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Raising Lazarus

Raising Lazarus


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Description for RAISING LAZARUS by Robert Pensack, M.D. and Dwight Williams:

At age four Pensack lost his mother to HCM, an enigmatic cardiac condition, and at age fifteen was himself diagnosed with the disease, which has haunted a bloodline for three generations. Raising Lazarus chronicles Pensack's journey to overcome his failing body through the will of his mind and the strength of his soul.

In order to save himself, he determines to become a doctor - and his own best patient. But after undergoing multiple surgeries in his twenties - one of which leaves a hole in his heart - Pensack realizes he cannot become a surgeon. The training is far too taxing physically, and he is in a constant struggle with incapacitating fear and debilitating emotional disorders that result from the many horrors he has endured. Probing for the foundation of his mental instabilities, Pensack becomes a psychiatrist and reveals the intertwining of mind and body. He eventually surmises that "physical injuries are mere flesh wounds; it is the psychological terror bred in my past that is most lethal."

Finally, Pensack must have a heart transplant in order to survive, and thus begins his agonizing wait for a donor heart, followed by the unimaginable consequences, both physical and psychological, of such an ordeal. Through this barbaric feat of modern medicine - and moreover through the strength and support of his wife and children, who have joined him in the passing years - Pensack comes to see the universality of life: how we are all connected, why it matters, and what is our potential.

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