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Mindful : October 2013
hahaha wellness October 2013 mindful 61 Even if we hurt, maybe especially if we hurt, it helps to laugh. By Elaine Smookler Photographs by Helen Tansey “Do you know why you’re here?” the efficient orderly asked, looking down at his chart. “Breast lift and tummy tuck,“ I said without a pause. He stopped writing and searched nervously through papers on his clipboard. “I’m just kidding,” I said. “I’m here for cancer sur- gery.” He looked surprised, then laughed a nd said there usually wasn’t a lot of joking around in pre-op. Strange, I thought. I guess not everyone thinks cancer is funny. Three months before that, I was sitting on my porch ponder- ing my mortality (in the way you can when it’s a beautiful day and nothing much else is going on) when the phone rang. I reluctantly stubbed out my cigarette and thought: I really need to quit. I should know better. I do know better. I will know → The Best Medicine Actor, comedian, playwright, and mindfulness teacher Elaine Smookler decided to face her diagnosis of uterine cancer the way she faces everything in life: with a sense of humor. Her book, Killers, Coffins and Cadavers: A Humorous Guide to Death and Dying, will be available this fall.