Chicago Sun-Times

Conquering cancer and heart failure

...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

God Moves UCMC To Rejoin My Heart Transplant Team

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God bless you.

After more than three years, during which I underwent three surgeries, a

radiation treatment, had more than 90 doctors to visit, examine and treat me at five

different hospitals, the University of Chicago Medical Center has rejoined my heart

transplant team that it started in the first place.

This week, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, UCMC's ace cardiac surgeon, and

Dr. Allen Anderson, UCMC cardiologist, have promised to add me to UCMC's heart

transplant list.

That means that for the present, I am now on the heart transplant lists for the

Mayo Clinic and UCMC. Now, it is up to me to decide which list I wants to stay on.

Yes, the Mayo Clinic is much more highly acclaimed for heart

transplantation, and yes, it was the Mayo that decided to put me on its heart

transplant list when nobody else I contacted would.

But my choice is UCMC for several reasons. They include the following:

1. I no longer will have to worry about the uncertain circumstances, like

weather and availability, of having an air ambulance to fly me from Chicago to

Rochester, Minn., within a four-hour time window when a heart becomes available.

2. I no longer will have to stay in Rochester, 365 miles from my home in

Hazel Crest, at least three and a half months after my heart transplant operation.

3. I no longer will have to worry about potentially devastating out-of-pocket

expenses of a private jet and the living expenses of staying in Rochester for an

extended time.

4. If God wills me through a successful transplantation, I now can spend

most of my recovery time at home with my children and grandchildren and be more

easily accessible to other relatives and friends.

5. If the Lord chooses to take me, I will already be home in Chicago instead

of another distant city.

Thank you, Jesus! Hallelujah!

The Lord just keeps right on blessing me. I don't deserve the blessings of His

grace and mercy. Nevertheless, God just keeps right on blessing me.

It was on March 31, 2008, that the UCMC made plans to place me on its

heart transplant list. Their medications had done all they could. So, in accordance

to normal procedure, the UCMC started thoroughly examining me to make sure

it was not wasting a donor's heart on an unhealthy recipient.

Unfortunately, at least for that moment, doctors at the UCMC and

Northwestern discovered a cancerous tumor on my brain and cancer in my

prostate. Those revelations immediately disqualified me from UCMC's heart

transplant list. Thank God, the brain tumor was determined to be benign and

the prostate cancer was determined to be early-staged, localized and treatable.

I then started this blog, promising to give God the thanksgiving and

glory and to give you a running account of how He would be healing me. Many

of you started reading this blog and praying with me and for me and have

continued to do so. And as the bible said they would, the prayers of the righteous

availed much for me then and have been availing for me ever since.

On May 21, 2008, I underwent the radiation operation of being implanted

with more than 80 radiation seeds. And, again, that God, my prostate cancer went

into immediate progressive remission. But the UCMC had a very conservative

policy on prostate cancer. It required me to be cancer-free for at least five years

before they would put me on its list.

A little over a year later, I went to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. They

have a more up-to-date, liberal policy on prostate cancer because it is one of the

slowest growing cancers. So, after they sent me through their tests and

examinations, Mayo Clinic doctors placed me on its heart transplant list on

Nov. 15, 2009.

I continued to be examined and have the symptoms of my end-stage

congestive heart failure relieved by medications until I suffered an almost fatal

setback on Jan. 11, 2010, when some false bad news about me losing my job and

insurance shocked and stressed me into a cardio-genic shock, a form of heart

attack . That event resulted in me spending 30 days in a total of three hospitals--

South Suburban, Northwestern and UCMC--and being placed on life support for

two three-day stints. On Jan. 29, 2010 I was implanted with a heart pump, a

Heartmate LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) to save my life and sustain me

until I can get a new heart.

Now, God has returned the UCMC to where it first started by preparing me to

be placed on its heart transplant list.

Yes, there, again, are serious risks. I will be sawed open for the third time

in my life. So many things can go wrong during and after the operation The

surgeons can do a great job and then nurses may fail to provide me proper

post-operative care. I will also have to take immuno-suppressants for the rest of my

life. Those medications decrease my immune system so that my body won't reject

the new heart.

