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Caring Magazine – September Issue

Living and Laughing with Cancer, A Comedian’s Journey
by The Humor Institute with Dave Fitzgerald


Reviewer’s Choice

There are few resources with personal stories of cancer survivors that incorporate humor into something as serious as cancer. This video is one of those resources. Dave Fitzgerald is a professional comedian from Boston who has toured with the USO to over forty-five countries. He is also a cancer survivor. Mr. Fitzgerald decided to make this video of his personal journey from cancer diagnosis and surgery through recovery. He wanted to share his experiences to encourage and, perhaps, inspire other cancer patients and their families.

The well-produced video begins with Mr. Fitzgerald relating his experience and emotional reaction to his diagnosis of bladder cancer. He does this in very appropriate, humorous anecdotes. He tells about his recovery from removal of a cancerous bladder and says he that he wanted so much to see something inspirational and funny to watch while in the hospital. It was then that he got the idea for the video. He wanted to do something to help others in the same situation. He believes that humor is medicine, and that it plays a significant role in the healing process.

The video continues with scenarios about how cancer patients should try to spend time focusing on other things besides their cancer. There is much attention given to how patients can cope with their diagnoses and even help their families cope by giving them direction. By this he means asking them to help in specific ways. Other messages in this video include how important it is for the patient to be involved in the decisions about treatment options; how essential it is to find a spiritual place within oneself for strength and solace that asking a higher power for a little help can help begin the recovery process; and how important it is to keep living life.

Living and Laughing with Cancer is not meant to be an entertainment video. Humor is used very effectively and appropriately in the production to get the message to people that a cancer diagnosis does not have to mean death; that the joys of simple things in life can help heal, not cure. This video would be a wonderful addition to a patient education resource library in outpatient and inpatient settings. Nurses, nurse practitioners, oncologists, surgeons, and general practice physicians and practitioners should know about this resource for their patients. The video provides a powerful and practical message. Living and Laughing with Cancer received 2nd place at the WorldFest Houston Film Festival in the category: Medical Treatments and Procedures.

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