Got Hope?

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I still have humor. I still have laughter. I still have joy!* I still have HOPE! I am determined to keep mine! How about you?

I believe that I have these because I have a purpose. Not just a sense of purpose, I know what my purpose is. I am happiest, most content, and, most productive, when I am “on purpose”. I discovered my purpose years ago using a method suggested by Ram Dass and outlined in my book, “Birthrights: Your Essence, Your Purpose, and Self-Esteem”.

And, I want to put in a special good word about hope. It is worth considering.


Per research at Texas A&M University, humor may significantly increase a person’s level of hope. “Laughter might be the best medicine for transforming the faintest of glimmers of hope into an eternal spring.”

Hope is getting in shorter and shorter supply these days. Many people are losing hope. Loss of hope can be fatal to your spirit and to your will to live.

Hope is vital to health and happiness. There have been scientific studies about the relationship between humor, laughter and hope. The evidence shows that humor & laughter increase hope, and this is a very good thing. Humor, laughter and hope are linked in us to create a force for LIFE. They are essential to a health and happiness.

Norman Cousins on Hope

The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life.
It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.

Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.

The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope.
That is why the patient’s hopes are the physician’s secret weapon.
They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription.

The Medical Uses of Hope
As I WAS EATING BREAKFAST one morning I overheard two oncologists discussing the papers
they were to present that day at the national meeting of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology. One was complaining bitterly.
“You know, Bob, I just don’t understand it. We used the same drugs, the same dosage, the
same schedule, and the same entry criteria. Yet I got a 22 % response rate and you got 74%.
That’s unheard of for metastatic lung cancer. How do you do it?”
“We’re both using Etoposide, Platinol, Oncovin, and Hydroxyurea. You call yours
EPOH. I tell my patients I’m giving them HOPE. Sure, I tell them this is experimental, and
we go over the long list of side effects together. But I emphasize that we have a chance. As
dismal as the statistics are for non-small cell, there are always a few percent
who do really well.”
“Aren’t you giving them false hope with that approach? What do you do if
they don’t respond?”
“Alan,” he said gently, “don’t you give them false despair when you stress only the side
effects of the treatment and the grimness of the prognosis? It’s not ethical to minimize those.
Neither is it fair to shut out the possibility of a good outcome. When patients have hope, they
are more motivated, they withstand the chemotherapy better. When they look to the future,
they may be afraid, but at least they have something to hold on to.
“Realistically, most will not survive the disease. I never promise cure. What I can offer,
however, is my pledge not to abandon them. I can help patients switch their goals from cure to
remission, from remission to control, and finally, from control to a death that is comfortable
and as meaningful as possible.”
My breakfast was over, and as I got up to leave, I thought, maybe I’ll give my patients a
little hope next time, too!
WILLIAM M. BUCHHOLZ, MD, Los Altos, California



Therapeutic Music

Here are some of the recordings that help me keep my hopeful perspective.

The Happiness Hour Theme Song 

Joy to the World

My Beautiful Balloon

The Time of My Life 

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now 

Laurel & Hardy Can’t Stop Laughing

Beethoven Ode to Joy 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Harry Connick, Jr., I Like It When You Smile

You might want to try billboard’s Top 20 Happy Songs of All Time 


Sending you LLLH- Love, Light, Laughter, and Hope!

Special THANKS to David Brown and Harmony Project Columbus for recently giving me a lifesaving transfusion of inspiration.