[For one of her Monthly Musings, Elsa shares how gaming helped her get through some difficult surgeries, and how recent research is showing that gaming may actually be a valid medical treatment. Want to post your own article on this month's topic? Publish it now on our community blogs. - JRo]
I was a first year University student when they first found the cancer. An operation removed the tumor but I was informed that it would likely recur and that my chances for having children diminished each year. At that time in life I wasn't prepared to be a single mother with no husband, in school, starting a career... so having a baby had to wait. Further minor surgeries followed and the waiting went on. Unfortunately, by the time I finally found the right guy that I wanted to have babies with, it was no longer a physical possibility and that final surgery was then done to remove the cancer and all hopes of ever bearing children. Also unfortunately, the cancer had spread to another part of my body and thus began the routine of surgeries every 2 to 5 years to keep it in check and even possibly, to not have it recur.
Overall, video gaming is proving to be a wonderful form of "escape" from pain. More studies are being done, but patient feedback is the strongest force in proving the effects, and as pain is such a subjective thing, this may be the best we can hope for in terms of scientific proof. Video game systems are increasingly being used in hospitals, dental clinics and various other institutions. From my own experience, gaming has not only provided a wonderful distraction from the pain of recovery, but additionally it has given me a positive outlook when I know that I have to endure another surgery. That waiting time before a procedure is now filled with buying games, planning which games I"ll play... and even looking forward to having an excuse to sit and play games till all hours of the night to avoid those sleepless hours of thinking about how uncomfortable I am. The immersive distraction of video games provides a much needed escape from very real pain. For myself, gaming through pain made me much less dependent on the drugs and even brings a small measure of joy to a short lived but miserable time that I know I have to endure.
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