After neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, of California, received a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer in May 2013, he began to write about his illness, and the process of being sick, as a patient rather than a doctor.
“When Breath Becomes Air,” published 10 months after Dr. Kalanithi’s death in March 2015, captures the essence of life and living from a scientific perspective.
But it is the young husband and father’s attempt to answer the question, “What makes a life worth living?” that touches the soul. Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, Paul’s widow, wrote the epilogue for the book, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
She remains engaged in writing and speaking, at a national level, about caregiving, end-of-life care, bereavement, resilience and meaning in medicine.