When serious illness strikes the young, we are often drawn to their story while feeling thankful a different fate awaits us. Such was how I felt when I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow, and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
In Pausch’s book, the authors focused on big life lessons after Pausch was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer while Kalanithi’s book focused on how he spent the limited amount of time he had left, which included living in the moment with the people – his wife, daughter, parents, brothers, friends, and colleagues – who made his life meaningful, after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 37. Read more
When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.
Paul Kalanithi graduated from Stanford with a BA and an MA in English Literature and a BA in Biology. He also earned a MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge before attending and graduating from the Yale School of Medicine. He returned to Stanford to do an 8-year residency in neurosurgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience. In his seventh year of residency in May, 2013, 36-year old Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer – an illness that rarely strikes young men (he notes that only 0.0012 percent of 36-year olds get lung cancer). Read more