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Cannonball Read IV: Now It's Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters by Michael Solomon

By Captain Tuttle | Book Reviews | August 24, 2012 | Comments ()


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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.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it, and find more of Captain Tuttle's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • denesteak

    This is me stating the obvious but it's always so awesome when the author comments.

  • blorft

    My new(ish) job involves working with cancer survivors, so I'm definitely reading this up for some unacademic insight. Thanks for the review!

  • Captain_Tuttle

    buell, I'm sorry your mom is going through this. I definitely think reading this book will help. And thank you Michael for chiming in!

  • buell

    My mom is going through her 3rd round of chemo with radiation treatments for stage 3, small cell, lung cancer right now. Not sure if I could handle reading this book right now but will add it to my future read list.

  • Michael

    Hi there. It's Michael, the author of the book. I saw your comment and wanted to let you know that of course everyone's different, but a lot of patients have told me they found the book helpful while they underwent their treatments, partly because there's some useful information that only another patient can convey, and also because it just helps to laugh. I read Norman Cousins' book when I was in treatment. He recommended watching puppy videos (believe it or not, it's not a bad idea). Best of luck to you and your Mom with treatment!

  • buell

    Thank you! And now I will be getting your book for my momma and I to read during the rest of her treatments. I'd love to see her smile return.

  • karen

    extra crunchy bonus the author chimes in? This book will be purchased.

  • dsbs42

    I hadn't heard of this book before your review, and you've made it sound incredibly intriguing. Thanks for the head's up!

  • karen

    Great review. I might need to give this book to a friend.

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