Saturday 29 March 2008

76 minutes you won't regret

Luciano Pavarotti, Syd Barrett and Patrick Swayze all were diagnosed with it.

Thanks to David at KiwiBlog, he told me about a story in the NZ Herald today about an inspirational speech by Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Pausch. He spoke as part of a “last lecture” series where lecturers are meant to pretend they are near death and want to sum up the most important lessons for their students.

Pausch, who is in his late 40s, didn’t have to pretend, as he has terminal pancreatic cancer, with between two and five months to live.

Here's his lecture (below), which is 76 minutes long, but it will be one of the better ways you can spend an hour or so this weekend. Here's his speech in text form and the powerpoint slides, if you can't access the video. More than six million people have watched it to date.

He makes you focus on what really is important in our lives. I doubt anyone cannot be touched by the speech.

Pausch says he's most proud of project Alice, and his Time Management lecture, which he first gave 10 years ago, and repeated in November. Here's the rest of Randy's lectures.

Here's his book The Last Lecture, that is due out in a couple of weeks. You can listen to his intro.

Here's the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network TV advert featuring Randy Pausch.

Here's a few words from Randy last Wednesday...

  • "The last few weeks have been tough; I've been in bed most of each day, having to ration my energy, which is very unnatural for me. Total exhaustion is very frustrating. However, I am starting to, very slowly, gain more energy each day.

    Tuesday's trip to the cardiologist yielded great news: my echocardiogram showed that my heart function is definitely returning: my "ejection fraction" (measure of blood ejection by the heart) was at its low point 25%; it's now up to at least 45%, and "normal" is 55 to 70% . Also, my cardiologist says a lot of the fatigue may be caused by one of my blood pressure medications (coreg), and next week they will probably swap that out for another drug, now that I'm doing better.

    On the kidney front, my nephrologist is extremely encouraged - for those of you scoring the game at home, my creatanine level (peaked at 3.9) is now down to 3.1, and he says that's a very strong indicator my kidney function is going to return.

    The only bad news is that the tumors have apparently decided they've been chivalrous enough; my CA19-9 went up from 103 to 170; while not definitive, it's a strong indicator that they are on the move. So I need to hurry up and get healthy enough for our next round of treatment."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, he had a blessed, fortunate, priviledged life. We're all so happy for him. Instead of lecturing us on how wonderful and how successful he has been, he might have attempted to give us some insights on the meaning of life. Not all of us achieve our dreams.