Nevertheless, my hope is in Jesus and in God's grace and mercy. If there is

to be any healing and any successful surgery and post-operative care, it will come

from God through the instruments of doctors, nurses and medications. So it's

prayer time for me perhaps more than ever. Yes, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in

the need of prayer. Won't you please continue to pray for e and with me and I will

do the same for you.

God bless you.



Thank God For My 68th Birthday

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God bless you.

Today (Aug. 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm ready cry.

A tear from my right eye just beat the left to the drop.

To those of you who have been praying with me and for me since I started blogging my struggles with a cancerous brain tumor, cancer of my prostate and my being elevated to No. 1 on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list, you know somewhat what I'm talking about.

I'm blessed to be alive.

Blessed to be able to walk, although often with great difficulty, and to deal with a million dollars worth of advanced medical equipment implanted inside me and powered by batteries I wear and charge every 12 hours and by being cabled up to a bedside power console plugged into the AC wall socket of my bedroom.

Blessed to be able to speak for myself, feed myself, drink when I'm thirsty. drive a car, shower myself with special equipment. I'm blessed.

I'm blessed to have the best wife, the best daughters, the best son-in-law, the best sisters and brothers, the best mother-in-law and the best friends to help look after me.
Then there ministers like Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks, Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Darrell Jackson, Rev. Henry Hardy, Rev. Leonard DeVille, Rev. Gregory Macon, Rev. Andre Allen, Rev. Gregory Macon, Evangelist Minnie Joe Evans and her pastor Rev. George Howse, Evangelist Beverly Rogers and her husband Wylie, Deacon Richard Nevels and his wife Rose, my Sun-Times bosses and co-workers and so many others looking after me.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm blessed by the mighty hand of our God' or grace and mercy, His resurrected and redeeming son, Jesus Christ, and their cast of thousands.

I'm blessed to still be working for the Sun-Times for my 39th year and to still be preaching and singing before congregations across the country.
I'm blessed to be in Springfield, Mass., right know to cover my very first Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, where five former Bulls, including former assistant coach Tex Winter, are being either inducted into the Hall of Fame or given various lifetime achievement awards.

Then there are great American giants from Chicago to include Lee B. Stern, Mike Ditka, Rocky Wirtz, Jerry Reinsdorf, Irwin Mandel, Dr. Valluvan Jevanandam, the late Irv Kupcinet, Rick Tellender, Mary Mitchell, Stella Foster, Mark Bartelstein, Dr. Michael Flaherty, Dr. Allen Aderson, Elinor Lowry, Steve Schanwald and so many other supporters and enablers.
Insert your name right here, too, because people like you all are my birthday presents and your prayers are flaming candles atop a cake of uncommon kindness.

I don't apologize to any doubters and pouters who felt I should have been dead three years ago. They wonder what's taking me so long to die. When I first started blogging this journey and real friends and supporters like John, Marie, Donna, Beverly, Marcia, Gwen, Tomas, Constance, Eugene and Alicia rallied around me prayerfully to bid me God's speed.

But there are others who expected and even wished that my serious health problems to result in a quick kill. i want you to know that even you play a valuable part in my life and I thank god for every one of my enemies and naysayers. After all, if there were no enemies, who would need a friend.

You enemies of mine have kept me praying, kept me singing and preaching, kept me humble, kept me inspired, kept me from getting too careless and too cocky. On behalf of all my supporters and me, in heaven and on earth, I want to thank all you enemies of mine and the rest of us for doing a fine job. Many of us would not have made it this far without your encouragement.

In case you just tuned in, today (Aug 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm celebrating by looking back over my life and by seeing so much that my God has done for me. He's never failed me, never has left me alone and he's always answered my prayers.

Oh if you only knew how many times I have prayed for the Sun-Times. I was occasionally called "nigger" and "stupid black SOB" when I joined the paper in 1972 as its first black sportswriter. But though I've had odds with these types of people, I forgave them, kept praying for them in particular and paper in general, and the Lord has sustained and delivered us through many dangers, toils and snares.

