he never landed in the right place.

The third Overcoming Tool is as simple as it is important, perhaps crucial to your recovery: Laugh. A lot! And I mean laugh. I don't know what kind of movies or TV shows (or joke books or magazines or comics) really make you laugh, but whatever they are, I want you to consider this tool a prescription for a daily dose of as much laughing as you can handle.

If you haven't seen any really funny movies lately, allow me to suggest some of my personal favorites. All of the Pink Panther films with Peter Sellers are funny. Steve Martin is terrific in All of Me. Spaceballs, Naked Gun and Naked Gun 2 all make me laugh so hard, I can't eat or drink anything while I'm watching them! Some of my other surefire favorites are and the Airplane, Hot Shots, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles Vacation movies with Chevy Chase. These may not be the cinematic classics of our day, but they are guaranteed to bring peals of belly laughter out of me!

Of course, laughter is important for everyone, with or without a serious illness. I wonder sometimes if a lot of people don't actually make themselves sick because of the lack of laughter in their lives.


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