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The Diagnosis
In 1993 Saranne gave birth to Lauriel. "I was breastfeeding," she says. "One duct wasn't draining." Over a period of 18 months, Saranne's internist, general surgeon, and endocrinologist all kept reassuring her that what she had was merely an infection. Four and a half years later, a lump poked up that was visible through her shirt. "I went to a new doctor and said, 'Say it isn't so.'"

It was so. Saranne had an aggressive, stage 2 carcinoma.

"All I could think was, I gotta get to Blockbuster and get every comedy tape they have," she says. "I've got to laugh. If it worked for Norman Cousins, I might as well start right now."

In 1964 Cousins, then editor of the Saturday Review, was diagnosed with ankylosing him a one in 500 chance of full recovery. Cousins checked out of the hospital and into a hotel. He watched Candid Camera, laughed himself silly, saw his symptoms slowly disappear. He lived another 26 years. (Studies by Lee Berk, associate director of the Center for Neuroimmunology at Loma Linda University, support laughter's benefits, though no one claims it's a panacea.)


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