During my 39 years working for the Sun-Times, including going into the communities to give motivational speeches, my dearest friend albert Dickens and I have worked for 12 different sports editor and under seven different ownership, including a brief employment under Rupert Murdoch,
Many times, the Sun-Times had been counted out and doomed for failure. Twice the company even fired me and has bought out or laid off legions of the finest media professionals ever to work a daily newspaper. Then there are others who defected to seek vacational asylum at the Tribune and other media outlets, to unclude radio and televison,

The is my 68th birthday, and, God willing, my last year of working for one of the greatest newspapers in the world.

No need to wish me a happy birthday, because I'm already having one. Every birthday that finds me still alive, relatively healthy, sane and functional and enjoying life with my family is a happy one.

Yes, I'm still waiting for a new heart. The reason I haven't gotten one yet is the 22 months I've been on the transplant list is because it was not God's will. In due season, I will get what God wants to give me, when he wants to give it and however He wants to give it.

Any way all this shakes out is alright with me because my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground in sinking sand.

I'm praying for you all. Please pray for me, too.

God bless you



Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, today, June 30, is the 43rd wedding anniversary for my high school sweetheart Joyce and me.

In 1961, we first met and started going together at Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kan. We were both super nerds. I was a senior and student council president. She was a shy girl who slew me with her beauty, and with her purity of passion, purpose and honesty. But love equalized even though while she has been an angel of a wife, I, sometimes, have been a devil of a husband.

We have three daughters: Nicole Chapman, Noelle Banks and Natasha Banks. Three of our other children, including twin boys, died at birth. We have five grandchildren: Lauren, David, Timothy and Nina Chapman, and Caleb Emanuel Banks. We were blessed all these years to be a hard-working, two-parent household. I was rigidly old-school in the way I raise my daughter. My goals was to make sure they each got a college degree before they either got pregnant or married.

Joyce worked 40 years before retiring last year. I've worked for 46 years, mostly as a newspaper reporter, and hope to retire this year after getting a new heart. God blessed Joyce and me to bring that to pass. Joyce and I got married June 30, 1968 in the house in KCK's Quindaro community, where her mother, Mrs. Emma Wooten, 88, still lives. I am also old-school in love. I believe in love. I believe that true love covers a multitude of faults.

Nothing makes me madder than seeing a man mistreat a woman who loves him. So he exploits her love to beat, cheat and mistreat her. I pray that my younger daughters, Noelle and Natasha, find the kind of strong Christian husband that Nicole has found in Larry. I have incredible love and respect for Noelle, a single mother and a near spotless Christian. She sings like an angel and now she's studying to become one of God's ministers. I have felt God's calling on her for years. Her devotion to God puts most of us to shame. And Caleb? She loves her son and he loves his mother dearly.

In my marriage with Joyce, I have placed primary emphasis on our love for God, love for each other, love for our family and the enjoyment of thrilling, exhilarating, unforgettable experiences. I prize wonderful, happy experiences over material things. We can always enjoy our wonderful vacations in Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Las Vegas, Paris, London (she really loves London), Honolulu, Maui and Kauai Hawaii, Cancun (Mexico), Munich (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), Estes Park, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Fla., and Palm Springs, Calif., Washington, D.C., New York and Amsterdam.

God bless you.

I'm still praying and waiting and praying and waiting and......for a new heart.

It's get boring. Painfully boring.

That's one reason I have been lax in posting entries on this blog.

If I am getting tired or telling you that I'm still praying and waiting for a new heart, I'm

certain that many of you get tired of reading it.

But if there is anything the devil wants me to do is get bored from and tired of

praying and waiting.

But I must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Wait on the Lord. Be of

good courage and He shall strengthen thy heart."

Wait on the Lord, the prophet urges. For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew

their strength. They shall mount up on wings of eagle. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint."

I thank God for people like Marie, who remains a constant encouragement to me

through her comments submitted to this blog. Her husband was paralyzed by a stroke

years ago. But she has remained ever prayerful, loving, thankful, faithful and hopeful.

After reading another recent comment from Marie, I was challenged to not

slacken in this fight for life.

