God bless you.
Thank you readers, friends, strangers, relatives and Kingdom sisters and brothers.
Your prayers and best wishes are not in vain because day after day after day, I'm feeling God's healing coming on strong.
Truly, God is real. And because He's real, there is still healing in the holy hem of His son Jesus if we dare reach out and touch it with fingers of faith. Yes, there also is still some balm in yonder's Gilead. Check out these latest reasons why I know.
Tuesday, the first time I had exercised since undergoing May 21 radiation therapy for my prostate cancer, I walked 2.5 miles nonstop on my home treadmill in 55 minutes. One day later, I walked three miles nonstop in 61 minutes.
That's great news both for my prostate cancer and especially my end-stage congestive heart failure.
Thank you, Jesus!
May 2008 Archives
God bless you.
God bless you.
This Memorial Day weekend is memorable for me not just because I am undergoing God's healings from brain cancer, prostate cancer and a bad heart, but because I am enjoying a holy harvest in my household.
On Friday morning, following my chest pains occuring two days after radiation treatment on my prostate, my daughter Noelle helped bring me profound relief with a powerful prayer.
This morning (Sunday, May 25), her six-year-old son Caleb is being what he calls "bapatised" at Rhema Word Kingdom Ministries in Riverdale.
My daughter's fervent prayer of faith and my grandson's baptism represent holy harvest for my wife Joyce and me. We were both raised in Christian families, we raised our three daughters to become born-again Christians and now we are enjoying the fruits of our prayers and labors by seeing our children and grandchildren receive God's salvation.
Godly stuff like this is added medicine to me. While my healing comes from God and is ignited primarily by my faith in Him, my faith and your faith are also fueled by those around us. So it pays, especially in times of adversity, to be in the company of fellow Christians who will touch and agree with you in prayer to God for the desires of your heart.
God bless you, today.
Yesterday's (Wednesday, May 21) radioactive seeds implantation for my prostate cancer went as Joyce and I prayed it would. Smooth. Wonderful. Even great?
I don't want to jump to conclusions too quickly. But so far, I not only feel better than expected but better than I've felt overall in a long time. As I told you at the start of this journey, I want to carefully take you through each stop along the way. I want to share with you even some--but not all--of the subtle details of this "healing in progress" trip.
Enjoy the scenery as we travel. Enjoy the trees and the breeze. The flowers and April showers. The hills, wind mills, frills and thrills. The valleys, the mountains, the sunshine, the clouds and all the whatever-else God bestows upon us as we reach our respective destinations of healing if you are truly praying along with me.
God bless you.
By now, many of you have seen the beautiful special that Chicago's Comcast Cable aired of my "Healing In Progress" during its May 16 SportsNite hourlong program.
My wife Joyce and I were happy and honored to have former Bear great Dan Jiggetts, producer Willie Parker and cameraman Todd Williams in our humble home. In later shoots, cameramen Eric Fogle and Brett Fisher did the honors.
These gentlemen were quintessential professionals. My only regret is that my granddaughter Lauren Chapman was disappointed that I didn't get Dan's autograph. But hopefully I won't forget it in a followup.
Fogle came to Chicago's Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church while I was preaching the second night of its 82nd church anniversary revival. Pastor Joseph Jackson, his members and I were very grateful that Eric stayed for the whole service, heard the entire sermon, did not appear frightened by the shouting saints and, I believe, tossed me a couple of "amen reverend" when I needed extra fuel for fire.
I want to thank Comcast for helping us to invite the rest of America into our home and to join my wife and me on this healing journey. We're picking up prayerful passengers now from around the world, really. Wherever people can log in on the Sun-Times, they can enjoy seeing my wife and me in the accompanying video, which is presented in High-Definition living color and surround-sound stereo.
Look Ma! We're TV stars now!
Station executive producer Lissa Druss Christman has already expressed interest in doing a followup later during this joyful victorious journey. And by that time, I hope to present a lighter and definitely healthier image. Yes, let's be honest. I'm ashamed of myself. I am about 40 pounds overweight. That's not being responsible on my part. I can't be lazy and expect God to do everything. I must put my faith to work by pushing away from that dinner table, where my wife is a queen of gourmet cuisine, and add more exercising and fasting to my regimen.
