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When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese

He was devoting his life to save others when suddenly he found out that his future could not be thought of in decades but only in months or years and soon his role would be switched, the doctor would soon become the patient. As I read this novel, I thought over and over again about the notion of enjoying life’s journey along the way instead of working continuously to achieve the goals that you set out to accomplish. I wondered how Paul felt about his journey to get his residency, did he enjoy his journey or was it all a blur? Reading this novel, Paul talked about all the education that he had obtained before being diagnosed, the long hours that he had put in during his medical training, and how he and his wife had mapped out how their life was going to be, once they had education behind them and their careers set in place but nowhere in this plan was the subject of cancer.


Paul knew what the road ahead was going to be like as he has been talking to his patience’s about it for years but now, Paul was on the receiving end yet he was playing the role of doctor and patient. I like the comment one of his doctors told him, he remarked that it was okay if Paul just wanted to be the patient as he knew what roles Paul was playing. That remark stayed in my mind as I read the rest of this novel and as Paul fought to be who he really wanted to be in life. It’s a struggle for Paul and I understood his frustration as he battles with his illness and his identity. He is, who he is and he is doctor who is battling an illness, a person who used to work countless hours and for him to stop working and let this illness take control of his life is asking a lot but on the other hand, the disease is draining him and Paul is in so much pain, it’s hard to even do basic tasks. It’s a fight and Paul puts up a great battle.