I am reminded that matters most is that I am still alive and still blessed. I am

reminded that just as there is no personal credit or honor for being healed quickly,

there also is no shame in having to wait for a slower one.

If I have nothing tremendously new to report, then I must continue to testify about

what the Lord has already done for me.

I am blessed that my brain tumor was diagnosed as benign.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer was early-staged, localized and responsive to

radiation seeds treatment.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer has been aggressive, progressive remission

sufficient for me to be cleared by the Mayo Clinic to be placed on its heart transplant list.

I am blessed that the mild stroke I suffered in December of 2009 was a temporary

event that I survived with no residual paralysis.

I am blessed that I survived the cardio-genic shock I suffered on Jan 11 of 2010, then

survived two stints on life support and the open-heart surgery of having a heart pump

implanted.

I am blessed that I not only was allowed to continue working but was returned to our

paper's high-profile beat of covering the Bulls, a beat that I was hired to cover in 1972,

more than 16 years before Derrick Rose was even born.

I am blessed to have a faithful, loving wife like Joyce. She won't let me give up,

give out or give in.

She challenges me to live the sermons I've preached for 58 years. And the core

of those sermons is that I can accomplish anything through faith in Jesus Christ, who is

the real healer, the real deliverer, the real sustainer.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I will try harder to post entries more

often. Please continue to pray for me and I will pray for you.

God bless you.

God bless you.


God bless you.

I'm still praying and waiting and praying and waiting and......for a new heart.

It's get boring. Painfully boring.

That's one reason I have been lax in posting entries on this blog.

If I am getting tired or telling you that I'm still praying and waiting for a new heart, I'm

certain that many of you get tired of reading it.

But if there is anything the devil wants me to do is get bored from and tired of

praying and waiting.

But I must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Wait on the Lord. Be of

good courage and He shall strengthen thy heart."

Wait on the Lord, the prophet urges. For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew

their strength. They shall mount up on wings of eagle. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint."

I thank God for people like Marie, who remains a constant encouragement to me

through her comments submitted to this blog. Her husband was paralyzed by a stroke

years ago. But she has remained ever prayerful, loving, thankful, faithful and hopeful.

After reading another recent comment from Marie, I was challenged to not

slacken in this fight for life.

I am reminded that matters most is that I am still alive and still blessed. I am

reminded that just as there is no personal credit or honor for being healed quickly,

there also is no shame in having to wait for a slower one.

If I have nothing tremendously new to report, then I must continue to testify about

what the Lord has already done for me.

I am blessed that my brain tumor was diagnosed as benign.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer was early-staged, localized and responsive to

radiation seeds treatment.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer has been aggressive, progressive remission

sufficient for me to be cleared by the Mayo Clinic to be placed on its heart transplant list.

I am blessed that the mild stroke I suffered in December of 2009 was a temporary

event that I survived with no residual paralysis.

I am blessed that I survived the cardio-genic shock I suffered on Jan 11 of 2010, then

survived two stints on life support and the open-heart surgery of having a heart pump

implanted.

I am blessed that I not only was allowed to continue working but was returned to our

paper's high-profile beat of covering the Bulls, a beat that I was hired to cover in 1972,

more than 16 years before Derrick Rose was even born.

I am blessed to have a faithful, loving wife like Joyce. She won't let me give up,

give out or give in.

She challenges me to live the sermons I've preached for 58 years. And the core

of those sermons is that I can accomplish anything through faith in Jesus Christ, who is

the real healer, the real deliverer, the real sustainer.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I will try harder to post entries more

often. Please continue to pray for me and I will pray for you.

Bod bless you.

God bless you.

I Can't Get Too Tired Of Waiting For A New Heart

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God bless you.

I'm still praying and waiting and praying and waiting and......for a new heart.

It's get boring. Painfully boring.

That's one reason I have been lax in posting entries on this blog.

If I am getting tired or telling you that I'm still praying and waiting for a new heart, I'm

certain that many of you get tired of reading it.

But if there is anything the devil wants me to do is get bored from and tired of

praying and waiting.

But I must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Wait on the Lord. Be of

good courage and He shall strengthen thy heart."