God bless you.
Tomorrow morning, my healing schedule calls for prayer with my wife Joyce, 11 pills, prayer, radiation seeds implantation, then more prayer as my healing from brain cancer, prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure continues.
I still fell no pain, am able to power-walk on my treadmill, gradually raising my time and speed. Three nights ago, I did 2.9 miles nonstop in 55 minutes. That's good news for my heart. The progress with my heart leads Dr. Allen Anderson, my cardiologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, to believe I may not need to have an HeartMate XVE LVAS pumping machine attached to my heart to tide me over until I reach the cancer-free rating qualifying me for heart transplantation.
"You are progressing much better than we expected," Dr. Anderson told me in my last visit.
With my brain cancer being declared benign and held in check by a weekly pill (.5mg Cabergoline), I now tend to my prostate cancer with the implantation of radiation seeds.
I have chosen the seeds implantation because of the favorable recoveries by friends like Rev. Samuel Hinkle, Rev. Tommie McCray, Dec. Erwin Dabney, Dr. Ansel Johnson, Dec. Leroy Reed, Dec. Franklin Reed and so many more.
Moreover, the seeds procedure is quicker (roughly 30 minutes), less painful, has fewer side effects and requires less recovery time than the other treatment options. Those options are radical prostatectomy, where the prostate is surgically removed, external radiation beams (nine weeks of treatments), chemotherapy and a freezing of the prostate.
"I know of at least a dozen of my friends who received the seeds treatment and they're all doing well," Dec. Dabney said. "Another friend had his prostate surgically removed last year and he still has to wear diapers (because of incontinence)."
Rev. Hinkle underwent his seeds implantation in 2002 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
"And I've recovered extremely well with minimal pain or side effects," he said. "It got rid of my cancer within months. God is able. He brought me through this with the aid of doctors. That's my testimony and I continue to share it wherever I go. By the grace of God, I am a cancer survivor."
So is my pastor, Dr. Clay Evans, founder of Fellowship Baptist Church, where Rev. Charles Jenkins has succeeded him as pastor. Dr. Evans was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer six years ago and given six months to live.
"But the Lord answered prayer, moved through His surgeons, and I'm still here preaching His word," Dr. Evans said. "I am a living testimony. God is our salvation in every situation, be it medical, legal, social, economic or whatever. And we must give Him the glory for it first and foremost."
This healing journey, on which I have prayed the Lord, in Jesus' name, to take me to the destination of safe recovery from brain cancer, prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure, was never meant or expected to be easy.
Neither was it expected to be quick and painless.
Finding a balance between common sense and bold faith has its challenges when the believer has more than himself to think about. I'm also a devout family man. So I don't want to do anything that will hurt my wife and kids.
Last week, however, I frightened my wife Joyce into tears, frustration and anger when I ran a check on my healing status by giving my medicines three days off. Starting with my regular day of fasting and praying, during which I neither eat nor drink anything for at least 12 hours, normally from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., I went for three days without taking the daily nine different pills (17 in total) to see how I'd feel.
To my delight, I not only felt no worse, but my blood pressure remained steady in the area of 110 over 75.
But since I felt I shouldn't keep this a secret from Joyce, I told her. She was not happy. She did what a good, faithful, loving wife would do. She chewed me out, told me to get back on my medicines, got our three daughters Nicole, Noelle and Natasha, and our three-year-old grand-daughter Nina to help her
and I did.
When her mother, Nicole, dialed me and I answered to hear Nina's soft, small, sweet voice say, "Grandpa, take your medicine," I had to give in. Really, I had not decided to stop taking my medicines altogether. But that experience reminded me of the importance of striking a balance between common sense and bold faith in terms of me being a family man.
God bless you.
I wish God would bless each of you as well as he is blessing people like me.
Sure, all is not completely well with me. I am dealing with brain cancer, prostate cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure that may require me to have at least two serious surgeries as well as an out-patient radiation seeds implantation procedure.
But, thanks to God, on the whole, I am doing very well in my healing journey. Run down this basic checklist with me:
1. I have faith in a healing God, who is sustaining and healing me as I have been reporting to you, and I have His ultimate gift of eternal life.
