Apr 9, 2008

Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture

Latest Update: Dr. Randy Pausch Video Obituary
July 25, 2008 Randy Pausch Has Died
July 28, 2008 The Last Lecture: A Celebration of Life (ABC Tuesday Night)
July 31, 2008 The Gift of an Enduring Legacy
August 17, 2008 Carnegie Mellon University plans Randy Pausch Memorial Walk

.............This Original April 9, 2008 Post as follows...........
Randy Pausch is 47, married to a beautiful woman that he loves dearly, the father of three beautiful children, and is a gifted and beloved computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. And Randy Pausch is also dying.

Randy was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, which he says has now returned full force, after surgery, and chemotherapy and radiation. Doctors now say that he has only a few months to live.

Randy had been on continuing palliative chemotherapy, not as a potential cure, but with the intent of simply slowing down the growth of his tumors. As Randy wrote, on the six months 'anniversary' of the countdown on his cancer...

" The doctors weren't wrong; they always said that if the palliative chemo worked, I'd buy more time, but that it was a long shot. And the doctors have done a brilliant job of tweaking my regimen to help my odds. How much longer this will work is hard to know, but I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left, no matter how many or how few of them I get.

Unfortunately, the side effects of the chemotherapy have caused congestive heart and renal failure, resulting in another recent hospitalization. Randy is currently back at home right now, and as he writes in his blog..'I rest, and I rest, and I rest."

When Randy was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he realized that "If you're going to pick off a list, this is not the cancer you would pick,...I mean, it's pretty much the last one you would want to get. It's pretty much the most fatal.

He had originally decided to continue medical treatment in the hope of prolonging his life. As he says, he can't change the cards he's been dealt, but he can control how he plays them. Randy decided to play them, to the best of his ability, while still living his life to the fullest, while still loving and seeing to the best interest of his family and somehow still being there for his own last days with his college students in his lectures.

As Randy, explains there's an academic tradition called the 'Last Lecture.' at Carnegie Mellon. Professors give it before they retire. Randy knew, after his diagnosis, that he wanted to give his own final lecture on "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" . He would talk about his life's journey and the lessons he's learned along the way, to his students at Carnegie Mellon, but with the intent of leaving the video taped lecture as his own final legacy for his three small children.

That September 18,2007 lecture before 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University was complete with slides of his CT scans and a description of the cancer that was devouring his pancreas and that would most likely claim in his life in a matter of months. Randy Pausch's 'Last Lecture" was video-taped and ended up on the Internet where it has since been downloaded more than 6 million times. Randy Pausch ended up being on You Tube, and on the Oprah Show ,where he reprised his "Last Lecture". And tonight he is being featured on an ABC special called "The Last Lecture: A Love Story for Your Life"

This amazing man and his overwhelmingly inspirational speech has reached, touched and exploded 10 million hearts. It's not just a speech about achieving childhood dreams, or living your life, or what you would do if you were told that you only had six months left to live.

"Any professor will tell you there's some lectures you have to pull them out of yourself, and there's some that just pour. This talk wrote itself," he says

As his cancer progresses, Randy has made a living will in order to make life a little easier for his family. But aside from planning a small ceremony, Randy says he isn't spending his days making funeral preparations. "I don't think that's a particularly great use of my time. I think spending just a little bit of time is the right way to do it. I'd rather, while I'm healthy, spend time with my kids and doing things that are helpful to other people while I'm still fairly vigorous."

While his priorities have not changed drastically, Randy says a lack of time is a major motivator. "There was a sort of logistical rush, because the analogy I use is that my family's about to get pushed off a cliff, and any good father says, 'I want to be there to catch them,'" he says. "Well, I'm not going to be there to catch them. But I'm spending my limited time sewing some really good nets to cushion the fall."

"[Somebody said], 'You've become so famous for dying, what's going to happen if you're alive in a year or two?'" Randy says. "I said, 'Give me the problem! I'd like to work on that one.'"

As Dr. Mehmet Oz (who has met Randy, been at his home, and shared his final journey with him) says "healing is not about curing people,...but about making sense of it all." Randy says:
"My wife Jai has been an incredible source of stability and courage through all this. We both agree that "you can't control the cards you're dealt, just how you play the hand."

This man, his life's journey and the story of how he has chosen to not only live his life, but live through his own dying process... is one that has touched my own heart very deeply. I hope you will watch, listen, learn, and be touched as well. I know that I, for one, will be watching it from my own home in Salem, Oregon tonight...and I hope you will be, too!

"The Last Lecture: A Love Story For Your Life" on ABC ....TONIGHT...Wednesday April 9th, 10pm/9 CST.
Randy Pausch's Home Page
The story of Randy's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
Update on Randy Pausch: in his own words
Watch Randy's famous "Last Lecture."

The Last Lecture:Randy's Book, just released!
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture - UPDATE ETC Global News
Journeys Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
YouTube - The last lecture of Randy Pausch 1
ABC News: Dying Professor's Lecture of a Lifetime

My Updated Post on Randy: The Last Lecture: Transcript Link

June 2008:Randy Pausch: Update

Read or Print off a copy of his transcript of The Last Lecture:
Transcript of Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" as delivered at Carnegie Mellon University on Sept. 18, 2007


Quiltdivajulie said...

Gotta set up the recorder to be sure we get this one ... and the book is on my wish list.

Thanks for highlighting this ~ he has created an amazing legacy.

Anonymous said...

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video (ted.com) has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.