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

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"Robert Schimmel always made me laugh. Now he makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Cancer on $5 a Day is a true testament to laughter and the power of the creative spirit."--Billy Crystal

"Watching Robert's journey through the loss of a child and his own health issues while constantly maintaining a filthy sense of humor makes him truly inspirational. A very important read."--Howie Mandel

"Despite continuing scientific advances, the mind-body connection has never been more important. Robert Schimmel's humanity, humor, and positive energy in his book are tools all patients can use to complement modern medicine in their fight against cancer."--Leland Green, M.D., Attending Oncologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

"Robert Schimmel is a funny man. He hasn't had a funny life, however. Hearing Robert's story and how he has used his gift of humor to conquer personal challenge is truly remarkable. He inspires us all to try a therapeutic laugh in our lives."--Dr. Lawrence D. Piro, M.D., President and CEO, The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute

Customer Reviews:

  • Pure Schimmel
    As is usually the case with Schimmel's humor everything "affects" him. From earlier in his career to present he has always been the fall guy. Now, with not only comedic drama in his life but a very real medical dilemma, he is still the fall guy. However, this time it's not funny, it's for real!
    Schimmel turns his cancer into a poignant story loaded with humor as only he can see it. It's a viewpoint that many would like to have, but usually fail to see humor in desparate situations.
    He also demonstrates his feelings for others and his continued support for others. Truly a gentleman and best friend....more info
  • Robert Schimmel is brilliant!
    I must first say I have not bought the book yet and since it came out yesterday it is impossible to review it but I am buying it this week and I'm seeing Schimmel's stand up in NYC this weekend. I am confident that this book will be great because he is an amazing comic and he incorporates his fight against cancer very well into his act. I'm looking forward to this read....more info
  • You don't read this book, you wear it
    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....more info
  • humanity via humor
    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....more info
  • Smiles...Tears....and more Smiles
    This is a very uplifting read on a gloomy topic. Hopefully you know Robert Schimmel from his Stand-up comedy act. I've seen Robert's comedy show 5 or 6 times, and consider myself to be one who recruits new fans to his shows whenever he comes to St. Louis.
    I bought this book after one of Robert's appearances on the Howard Stern show. I thought this would be a good book to read on vacation on the beach.
    So, here I am sitting on the beach, nice breeze, cocktail ready....I started to tear up after reading the first few paragraphs. What am I doing reading something sad on the beach???? I kept going and am glad I did. I couldn't put the book down. I couldn't wait to read the next word.
    It was almost as if Robert was on stage telling us this whole story.

    I would assume everybody has experienced a loss due to cancer or some other disease. I certainly have. This book walks you through the routine, highs/lows, emotions of that those afflicted go through.....Robert speaks almost as your relative, co-worker, or friend you may have lost.

    Thanks Robert! I can't wait to see you!...more info
  • Have not read yet, but...
    I just watched him on Conan O'Brien' show and he was just too funny. I came here to mark this book to purchase later.

    I do agree, wholeheartedly, with his message. Laughing will do wonders for someone going though anything difficult, whether it is a serious disease or just plain life. Besides knowing it's scientifically true, I have realized this for myself, and I try to watch something funny everyday, as a preventative measure. Granted, diseases can strike any of us at any moment, but humor must be part of our health plan. When I forget to laugh my body and mind complain and the whole world takes up a very somber light.

