Laughing through your cancer journey

6:27 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- You lose a lot of things while going through cancer treatments: Your hair, your appetite, and in some cases even, your sense of humor.

Finding it again can be therapeutic and there's a writing workshop at Gilda's Club that is helping cancer survivors tell their often funny stories of cancer survival.

Group leader Barb Coteis encourages cancer survivors to write about their humorous cancer journey experiences.

"At the time it's not so funny. It hits you like a slug in the stomach. But later on when you're sitting around a table with people who have gone through a similar thing and you share that it helps you get a grip on it and go on," says  Coteis.

A 14.5 year breast cancer survivor and creative writer, Barb shares her stories of wardrobe malfunctions and breast tattoos.

"It was very foreign to me to be in this situation and your body is very foreign to you. It's hairless. it's weak. It's got new bulges and wrinkles in places that weren't there before," says  Coteis. 

Once she learned to look back and laugh, she found herself enjoying her journey and she wants to help other survivors find that same peace through humor and writing.

"Some of it is nonsensical. It's just ridiculous and you feel ridiculous in the situation while you're also feeling humiliated at the same time."

But once you realize you're not alone, laughing about your experiences can be the best medicine.

During LaughFest there is a special writer's workshop for anyone who wants to learn how to write about their cancer journey.

When: March 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Haworth Interphase on Monroe Center
Cost: $30

The Gilda's Club Laughter Workshop is held twice a month on Tuesdays.

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