By BRONWYN HOPE
A funny thing happened a few days after my 48th birthday. Instead of a birthday present, my doctor gave me these four words. ‘You. Have. Breast. Cancer’.
Alright, I admit it wasn’t actually funny at the time. But two years on, I can honestly say that having breast cancer taught me that you really can laugh – and loudly – in the face of adversity.
At first there’s nothing at all funny about facing the prospect of your untimely demise.
But there can be a lot that is funny about what happens in the process of trying to delay that inevitability. There is a lot you can laugh at if you have the right attitude.
I guess I’m lucky; that attitude is second nature to me. I like to think I’m a funny person. I have a love of stand-up comedy but t’s not my day job – it’s a hobby. I love laughing and I get a weird sort of ‘high’ from being able to make someone else laugh.
It’s the one time I feel really connected with other people, and I’m always looking for something – or someone – to laugh at.
So when I found out I had breast cancer, it seemed natural to find ways to laugh at that too.
As it turned out, I was also able to make other people laugh (and cry a little too).
In the first few days after my first lumpectomy, a friend encouraged me to share my story. I started a blog and with some difficulty, kept writing all the way through my treatment.
At the time I had no idea where it would go or why I was doing it. My purpose wasn’t immediately clear but as my story progressed, I realized I wanted people to know exactly what it means to have a diagnosis of breast cancer.
One of the first things I learned along the way is that when faced with a life-threatening disease, your emotional responses are deepened.
Everything is felt more profoundly – love, despair, anger and, importantly, the emotion at the heart of humour – happiness.
So what exactly did I find funny?
Here are 10 funny things I observed after enduring six doses of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, 25 shots of radiation and now, ongoing hormonal therapy: