Dying Doctor Pens Bestselling Memoir, 'When Breath Becomes Air'

Yahoo's Chief Global Anchor Katie Couric sat down with Lucy Kalanithi, the widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who penned the memoir "When Breath Becomes Air" about his struggle with lung cancer as they decided to have a baby.
3:13 | 01/25/16

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Transcript for Dying Doctor Pens Bestselling Memoir, 'When Breath Becomes Air'
We have a sad and a beautiful story now about a father's gift to his daughter. In the "The New York times" memoir when breath becomes air, doctor Paul kalanithi shares his story. Chief global anchor Katie couric has his story. Reporter: Paula was the modern definition of a renaissance man, he majoreded in English and biology at Stanford. He went on to receive masters degree before heading to Yale. At first I thought he was this boring guy who wanted to be a doctor, he was really serious, I realized on his medical school I.D. He was wearing a fake mu mustac mustache. Reporter: Paul continued his medical career becoming a neurosurgeon at Stanford. Their lives and careers were soaring. But at 36, Paul got some devastating news. Although he never smoked he was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4. We had seen that bad things can happen, you know when you're a doctor, you see that day in and day out. We sort of had this feeling of, oh, my gosh, it's our turn now. Reporter: How did cancer change your relationship? After he got diagnosed I said what do you need from me? Do you want to travel with your brothers? Do you want me to help you accomplish something that doesn't include me? For him to say, no, I want to go back to our honeymoon destination. It was so romantic and amazing. Reporter: Paul wanted to chronicle his final days in a memoir called "When breath becomes air." That wasn't the only legacy he would leave behind. He and Lucy decided to have a baby. I asked him, don't you think that having a child to say good-bye to will make your death more painful and his answer really astounded me, wouldn't it be great if he did? What he meant by that, if a child brings such a degree of meaning it becomes even more painful to leave -- Better to have experienced that meaning and that level of love. Yeah, when she was born, we were so thrilled and his book title is when breath becomes air. I look back for her that was the moment that air became breath. Only one thing to say to this infant who is all future, overlapping briefly with me whose life barring the improbable has all that passed. That message is simple -- you filled a dying man's days with joy, a joy unknown for me in all of my prior years. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing. Goodness. What does he know about

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