Monday, November 21, 2016

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi 

A 37 year old physician turned patient, Resident Neurosurgeon from Stanford, graduation in line. He almost reached the heights he professionally wanted to. Loving wife, nearing graduation as Neurosurgeon, splendid career opportunities in line.

His life took a turn when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It closed the doors to all of his dreams. He was left with only 2 choices, to live through the life, or LIVE the life. He opted the later, and time became even more meaningful for him.

A heartbreaking, heartwarming, fascinating memoir of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, his refusal to give in to the cancer, fight against it, his loving relation with his wife, infant daughter, family and friends, his passion for career. It just breaks your heart to know that, even after working against all odds to become eligible for graduation, on the day of graduation, he was hospitalized with severe illness and missed it. There are other situations that makes us feel helpless.

What a beautiful and contentful life!!!, Though short lived, he lived to the fullest and died on his own terms with great dignity. When it's time to leave, he gracefully said "I am ready" and embraced the destiny.

It's such a memorable book, that haunts you for a while, and stay with you for long. You feel that you know that person very closely. Reminded me of Randy Pausch's Last lecture. The major difference in this book is that you get to know and hear the other person (wife), who traveled in this journey along with them.

 Paul was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2013, and died in March 2015. By the time he died the book is only a draft version. The book was completed with an epilogue by his wife Dr. Lucy Kalanithi and published in June 2015. Lucy's epilogue is equally beautiful and heartbreaking.

ఓ మోరీ, ఓ రేండీ , ఓ పాల్ ... అప్పుడప్పుడూ మనకోసం భూమి మీద పుట్టి, జీవితాన్ని జీవించండర్రా బ్రతకడం కాదు అని చెప్పిపోతుంటారు. ఓ నాల్గురోజులు మన మీద ప్రభావం చూపించినా మళ్ళీ మన కథ మామూలే. మన పరుగులు మనవే. అయితే అప్పుడప్పుడూ ఇలాంటి అరుదయిన వ్యక్తుల గురించి తెలుసుకోగలగటమూ అపురూపమే.