We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine and it is generally believed but does hold a little "oh that's cute" dismissiveness to it. I believe this little bit of doubt sneaks in because we do not understand what it really means. There is a part of us that thinks it means that laughter will cure an illness. When it doesn't, because it won't, it is proof that the saying is not true. I do believe it is true, but not in the "curing of an illness" type of way. Let's jump right into my most recent client. Her name is Ellie. She is a beautiful dog with a complex history that originated in the Bronx. As an ex-Bronxite, I know that you can take the girl out of the Bronx, but you can never (and I mean NEVER) take the Bronx out of the girl!
Being from the Bronx means that you lived with diversity. You welcome diversity, actually. Being from the Bronx means you can handle yourself in a lot of different situations: you are tough when you need to be, soft when that is appropriate, street smart but also cultured. There is a particular sense of humor that is unique to Bronxites- it's dry, sarcastic, holds no punches, and gives you those out-of-the-blue belly laughs. The one-liners are unexpected and hilarious. What does this have to do with Ellie? I just describe a big part of her personality! Like all Bronxites, she is multi-dimensional. This is just a part of her.
Ellis is about 12 years old. She is a beautiful girl who unfortunately is dealing with osteosarcoma. When I asked about how she was feeling, she mentioned everything but that! She didn't want to focus on it. She talked about her arthritis, feeling a little scared, her vision being less sharp, and her playful nature. She didn't avoid the topic, she is aware. She apologized for all the troubles and visits; Ellie just chose to focus on other things.
When Ellie noticed that her human was getting emotional, she came in fast delivering a punchline that made her human burst into laughter. I did too actually. It was hard not to laugh while relaying the message.
Instead of focusing on her upcoming surgery, Ellie decided to plan her recovery party. Bronx girls do love a good party with food and friends! When discussing her party, She was reminded of the special diet she is on. Ellie responded, "It's a party! One day off won't hurt".
She then asked her human to get on a better diet. Her human said, "I'm ok. I air fry and try to eat healthy", to which Ellie said, "Airfry is still fry". POW. There were many one-lines and descriptors that Ellie used that made her human, her MOM, laugh. What started as a serious and solemn conversation, became a hopeful and funny coffee time between new friends.
Ellie is having her surgery today. I ask all my readers to hold her in a special healing circle for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. While laughter will not cure her cancer or avoid the amputation that is happening, Ellie showed us that laughter heals the spirit and eases the mind. It was the best medicine her human could ask for, putting her in a better headspace which then the rest of the body follows. I was in a great mood all day yesterday, despite the seriousness of her condition. THAT is what laughter provides. Without further ado, here is Ellie (picture chosen by Ellie herself!), AKA Ellie from the block.