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At 35 years old, Paul Kalanithi's life was heading up. He was about to complete his neurosurgery residency at Stanford University, he was married, he had already received a master's degree in English, history and philosophy of science. He was being recruited by the top medical institutions in the country.
And then, the unexpected happened. Paul Kalanithi, who had never smoked, was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, stage IV.
He was forced to make the jump from doctor to patient and, after continuing to work for a few months, eventually turned to writing. Paul's ability to traverse between the languages of science and prose brought meaning to his friends, patients and, now, his readers.
In his memoir, "When Breath Becomes Air" published in January 2016, Paul works to understand both life and mortality.
In the memoir, Paul writes, "Before operating on a patient's brain...I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living, and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end."
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015. We spoke to his wife, Lucy Kalanithi, after the publication of Paul's memoir.
This segment aired on February 10, 2016.