[New York Times] Winning first place for 12 weeks in a row, the hottest topic in the first half of 2016.
the last record of a 36-year-old doctor who impressed the world.
Thirty-six, the last year of a neurosurgery resident who is about to become a specialist. The fourth stage of lung cancer, which I encountered just when I felt like I could get the life I wanted after a harsh training life that lasted 14 hours a day, completely changed Paul Kalaniti’s life. His last two years of fighting death while treating patients with fatal brain damage as a doctor become a patient and encountering death unfold in intelligent and fluent language.
Eight months after his first cancer sentence in 2013, the column How Long Have I Got Left, which he wrote in the New York Times in January 2014, resonated tremendously. Here, he was sentenced to death, but desperately expressed the dilemma of an incurable patient who does not know exactly when he will die.
If it is clear how many months or years are left, the way forward will be clear. In three months, I will spend the time with my family. If there is a year left, I will write a book that I have always wanted to write. In 10 years, he will return to the hospital to treat patients.
My doctor only says this. “I can’t tell you how much time I have left. You have to find out for yourself what’s most important.”
If he doesn’t know exactly when he’s going to die, he has no choice but to live on. He returned to the operating room and pulled off a tremendous workload as the oldest resident, and his wife Lucy succeeds in pregnancy with artificial insemination. However, ahead of the resident examination, the cancer rapidly worsens, giving up his career as a doctor, and wandering around with his wife at the end of his life. Eventually, eight months after his daughter, Cady, was born, he refused resuscitation and died in the arms of his beloved family with a clear mind. After Paul Kalaniti’s death in March 2015, the epilogue of the book, which he wrote with all his might, was written by his wife Lucy.
The book became the No. 1 bestseller of the New York Times in January 2016 with the publication of the book in the U.S. Random House, Germany, Italy, and Brazil as soon as the book was released in December 2014, and is now in the top 20 bestseller list for 30 consecutive weeks. Copyright has been exported to 38 countries around the world, and it became a bestseller immediately after its publication in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Canada.
cross between literature, philosophy, and medicine to inquire about the meaning of life
An unprecedented essay that combines experience and contemplation, emotion and intelligence.
The author was fascinated by adolescent literature. He was fascinated by the theme of what makes life meaningful, and literature conveyed the meaning of life in the form of a story. Then he discovered that the human mind is the action of the brain and majored in English and biology at Stanford University. Exploring humans, who are both physiological and spiritual beings, he eventually decides to become a doctor. It was an opportunity to continue to think about the question of “what makes human life meaningful even in the face of physical decline and death by connecting with the suffering.””
Paul Kalaniti chose his field of expertise in that very sense of vocation. “Neurosurgery seemed to be the most challenging and most direct to meaning, identity, and death.” The author’s life, which has been choosing a career as a doctor from humanities insights, treating patients with fatal brain damage, and constantly thinking about what role medicine, science can play in human life, and what good doctors are like.
Neurosurgeons work in the harsh furnace of identity. All brain surgery inevitably manipulates the brain, which is the essence of human beings, and when talking to patients undergoing brain surgery, they have no choice but to face the problem of identity. The point is not simply living or dying, but which is worth living. What choice would you make if you couldn’t speak in exchange for a few more months of life expectancy. What if you try to stop the seizure and you can’t use your right hand? How severe is your child going to suffer and say that it would be better to die? (in the text)
And finally, the author is sentenced to death at the age of 36 and puts his patients in a position. Just as he didn’t know when he would die before he got cancer, he despair at the fact that he didn’t know when he would die after the diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. If you don’t know when you’re going to die, you have to keep living. with a keen awareness of death much closer than before. He recounts Samuel Beckett’s lines. “I can’t keep going. I can’t go on. I’ll go on). Even if I’m dying, I’m still alive until I actually die. Instead of dying, I made up my mind to continue living.”
