Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Michael Solomon”

Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #27: Now It’s Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters by Michael Solomon

I was one of five to receive this book as a review copy through Cannonball Read and I’m so behind on my reviews that, two months later, I’m finally writing about it. That…is embarrassing. Oops.

This book pretty much validated all of my fears about going to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor. I mean, no one really LIKES it, do they? But I get super freaked out, my blood pressure spikes, and I spend my entire waiting room stay worrying about all of the things that might possibly be wrong with me. WebMD doesn’t help.

Michael Solomon wrote this memoir as he was battling cancer and going through a divorce, all while living in NYC during 9/11, because just one of those things isn’t stressful enough. The Universe is a total dick sometimes. Solomon went to the doctor one day for something routine and came away from that experience with cancer. Now, I know, I KNOW, that going to the doctor didn’t GIVE him cancer, but before he went, he had no idea he had it, no health problems whatsoever, so you can’t entirely convince me that going to the doctor DOESN’T give you cancer, OK? Such is the logic of my brain. And maybe your brain, too. Brain twins!

Anyway. Solomon delivers the details of this experience, gory and otherwise, with irreverent humor and he doesn’t shy away from talking about what most people would consider embarrassing moments. My guess is (and I really can only guess here), once you’ve had and beaten cancer, you are left with a general “who fucking cares?” attitude about such things. Because, you know what? YOU BEAT CANCER. FUCK WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS. You have earned the right to talk about almost pooping yourself on the sidewalk of NYC (true story) all you want.

Solomon states in the beginning that he wrote this book as the story was happening, which shows. There’s not a whole lot of the soul searching that seems like might come at the end of such a battle (though, I can’t speak from experience, obviously) and I believe that comes from the author not having quite removed himself from the experience quite yet. And who could blame him? That kind of thing could take decades to sort through. Having read this, however, I’m glad Solomon didn’t take decades to write it. I felt almost as if I were reading someone’s private journal, which I suppose I was, and I can’t say that was a bad thing. Especially since I was given permission.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #2 – Now it’s Funny – How I Survived Cancer, Divorce, and Other Looming Disasters

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 this 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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