Saturday, February 11, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

genre: non-fiction, memoir

Paul Kalanithi is nearly there - his training as a neurosurgeon-scientist is nearly complete - when he receives the crushing news: he has cancer.  The prognosis is not good.  And when faced with the choice to either throw up his hands and declare his life and effort a waste or to search deep and look for meaning in the seemingly meaningless, he chose the latter.  In this deeply moving memoir, he details his journey to becoming a surgeon, a husband, a player in the race that is modern medicine.  And while he's chosen to spend his career ushering patients from one kind of life into another - and possibly death - he now has to usher himself.  A much more painful and encompassing task.

I appreciate Paul's search for meaning.  I appreciate his depth of feeling and his honesty about really hard things.  I appreciate that he helped me to remember how important it is to live each day as though that actual day matters.  I appreciate how when I was finishing the epilogue by his wife, I wept, seeing his story for a moment through another set of eyes, weeping for the loss of a husband as well as for the loss to our human family of a curious and dedicated doctor.

Very well written.

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