There was a clear hope that the future would not be taken away even when the body was collapsing toward death. Struggling to press the keyboard in the pain of cracking his fingertips due to chemotherapy, Paul Callaniti finally left a letter to his daughter.
If there comes a moment when you have to explain how you’ve lived, what you’ve done, what you’ve done to the world, I hope you don’t forget that you’ve filled your dying father’s days with joy. It was a joy that my father had never felt in his life, and as a result, he can now relax with satisfaction without wanting more. At this moment, it’s a really big deal for me. (in the text)
Neurosurgeons work in the harsh furnace of identity. All brain surgery inevitably manipulates the brain, which is the essence of human beings, and when talking to patients undergoing brain surgery, they have no choice but to face the problem of identity. In addition, brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event in life for patients and their families, so it has a huge impact, as is the case with major events in life. At this critical turning point, the point is not simply living or dying, but which is worth living. What choice would you make if you or your mother couldn’t speak in exchange for a few more months of life? What if you had to risk vision loss to completely eliminate the low possibility of a fatal cerebral hemorrhage? What if you try to stop the seizure and you can’t use your right hand? How severe is your child going to suffer and say that it would be better to die?
The unique pain caused by severe brain damage sometimes causes greater pain to the family than to the patient. Therefore, doctors are not the only ones who are not fully convinced of the meaning. Families gathered around their loved ones, who are lying down with their brains injured, also do not fully realize the meaning. They look at the past. I think the memories I have built up so far, the feelings of love that I feel anew, all of these are represented by the body in front of them. But I see the future ahead. A respirator connected through a hole drilled in the neck by surgery, a transparent liquid dripping from the hole drilled in the abdomen, and a long-lasting painful treatment process and incomplete recovery. Sometimes patients cannot return to the way they used to be.
asked Lucy, who was lying next to him one night. “Honey, what’s the scariest or saddest thing?” “Breaking up with you.” I knew it would be a great pleasure for my family to have a baby. Besides, I couldn’t bear to think that Lucy had no husband or baby after my death. But I insisted that Lucy should make the final decision. Eventually, she had to raise the baby by herself, but if my illness worsened, it would have been harder to take care of me. “Can we spend the right time together when we have a baby?” asked Lucy. “Wouldn’t death be more painful if I had to break up with the baby?” “But wouldn’t the baby be a wonderful gift?” I said. Lucy and I felt life wasn’t just about avoiding pain.
In the end, it was literature that revived me during this period. A very uncertain future was making me helpless. Everywhere I looked back, the shadow of death was so deep that I felt that every action was meaningless. However, I remember the moment when the anxiety that weighed on me disappeared and the sea of anxiety that seemed impossible to pass by split. As usual, I woke up feeling pain, and there was nothing to do after breakfast. The moment I thought, “I can’t keep going,” a response came to me. It was also a phrase from Samuel Beckett that I learned long ago when I was an undergraduate. “But I’ll keep going.” I got out of bed, took a step forward, and repeated the phrase over and over again. “I can’t keep going, but I’ll keep going — p.I can’t go on. I’ll go on).”
When you get seriously ill, the outline of your life becomes very clear. I knew I was going to die. But that was a fact that I had known before. My knowledge remained the same, but my ability to plan my life was completely ruined. As long as I know how much time I have left, what I will do will become clear. If there were three months left, I would spend time with my family. I’ll write a book in a year. In 10 years, I will return to a life of treating people’s diseases. The fact that we can only live one day at a time didn’t help much. What the hell should I do with that day?
“Dad, would you like to hug your daughter?” the nurse asked me. “Well, my body was so cold,” said the clatter of teeth. “But I still want to hug you.”They wrapped my daughter in a blanket and handed her to me. As we felt the weight of the child with one arm and held Lucy’s hand with the other arm, the possibility of life seemed to unfold in front of us. Cancer cells in my body are still dying or growing again. On the broad horizon before me, I saw something simpler than that, not an empty wasteland. It was a blank page where I had to keep writing.