    I will be reading this book. Thanks adding humor to a serious topic, Robert. It's a great contribution....more info
  • Great Book - Laughing and Crying!
    I really enjoyed this book. I heard Robert on the radio in Kansas City and ordered the book. I thought it was a great story - very real and also hilarious at the same time. It had me laughing and crying from page to page. I would highly recommend it....more info
  • Bravo Mr. Schimmel and Thank you!!!
    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....more info
  • Incredible
    A great example of not giving in to the dispair surrounding what had to be percieved a death sentence by keeping laughter in his heart. Amazing....more info
  • Schimmel with Inspiration
    I first saw Schimmel before his first CD came out and followed his meteoric rise until he dropped off the map. This book begins where "we" left off. It is intelligently written, has all of the Schimmel wit and charm and manages to make you laugh at his trials and tribulations. I will say that if someone is about to go through Chemo, it is both encouraging but challenging with sometimes graphic description of the experience. Robert - What do you do for an encore? (Can't imagine another round of chemo is worth a book deal.)...more info
  • A transparent soul of a cynic covering a loving heart
    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....more info
  • More laughs than tears but plenty of both.
    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....more info
  • Funny, touching, and inspirational
    Last night my husband and I attended Robert Schimmel's show at our local comedy club. We have been fans for a long time and this was our first time seeing him live. After the show, we purchased his book and got his autograph. His live show is outstanding. Funny, yet touching, very similar to his book. With some spare time today, I read Mr. Schimmel's book and loved it. For anyone that has been touched by cancer in some way, and unfortunately most of us have, this book will be interesting and inspiring. Even for those who have no experience with it, it's a great read with tons of funny stuff that makes you laugh out loud as you hear about his journey through cancer. If you are in the mood for inspiration and laughs from a truly great guy, this is a book for you. It is a quick read but really makes you stop and think about the bigger picture in life... all coming from a comic who tells some pretty dirty stories in his standup routine. Enjoy!...more info
  • Schimmel Finds Humor in a Possible Death Sentence.
    In many ways, Robert Schimmel is the Lenny Bruce of our times. After experiencing his performance at the Denver Comedy Works this past weekend, I read this memoir chronicling his deeply-personal, life-and-death battle with Stage III non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Bob is a stand-up comedian best known for his controversial sexual material and self-deprecating sense of humor, his HBO performances, and his appearances on The Howard Stern Show. His edgy style has gotten him into plenty of trouble. The networks are afraid of him, he confessed during his show. He joked about getting banned from Late Night with Conan O'Brien almost getting banned from The Hollywood Squares for making sexual jokes about Louie Anderson.

    Cancer on $5 a Day tells the story of Schimmel's treatment and recovery following his cancer diagnoses in June, 2000. Bob was no stranger to cancer. He lost his son, Derek, to brain cancer at age 11. At the time of his diagnosis, Bob had just received the Stand-Up of the Year Award, and he was about to commence work on a new sitcom. His memoir reveals how Schimmel never lost his edgy sense of humor through this dark period of his life. He continued to laugh, even in the face of death, while receiving treatment at Mayo Clinic infusion center in Scottsdale. Even as his hair was falling out, Bob bantered with wig salesmen, inquiring about the possibility of a wig for his pubic area. The ultimate point of Schimmel's memoir is that, without a strong sense of humor during the tough times in life, you're pretty much f***ed (as he would say).

    After his recent performance, Bob told me his battle with cancer changed his perspective on material possessions and the LA lifestyle. Although his doctors told him he would never have children again, Bob married his wife Melissa, and they have since had two children. Schimmel's inspirational survival story will make readers laugh and cry at the same time. Only a comic genius like Bob Schimmel could find so much humor in a possible death sentence. Recommended.

    G. Merritt ...more info
  • Laughter HELPS!!!
    This is a wonderful book to give to anyone fighting cancer. Well written, funny, and uplifting!!!...more info
  • Bob, you are truly an inspiration
    I must say, this is the best book I have read in a very long time. I am a big fan of comedy and a big fan of Robert Schimmel. I got this book after seeing Bob at Comedy Works in Denver. He gladly signed it after the show. He is a very down to earth guy who really appreciates his fans. He is in my opinion one of the greatest comedians of all time, and the story of how he dealt with cancer is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I have never been so entertained and so touched at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a good sense of humor. It does get a little raunchy (hey, cmon! It's Schimmel!), but you will close this book with a laugh on your lips, a tear in your eye, and hope in your heart. I would give this book 10 stars if I could!...more info
  • first book I read in years
    I am not your typical book reader ,but after finding a book about your favorite comedian I could not resist.This was litterally the first book I read in over 20 years.I loved the book and was well entertained.I now have a more insight on how Robert's last decade really was....more info