Cannonball Read IV: Now It's Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters by Michael Solomon
Michael Solomon went through quite a lot during the early 2000s. The year he turned 40, he saw a doctor about a colonoscopy. Not for fun, but because his family had a pretty serious history of colon cancer, and his dad had been bugging him for years. During his visit with the doctor, the doctor randomly said "you should get a chest x-ray too." Michael avoided the colonoscopy itself for months (for obvious reasons), but decided that the chest x-ray wouldn't be that big a deal. And it wasn't. Until it was.
A week later, his doctor calls him. At 9 o'clock at night. You know that it's not going to be a happy call when your doctor calls you that late. There is something small, probably not alarming, and he should have a CT scan just to be on the safe side. The good news was that the small thing on the x-ray was nothing, but they found something in the other lung, and maybe something on his liver, too. So it's off to the pulmonologist. After some more tests, needles, scans, and biopsies, many of which sound awful and painful, it's official: lymphoma. Now he has to tell everyone, including his 6-year old son, and decide what he wants to do. Chemo? Radiation? Surgery?
I won't go into the details of his treatment, which is frustrating and often painful. While he's going through cancer treatment, Michael's marriage is ending. Oh, and September 11, 20o1 happens. I don't know if he dealt with all of this with the humor and aplomb he describes at the time it was happening, but according to the introduction, he wrote most of this book while he was having these experiences. Regardless, the re-telling is very funny and encouraging. It is possible to go through multiple traumas (traumae?), knowing that you could possibly die, and come out the other end stronger, and with your sense of humor intact.
I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that Solomon survives. It is clear that Now It's Funny is not your typical cancer memoir. Maybe it should be required reading for anyone dealing with a diagnosis. Solomon is honest about everything, even the embarrassing parts, the gross parts, and the parts where you think you can't go on. He did go on, lived to tell about it, and lived to make us laugh with him about it.
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