Wait on the Lord, the prophet urges. For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew

their strength. They shall mount up on wings of eagle. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint."

I thank God for people like Marie, who remains a constant encouragement to me

through her comments submitted to this blog. Her husband was paralyzed by a stroke

years ago. But she has remained ever prayerful, loving, thankful, faithful and hopeful.

After reading another recent comment from Marie, I was challenged to not

slacken in this fight for life.

I am reminded that matters most is that I am still alive and still blessed. I am

reminded that just as there is no personal credit or honor for being healed quickly,

there also is no shame in having to wait for a slower one.

If I have nothing tremendously new to report, then I must continue to testify about

what the Lord has already done for me.

I am blessed that my brain tumor was diagnosed as benign.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer was early-staged, localized and responsive to

radiation seeds treatment.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer has been aggressive, progressive remission

sufficient for me to be cleared by the Mayo Clinic to be placed on its heart transplant list.

I am blessed that the mild stroke I suffered in December of 2009 was a temporary

event that I survived with no residual paralysis.

I am blessed that I survived the cardio-genic shock I suffered on Jan 11 of 2010, then

survived two stints on life support and the open-heart surgery of having a heart pump

implanted.

I am blessed that I not only was allowed to continue working but was returned to our

paper's high-profile beat of covering the Bulls, a beat that I was hired to cover in 1972,

more than 16 years before Derrick Rose was even born.

I am blessed to have a faithful, loving wife like Joyce. She won't let me give up,

give out or give in.

She challenges me to live the sermons I've preached for 58 years. And the core

of those sermons is that I can accomplish anything through faith in Jesus Christ, who is

the real healer, the real deliverer, the real sustainer.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I will try harder to post entries more

often. Please continue to pray for me and I will pray for you.

Bod bless you.

God bless you.

I Can't Get Too Tired Of Waiting For A New Heart

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God bless you.

I'm still praying and waiting and praying and waiting and......for a new heart.

It's get boring. Painfully boring.

That's one reason I have been lax in posting entries on this blog.

If I am getting tired or telling you that I'm still praying and waiting for a new heart, I'm

certain that many of you get tired of reading it.

But if there is anything the devil wants me to do is get bored from and tired of

praying and waiting.

But I must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Wait on the Lord. Be of

good courage and He shall strengthen thy heart."

Wait on the Lord, the prophet urges. For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew

their strength. They shall mount up on wings of eagle. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint."

I thank God for people like Marie, who remains a constant encouragement to me

through her comments submitted to this blog. Her husband was paralyzed by a stroke

years ago. But she has remained ever prayerful, loving, thankful, faithful and hopeful.

After reading another recent comment from Marie, I was challenged to not

slacken in this fight for life.

I am reminded that matters most is that I am still alive and still blessed. I am

reminded that just as there is no personal credit or honor for being healed quickly,

there also is no shame in having to wait for a slower one.

If I have nothing tremendously new to report, then I must continue to testify about

what the Lord has already done for me.

I am blessed that my brain tumor was diagnosed as benign.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer was early-staged, localized and responsive to

radiation seeds treatment.

I am blessed that my prostate cancer has been aggressive, progressive remission

sufficient for me to be cleared by the Mayo Clinic to be placed on its heart transplant list.

I am blessed that the mild stroke I suffered in December of 2009 was a temporary

event that I survived with no residual paralysis.

I am blessed that I survived the cardio-genic shock I suffered on Jan 11 of 2010, then

survived two stints on life support and the open-heart surgery of having a heart pump

implanted.

I am blessed that I not only was allowed to continue working but was returned to our

paper's high-profile beat of covering the Bulls, a beat that I was hired to cover in 1972,

more than 16 years before Derrick Rose was even born.

I am blessed to have a faithful, loving wife like Joyce. She won't let me give up,

give out or give in.

She challenges me to live the sermons I've preached for 58 years. And the core

of those sermons is that I can accomplish anything through faith in Jesus Christ, who is

the real healer, the real deliverer, the real sustainer.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I will try harder to post entries more

often. Please continue to pray for me and I will pray for you.

Bod bless you.

God bless you.

Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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