Thoughts on: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

He laid down on the floor of the hospital corridor as security guard approached.
-“Sir, you can’t lie down here.”
-“I’m sorry”, I said, gasping out the words. “Bad…back…spasms…”
-“You still can’t lie down here, sir.”
-“I’m sorry but—IM DYING FROM CANCER!””
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David was just arriving at his destination. Years of study followed by excruciatingly long hours of residency was suppose to pay off in high salaries, a big house and fulfilling work at the cutting edge of neuroscience. Instead he got terminal cancer.
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📝 “If the unexamined life was the not worth living, then is the un-lived life worth examining?”
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📝 His WHY:
“What makes life meaningful enough to go on living.”
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📝 “In residency there is a saying: the days are long but the years are short.” 😂
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📝 “To study philosophy is to learn how to die” – Montaigne 🧐
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📝 “When Breath Becomes Air is in a sense unfinished. Derailed by Pauls rapid decline. But that is an essential component of its truth. Of the reality Paul faced.” He wrote relentlessly in his last months. What fueled this? Had his found a new passion? Or was this a causa sui project: A vessel that could create meaning beyond his own life? A way of coping with the terror of death?
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
Let’s say that in order reach a goal of becoming a full-time philosopher we have to resolve our financial situation in a way that money becomes a non-issues. Does this mean that we do best to by spending 100% of our efforts towards our goal of financial freedom? Or are we better off doing 20% philosophizing while we build our wealth? This way it takes longer to reach our finances goals, but at least we get some philosophizing done in the case that death comes early. 🤔 💀
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⚖️ VERDICT:
This was a good memoir that put me in a reflective state of mind. If you are in the medical field it’s connect even more!
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3/5
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⁉️What memoirs are on your to-read-list⁉️
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📸: @joshuasavage (Instagram)

Thoughts & Notes: “Overdiagnosed” by Dr. Gilbert Welch

This time I will focus on the notes! Here we go:

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📝 Overdiagnosis occur when people get diagnosed with conditions that might never cause symptoms or death.

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📝 A overdiagnosed patient can’t be treated, only harmed.

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📝 Overdiagnosis started with the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure. Which have helped a lot of people.

“It marked the beginning of treatment for people without syntoms”.

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📝 As we expand treatment to people with to milder abnormalities, their potential benefit from treatment becomes progressively smaller. Severity matters!

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📝 Better equipment find more abnormalities. Famous study found that 10 percent of healthy participants have had strokes without knowing about it.

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📝 “The realities are, with this level of information, I have yet to see a normal patient.” – radiologist who scanned over ten thousand people.

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📝 Overdiagnosis also leads to impressive numbers. 1000 women are diagnosed with progressive breast cancer and 700 survive. That’s 70% survival rate. Add 500 overdignosed patients (diagnoses that never would lead to any syntoms or death). That would make the survival rate go up to 80%!

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📝 Doctors fear lawyers, Love good grades from patients and are punished for not diagnosing = overdiagnosis.

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📝 “Mammography reduce breast cancer deaths AND lead to over-diagnosis.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: If you are a healthy individual with no symptoms, the responsible answer to testing might be “no”. Or you might run the risk of getting treated for an abnormality that would never cause any symptoms. Ever! An options many never consider.

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A very good book, but if your not in the medical practitioner, reading half of it will suffice to get the big picture. I love the nuanced arguments and leave this book with even more admiration for the med. profession.

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3/5

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