Live, Laugh, and Keep Laughing

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Mike Quinn

As CF patients, we are often told by our healthcare team that we need to do certain things to keep ourselves healthy and live longer: “You need to take your pills, you need to do your breathing treatments, you need to do your airway clearance, you need to eat more calories”. Sound familiar? I thought as much. While all these things are necessary for every CF patient to do, It’s my belief that there is a medicine that everyone needs, CF patient or not, that is debatably the most important of them all. That medicine is, of course, laughter.

Did that cliché make you cringe? If so, I don’t blame you, but hear me out! As a seasoned CF veteran I’m well equipped to explain exactly why this platitude is actually based entirely in truth. If you haven’t already discerned at this point, I do in fact have CF, and, like all CF patients, I’ve had my share of struggles and then some. I’ve had plenty of unpleasant hospital admissions, multiple abdominal surgeries, an ileostomy, an autoimmune muscular dystrophy, and, as my body frequently reminds me much like every infomercial on late night TV does, “But wait, there’s more!” I tell you this not because I want recognition for the hardship, but because it’s important to understand that what I have to say comes from a place of experience and understanding, not blind optimism.

People ask me all the time “How do you do it? How can you be so positive after all that you have been through?” I always tell them that I take everything one day at a time and I take the time to enjoy the little things. For me, one of the little things I always make sure to do is find a way to laugh in every situation I can. Whether I’m cracking jokes with the docs and nurses, laughing at the dinner table with my family, or being the butt of every joke with my friends (thanks guys), I love to laugh as much as can.

There is no way I would have been able to get through those experiences and come out the same person I am today if I hadn’t had a few, or more accurately, many laughs along the way. When you’re a CF patient, you spend so much time being just that, a patient, and it’s easy to forget to be a person. Laughing helps us remember that we are more than just patients and it helps remind us to be ourselves.

Perhaps the best illustration of my point came from when I was 17 and lying in the hospital bed with 25 staples in my stomach. A few of my closest friends came to visit me and were determined to do whatever it took to cheer me up. After what I’m sure was a long period of comic deliberation, they settled on playing a stand up comedian for me. The bit they chose to lead with was about the comedian’s experience in an emergency room and the perils of being admitted to a hospital, which was clearly quite relevant and admittedly very funny. It seemed all fun and games to everyone until they realized that, as it was playing, I was in terrible pain from trying not to laugh too much because of the staples that were holding me together. This unfortunate oversight in turn made all of us laugh even harder, much to the chagrin of my stomach. All these years later, I still remember what the pain felt like, however, I remember even more vividly how good it felt to laugh and see the smiles on my friends faces. It’s also collectively our favorite story to tell to anyone who will listen when we all get together.

A moment of laughter can be a time where you can leave all your troubles behind. No matter how brief the moment may be, it can still make you feel good enough that it makes the next moment that much easier. You could be having the worst day and finding a way to laugh could turn it all around. Don’t get me wrong, not every bad situation can be cured by laughing. There will be days where even the thought of ever being happy again seems foreign to you, but if you keep an open mind and let yourself enjoy a good laugh every now and then, I promise you, you will feel better.

Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-

              

 

 

Mike Quinn is 26 years old fighting the good fight with cystic fibrosis. He lives in Yarmouth, Maine and works remotely for a privately-owned software company which allows him to really focus on his health and work simultaneously. He loves to stay active by doing CrossFit, ultimate frisbee and snowboarding. He loves to spend his downtime playing video games, watching shows on Netflix and, of course, laughing with his friends.

 

 

 

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***Views expressed on the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation***

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