Linda Batchelor-Ballew USA: I am a certified Laughter Yoga teacher and I have stage IV metastatic Bone Marrow cancer. Last year – in May, I had a bone marrow biopsy – the doctors use a bone awl to push and turn, cutting down through the bone so they can get a core sample and also draw out some bone marrow. The doctor I had was right handed and could only do it where I have a bone island on the horn of the hip. Usually this takes about 10 to15 minutes, mine took about 35 minutes. I told her I would have no IV and that I just needed a few minutes to get laughing to build up endorphins. She looked surprised. So I began to laugh – the nurse had been to one of my sessions and immediately joined me in laughter. I was on my stomach and able to laugh without moving. The doctor began her work and soon she began to laugh, saying, “I do not know why I am laughing with you, I cannot help it”. I felt the banging and tugging and eventually the syringe withdrawing the sample of bone marrow. That was the only part that was painful and it was over so quickly it left me laughing heartily and yet feeling a little faint. I took some deep breaths – sat up for a while and then went home with no IV sedation or painkiller in my system. So all was well – I could have driven home had I wished and once again my body was protected from unnecessary drugs.
Today I had to go to my dentist. It was an emergency as my crown had fallen off and the inner tooth was exposed and very painful. Anything hot or cold hurt so much I refused to eat, only sipping lukewarm water. When I arrived at the dentists office, they took the crown and cleaned it – fortunately, neither my tooth nor the crown were damaged. My dentist decided to simply replace the same crown as there was no decay – however the cold cement used to attach the crown would cause excruciating pain. So I began laughing. My dentist learning from me, has used laughter with his children at home to change their mood so he was aware of what I was doing. He continued his work with me making resounding Ha ha ha! sounds. I do not know what the other patients thought. The nurse said – “What is she doing?” and he replied, ” She is using her laughter to ease the pain”. After the initial shock the tooth was pronounced whole – I left for home and only a slight residual sensitivity remaining. I much prefer not to have drugs – so this worked for me.
I use laughter, both internal and external, frequently in my cancer treatment and to keep myself oxygenated and in a good mood. I provide Laughter Yoga for other cancer patients and have also provided it for many oncology providers. My desire is to be able to bring this wonderful stress relief to Cancer patients in Indianapolis area Oncology units, Like they do in Chicago Swedish Covenant Hospitaland MD Anderson Cancer Center to name just a couple that use Laughter Yoga for their cancer patients’ benefit. So if you are a patient and wish to have the opportunity to try this – ask your oncologist and staff. I can be contacted at Laughjoyfully@Gmail.com
I am a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, a CLY Teacher, the EST 6am HOST for Laughter on the phone and a Laughter Ambassador. I provide over 400 pro bono sessions each year.