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Cancer on $5 a Day* *(chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life Hardcover – February 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schimmel already had a hit HBO stand-up comedy special and a Stand-Up of the Year title from the American Comedy Awards when, in the spring of 2000, he was diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. His world changed instantly; success in the raunchy joke trade-he also had an edgy FOX series in development-was replaced by the struggle for survival, the rigors of chemotherapy and all the fear and uncertainty that goes with it. Schimmel also looks back on his son, whom he lost not long before to brain cancer. Among a crowded field of inspiring and straight-talking personal survival stories, Schimmel's conversational account is particularly ribald, emphasizing the importance a sense of humor can play in coping, learning and healing.
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Review

"It's engrossing and dark, with touches you'd expect from the rough-edged, ribald comic."--"San Diego Union Tribune" "A dark look at facing death--but one with plenty of laughter, which, of course, is the best medicine."--"Springfield Republican " "Raw, moving, inspiring and very, very funny."--"Hooters" "If you like to laugh, this is the book to read...Schimmel is funny in a wonderfully irreverent way about something anyone can identify with--a complete loss of control...Schimmel is advancing cancer education as well as finding ways to make a horrific experience something to laugh about."--"Cure"

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738211583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738211589
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Katz on March 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I heard Robert Schimmel on Stern last week and picked up this book before a flight. I was familiar with Schimmel's humor so I got a lot of what I expected (and wanted) in the book.

What I didnt expect, but loved, was the humanity and compassion Schimmel shows for fellow patients, family and friends through his fight with cancer. He clearly states the importance of both selfishness and selflessness to get him through this darkest hour. Most of all, he relies on humor and an open mind to get him and his posse through his harrowing experience with chemo.

The takeaway is multi-layered, but bottom line, a positive attitude and a great support network clearly help Schimmel Lick the Big C.

Hope to get to see him do stand up some day, I am sure his show contains the passion he won through his hard fought victory over cancer.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DougA on March 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that is an easy weekend read, but it is so powerfully written that it stays with you for a long time. The book mirrors Schimmel's style of comedy: brutally honest, no punches pulled, sarcastic and defiant. Even as you're reading this book, you get the feeling you're on the ride with him.

You don't really read this book, you absorb it. You wear it; not like a coat, but more like a second skin. That skin crawls when Schimmel describes the seemingly unabated misery associated with the chemo treatments. That skin frosts over when you and Robert get the news that he's got non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And that skin gets goosebumps as you emerge from the depths of despair right along side Robert.

It's a cliche, but Schimmel never does lose his sense of humor. Not only did he not lose his humor, he refused to let those around him lose theirs. That's the definition of a hero. Sure, there's probably a dash of his own self-preservation cooked in there as well, but he refused to become completely selfish even when his doctors told him that's what he had to do to survive. Even if it meant his own death, he was committed to making this experience less impactful on those he cared about -- and even some people met during treatment.

As for the ending, well, I'm going to let you experience that for yourself. Nobody ruined it for me and I envy you your first time reading of it as well. I will say this of the ending: if you don't get tears in your eyes at the end of this book, hold a mirror under your nose to see if you're still breathing.

Get this book and thank me later.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JACK BUTLER on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Robert's comedy and when I saw him on Conan's show, I immediately ordered a copy of his book. I think I laughed out loud on every page for the first half of the book. The second hundred pages had plenty of Robert's wonderful humor, but also moments that brought tears. He is quite a comedian and quite a human being. I definitely recommend his book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Jackson VINE VOICE on March 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an admirer of Schimmel's humor, I came to really respect him for this honest and humour filled portrayel of his journey through the hell of cancer, coming through it with his humor intact and his appreciation for life very much expanded. Having taken this journey with two siblings , one of thm losing the battle, I totally agree with every word in here. I do not regret one minute of the time and energy expended, knowing that they would do the same for me. People thought we were strange laughing together and always seeing the absurd side of the experience, I once told my terminally ill sister, "No one can say no to you now, Run with it!" his book is a must read for anyone who is or might become a cancer patient.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eileen C. Straub on March 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Buy this book!!! It is a inspiration---totally life-enhancing. Mr. Schimmel's humor is a God-given gift, one which he shares with the world in this book! What an achievement. My mother lost her battle to non-hodgkins lymphoma which interested me in this book---but I was unprepared to find myself dissolving into tears of LAUGHTER reading a cancer survivor's story. Sir, you are a visionary and your book is a gift and an asset to this world. Thank you for writing it and God bless you and yours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Edmiston TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book Saturday morning after hearing of Bob Schimmel's death. What a shame and what a loss for his family and fans.

I've always loved Bob Schimmel's stand up routines on Sirius XM. That's just about the only place you can hear them, because his bits are way too nasty for any other media.

I had heard that he had beat cancer, survived a heart attack, and had made it through some very difficult times in his personal life. It made the news that much more stunning that he had died in an auto accident, and even worse so when I heard that one of his daughters was driving. I can't even imagine her pain.

So that's the backdrop for this book. I downloaded this book to my Kindle so I could start reading right away. It was hard to read his personal account of survival knowing that the book's end was very different than his life's end.

The book was part torture and part delicious. I'm just a regular guy, but a book has never made me laugh so hard and never made me cry in public. I finished the book early Monday morning while pretending to shop at an outlet mall with my wife. I recommend a less public setting.

So what's the book about? It's no secret, as the title puts it right out there. Bob learns he has non-Hodgekins Lymphoma (sp??). This book is his personal account from diagnosis, through grueling treatment, and all the way to remission. Although he uses his comedy to cope with his disease and tries to help other patients and professionals, the treatment is brutal and he can't just laugh his way through it.

There's nothing funny about cancer or what he and his fellow patients went through. How he dealt with it and how he retold it was pretty doggone funny--hysterical really.
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