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Come to Bookey Book Summary to unlock more content.
After many years of hard study and medical practice, Paul finally caught a glimpse of his own Promised Land. He was poised to receive a tenure-track professorship and a chance to start his own neuroscience lab from the Stanford University School of Medicine. At that moment, he joined the 0.12 unlucky people out of every ten thousand who contracts lung cancer before the age of 36. From then on, he began to explore the truth behind death as a doctor and a patient. While we listen in to this bookey, Paul, its author, has already passed away. His breath has turned into air, yet the courage he possessed in the face of death lives on.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book When Breath Becomes Air.
For every ten thousand people in the modern world, of those under the age of 36, only 0.12 will contract lung cancer. The book?s author Paul Kalanithi happened to be one of this tiny unfortunate minority. At Stanford University, Kalanithi attained dual honors in his Bachelor?s degree in English literature and human biology. He went on to earn a Master of Philosophy in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Finally, at the Yale School of Medicine, his stellar research was acknowledged with a PhD. During his six to seven years of residency, he worked a hundred hours a week. For his efforts in this period of intensive research, the American Academy of Neurological Surgery acknowledged him with their highest award. In short, at Stanford University, he was hailed as one of the most gifted doctors. However, in his final year of residency, as he was poised to receive a tenure-track professorship as well as an opportunity to head his own neuroscience lab at Stanford University School of Medicine, Kalanithi was denied the time to savor the fruits of his years of hard labor. He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and forced to confront his mortality.
Death itself is not shocking but having life snatched away prematurely often leaves people with a tragic sense of regret. From the moment when a person is diagnosed with cancer, they will inevitably yearn to set the clock back and live their life again. Yet, a fact is a fact. Going back to the old life, as well as the future that one imagined, is now seen to be nothing more than extravagant dreams. What should one do in this predicament? Merely wait for death to come? No. Paul Kalanithi decided to continue living as he would have lived had he not been given his tumultuous cancer diagnosis. The Paul of the past had wanted a child. After much deliberation, a post-cancer Paul made the same decision to extend his family, even if this might make saying goodbye even more excruciating.
Paul had always regarded medicine to be his life-long mission. After his diagnosis, Paul went back to the operating theatre whenever his physical condition allowed. Paul had always wanted to write. So, despite suffering intense physical pain from his condition, he propped himself up and forced his weakened frame to write ceaselessly. And finally, he completed When Breath Becomes Air. Although cancer had the effect of accelerating Paul?s life to its end, he remained faithful to his heart?s desires. He kept asking himself what was meaningful, what was truly important. Then, he channeled all his remaining strength and spirit into those enterprises.
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