We want to welcome Geri Taylor to our website – she’s a beautiful survivor, who has agree to bless us with her writing talent.  She’ll be writing a blog post once a month, and they will be known as Geri’s Gems.  Here is her first post… Enjoy!
“I love to laugh.  I had the blessing of growing up in a family that used laughter as a way to keep things in perspective.  My dad loved to clown around and would always keep us kids laughing at his antics or his teasing.  Mom on the other hand would shake her head and roll her eyes at his silliness, but deep down she had a dry sense of humor that emerged at just the right times. 
 
As I began my divorce journey I remember going to my mom in tears, seeking for sympathy.  In her wisdom she told me to have a good cry and then we would talk about it.  Have you ever tried to cry when someone tells you to?  The absurdity of it had just the effect she wanted – I started laughing.  I told her she took all the fun out of being miserable. 
 
How I wish she could have been here when I began my cancer journey – but in reality I had part of her to help me through the tough times.  On many occasions I have felt her presence when I was feeling low and I could imagine the twinkling eyes in her fake-serious face, and hear her telling me to have a good cry.  I can’t help but laugh. 
 
After two failed marriages I made a list of qualities I wanted in a husband (it was about time!) -one of the most important being a sense of humor.  A mutual friend set us up and when Rodger called for a date he said, “Nyla says you’re looking for someone tall, dark and handsome, will one out of three do?”  I asked, “You’re good looking?”   “No, but I’m tall and with a little help from Miss Clairol I could be dark.”  I mentally checked off a sense of humor.
 
Fast forward 14 years to the day I received the diagnosis.  I was unusually calm when the Dr. said I had invasive ductal carcinoma and he had already called the surgeon to set a surgery date.  I called Rodger’s cell and had to leave a message – that’s when my voice cracked and although I didn’t cry, tears were near the surface.  We met for lunch and as we waited for our meal I told my sweetheart we were going to laugh this cancer right out of my body.  He got very serious, bowed his head, and said “I have a problem”.  Concerned, I softly asked what it was.  He looked at me with a somewhat pained expression and said, “Who’s going to do the dishes?”  I burst out laughing and thanked him for starting the healing.  His countenance didn’t change and he said, “No, really.” Can I even tell you how much I love that man? 
 
Laughter therapy is an actual treatment in many medical centers throughout the United States, including the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Research has proven that laughter is a natural medicine that can lift our spirits and help us feel more alive and empowered.  The impact on the body after an episode of laughter includes reduction of pain, decreased stress-related hormones and a boost in the immune system.
 
Probably the most important result of laughing is forgetting for that time about the cancer or illness that is trying to take your life. And in that process, your body is healing.  E.E. Cummings stated, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”  
 
Make a commitment to watch a funny movie tonight – I love What’s Up Doc or North Avenue Irregulars, but whatever tickles your funny bone, laugh out loud and get your body healing. ~ I only have one joke, so I hope you get it!  What goes ha, ha, thud?  A man laughing his head off.  Love you all.”
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