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Faced by Cancer at 36, Dr. Paul Kalanithi Did Not Step Back from Inspiring Others and Smiled till His Last Day

Life in itself is a gift. It is restored by the doctors when it goes out of balance. Giving life back to so many patients, it is sometimes hard for a doctor to accept that he or she is also a recipient of the gift of life which can be cruelly snatched away from them, too, anytime. Well, the boon of life comes with the bane of uncertainty and that’s the reality. But Dr. Paul Kalanithi didn't lose his positivity when he was faced by such a situation.

36-year-old US based Indian American, Paul Kalanithi was a doctor who was just 15 months away from becoming a neurosurgeon. Though he gave a tough competition to his co-doctors and fellow mates, it was death that hurtled him down with its heaviest blow – stage IV lung cancer. There was no hope for a treatment and the only thing that Kalanithi could do was to wait for his own end.

As a memoir to the life that he had and led, Kalanithi started writing a beautiful book, ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ after his diagnosis. In his book he pens down his struggles in becoming a successful neurosurgeon, his married life, his most precious belonging – his daughter and the disease that ultimately brought him to his end.

He writes, “As a doctor, I knew not to declare ‘Cancer is a battle I’m going to win!’ or ask, ‘Why me?’ (Answer: why NOT me?)”. The postive energy within him gave him the strength to live the last days of his life in tranquility, spending most of his time with his lovely daughter and wife and writing his inspirational book.  

It was at this time of his life that he could not find an answer to his father’s consolations, that he is strong enough to fight out of this. He thought of the times when his patients’ loved ones too consoled them in the same way, when they were ill and were waiting for their treatment to get started.    

Though Kalanithi was devoured by death before he could finish his book, ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ became a huge success after its posthumous publication and went on to become New York’s bestseller for the whole year. The postivity that he had in himself reflected in each page of his book making it a token of inspiration to everyone from the late young doctor.


Source: Hindustan Times

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