I never intended to write a book, much less an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel. I’m a physician and a scientist. But during a conversation with a young colleague, Dr. Prerna Ganjoo, she suggested that I recount in writing my journey through the evolution of nephrology—my specialty and hers—and the early days of dialysis, a life-saving treatment that changed everything for patients with kidney disease. Her idea was intriguing. • As serendipity and The Celestine Prophecy would predict, the very next night an opportunity to acton the idea arose. It was graduation day at Boston University for Bradley, my grandson, who received a master’s degree in English. I had shared Prerna’s comment with Bradley. After the ceremony, with diploma but no job in hand, he offered to author the book and suggested it be a graphic novel.
First, I recruited my friend, artist Erminio Pinque, to illustrate. • As the project evolved and Bradley found other work, Erminio recruited local playwright Lenny Schwartz. Together the three of us created a script with preliminary drawings. Graphic artist Mark Michaelson came on as book producer. Emily Olson consulted as copy editor. • The story is mine, that of a first generation American whose father was a truck driver and mother a store clerk. In the way of so many immigrants to America from places of limited opportunity, pursuing their hopes and dreams for my benefit required determination and hard work. By earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy followed by a medical degree, I had the tools to realize our dreams in one generation. • My interest in medicine is exceeded only by my commitment to family. Artists, museums and their work, and the Buffalo Bills have also been passionate interests in my life. But you’ll have to read on to find out about that.
Joseph A. Chazan, M.D.