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Jeannie Gaffigan: How Family, Faith and Funny People Helped Her Heal From a Brain Tumor

,, | September 24, 2019 | By


Catholic comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan is quick to say that he doesn't do anything alone. His partner in creating and producing (both entertainment and five children) is wife Jeannie Gaffigan -- but the spring of 2017, he nearly lost her.

Jeannie was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor known as papilloma of the choroid plexus. Although the growth was benign, the nine-hour surgery to remove the tumor in April 2017 was extremely risky -- and the recovery was long and difficult.

Here's the couple discussing it last summer on Inside Edition:

Now, Gaffigan has written a book about her experiences, called When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith and Funny People. Here's how the publisher describes it:

In a book that is The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat, Jeannie Gaffigan, writer/director/producer/accused supermom and wife of bestselling author/comedian Jim Gaffigan, writes with humor and heart about the pear-sized brain tumor she had removed, the toll it took on her enormous family, and the priceless lessons she learned along the way.

n 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids-6 if you include her husband-sat in the neurosurgery department in star-covered sweats too whimsical for the seriousness of the situation, all she could think was "Am I going to die?"

Thankfully, Jeannie and her family were able to survive their time of crisis, and now she is sharing her deeply personal journey through this miraculous story: the challenging conversations she had with her children; how she came to terms with feeling powerless and ferociously crabby while bedridden and unable to eat for a month; and how she ultimately learned, re-learned and re re-learned to be more present in life.

With sincerity and hilarity, Jeannie invites you into her heart (and brain) during this trying time, emphasizing the importance of family, faith and humor as keys to her recovery and leading a more fulfilling life.

The title is obviously a play on the common phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," but also on a British expression about things going "pear-shaped," which means everything's gone all wrong.

Today, CatholicTV posted a Skype interview with Gaffigan, who appeared on This Is the Day with Bishop Robert Reed. Among the topics was the hope and inspiration she received from facing her surgery during Eastertide, which ran from April 1 to May 20, 2018.

Click here to watch more CatholicTV; and here to learn more about Gaffigan's book, which comes out on Oct. 1 and is available for pre-order.

Also, click here to see what I thought of Jim Gaffigan's latest comedy special, Quality Time, available on Amazon Prime.

Image: Grand Central Publishing/Hatchette Book Group

Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions.

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