our pad

our pad

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Because Laughter is the Best Medicine

I am all done crying over cancer and here is the superficial reason why: I would like to maintain the thinned eyelashes I have left for as long as possible. Chemo does a number on all those quickly dividing hair follicle cells and eyelashes are no exception. Now just lightly wiping away a tear unleashes an avalanche, so I'll try to laugh instead, after all; laughter is the best medicine.

I thought I'd share a few incidents and stories related to my diagnosis which have kept me laughing  through this first phase of treatment:

  • After hearing from my doctor that hair loss would be inevitable with my chemotherapy regimen, I decided to get a major haircut to perhaps make the transition to baldness a little more subtle. I had nine inches chopped off my hair at the local Supercuts, refusing to pay an exorbitant  amount  of money for a hairstyle which would be fiercely shedding within a months time. I donated the hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths which creates wigs for uninsured cancer patients, acknowledging the irony of it all.  I'll never forgot the look I got from Cameron (9) when I walked in the house sporting my first short haircut; chin length in the front, a shorter bob in the back. He put his hands on his hips and said, "Wow, you sure look a mom now!"

  • Explaining or perhaps complaining to my friend Emily who has known me a little too well for 20 years, that I am not allowed to consume any alcohol over the next six months while going through treatment (something about poisoning my liver and red-blood cells?), she sympathized with me saying, "We all know chemotherapy is terrible, but no wine? Now that's just BARBARIC!"

  • Impatient and sick of hearing me go into lengthy details when friends or acquaintances  ask me how I'm feeling all the time, Avery (4) interrupted the lady working at the grocery store check-out aisle who happened to ask the generic, "How are you doing today?" by blurting out, "She's all better now! See? No more band aids!" 

  • Explaining to the boys how the medicine I needed to take to make me better was going to make me lose my hair on my head, Cam (9) replies,"It's too bad it couldn't just work on your hairy arms instead." (He is on to something, ever since my college friends and I decided to Nair our arms before a school dance, the hair grew back longer and thicker after that). Luckily it's blonde because chemo hasn't changed a thing there!
  • I told the kiddos we would do something really special as a family when this is all behind us, then asked them where they would want to go if we could go anywhere in the world.  Cam (9) closed his eyes and thought for a second then shouted, "I know...Hollywood!" Ella (4) thought a minute longer then shouted, "I know...Swizzles!" (our local ice-cream joint).

  • Having a snack with my kids outside, somehow the plate ended up getting knocked onto the deck.  Cameron bent down to pick up the scattered apple slices then a few minutes later handed the plate back to me saying, "I licked all the dirt off for you because I know while going through treatment, your not suppose to get any germs."

  • Explaining to the girls that they were going to go stay with their grandparents for a couple days while I went to have  surgery to have the portacath placed in my chest, Avery (4) replies, "But you already had surgery, I think its Daddy's turn now."

  • After not being allowed to lift the girls for a few weeks following my surgery, the first time I picked up Addison (3), she gave me a big hug and says, " I'm just so proud for you!"
  • Trying to convince the girls to go back downstairs with their dad while I rested saying I wasn't feeling well, Ella (4) says, "Chewing gum always makes me feel better." Then continues, "Maybe watching me chew gum would make you feel better. Do you have any gum?"

  • A good friend texted me while I was sitting in the Dana Farber the other day to check in and see how chemo was going. I thought I texted back, "Much easier with the port." But what she read was, "Much easier watching porn." Gotta love auto-correct!!! 

  • Or how about when the girls convinced Jim they were ever-so-sweetly making me a card in the playroom, but instead were covering each other in blue permanent marker. If this doesn't say "Get Well Soon, Mom." I don't know what does:


  1. That last picture is PRICELESS! Finding the laughter (and conserving the lashes as a result) is a wonderful way to live during the rough moments. All my best to you!

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Emily and Brigid directed me to your website and I am so glad that they did. While I was so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, your approach to tackling your diagnosis and treatment with strength, grace, and humor is inspiring. And I love reading about how supportive and thoughtful your kids have been -- you must be so proud of them! I smiled at each of the stories you shared (except maybe the permanent marker one! :) I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers, and will be supporting you from afar on each step of this journey!

    All the best,
    Emily (Moloney) Smith

    1. Thanks so much Emily. I appreciate the prayers and support! Xoxo

    2. Thanks so much Emily. I appreciate the prayers and support! Xoxo

  3. Amanda,

    Your cousins here in Philadelphia have shared your blog with me. (I work for your Uncle Robin) I just want you to know you and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers. You have been an inspiration and in my eyes a true hero. Keep laughing as I believe laughter is the best medicine. I only hope I can live my life half as well.

    Martha Drusedum

  4. I love that you are finding ways to laugh through this. Your kids sound incredible.

  5. I think one of my favorite memories during chemo was watching my nieces run around in my wig (then ages 3 and 6). They thought my hair had grown back when they saw me in my wig so I took it off to show them. They thought it was hilarious and then had to run around dancing and giggling and twirling.