2. I have a good job and good group health insurance coverage.
3. I am receiving effective treatment from skilled doctors at The University of Chicago Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center.
4, I have a beautiful wife of 39 years (Joyce), a great family and a wonderful, comfortable home.
5. I am experiencing no significant or sustained pain or discomfort.
God bless you.
As I told you in my last entry, three encouraging diagnostic updates by my doctors confirm that my healing is already underway.
First, doctors have concluded the brain tumor is benign. So Dr. Allison Hahr, Northwestern Memorial Hospital endocrinologist, has prescribed that we treat it with a pill as long as it is not growing and producing any dangerous hormones.
Second, Dr. Glenn Gerber, University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) urologist, says the two cancerous tumors on my prostate are "early-stage and localized" and can be effectively treated with a minimal-invasive procedure where radiation seeds will be implanted in the prostate by Dr. Brian Moran, a world-renown radiation oncologist.
Third, Dr. Allen Anderson, UCMC cardiologist, examined me Friday and expressed amazement that I am feeling better and have made a "dramatic response" to new medication he has added to my treatment.
Some of your may question why I am choosing to deal with these potentially deadly health issues in public. Well, it's because from the very start I prayed and had faith that God would heal me, as He obviously is already doing, and I wanted Him to get the praise, the glory and the thanksgiving so that others would be encouraged to pray and have faith in Him whenever they are afflicted with serious sickness or whatever.
GOD BLESS YOU!
My healing has already started.
First, I've learned that the tumor on the pituitary gland in my brain is benign.
Second, I've made a "dramatic response" to new medications I'm taking to help treat my end-stage congestive heart failure, which, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, the University of Chicago Medical Center's world renown cardiac surgeon, had first felt signaled the need for me to get a heart transplant as soon as possible.
Third, my prostate cancer has been diagnosed as "localized" and "early-stage" by Dr. Glenn Gerber, UCMC urologist, and can be cured by a minimum invasive radiation-seeds-implant procedure called brachytherapy.
All this means that my healing indeed is in progress.
When I shared this news with the members of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Thursday night, where I was preaching their 83rd church anniversary revival, the Pastor Joseph Jackson and his saints there greeted the good news with a rousing standing ovation, spiced with shouts of "Hallalujah!" and "Thank you Jesus!"
"When I invited Rev. Banks to be our guest minister again this year, I knew we would get some good preaching because he is one of the best preachers in the world," Pastor Joseph Jackson said. "But this week, we not only got good preaching, we got some good healing, too."
In reference to my brain cancer, I have learned after talking with Dr. Allison Hahr, an endocrinologist at Northwestern Medial Faculty Facility, that, for all practical purposes, the tumor is benign.
"It's something that we will continue to watch to make sure it does not grow and get worse," she said. "In that case, you could need surgery. But in the interim, it's doing no harm. Right now, it's not secreting anything. I'll have a better idea after you have another MRI and urine analysis."
Second, yesterday (May 8), Dr. Allen Anderson, University of Chicago Medical Center cardiologist, told me "You are making a dramatic response to the new medicine and you doing much better than we expected."
"It's Jesus," I said. "Do you believe in miracles?"
"Yes, I do," he said.
"Well, I am a healing in progress," I said.
Dr. Anderson had examined me for the first time since my April 4 release from a five-day stay in UCMC, where they sent me through a battery of tests to clear me for a heart transplant.
God bless you.
I started this healing journey privately, praying to God with my wife Joyce in our home as the revelations of brain cancer, end-stage congestive heart failure and prostate cancer were made in that order by doctors at Northwestern Hospital and the University of Chicago Hospital in April.
Next, I was inspired by my faith in God to audaciously make this journey a public one by inviting the world to watch God work. Before starting this blog, I accepted an invitation to preach the 82nd church anniversary revival of the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 4600 South Martin Luther King Drive, on the nights on May 5, 6 and 8. Thursday night is my last night.
Of all the people that I knew would be behind me prayerfully to the victorious end, true fellow Christians would be my most loyal supporters. So I used this preaching engagement to show that I was not going to let sickness stop me from preaching God's word as I have been doing for 55 years since God called me to preach at the age of nine. When I accepted the call, I vowed to God that I would preach His gospel until I die. So as long as I have the strength to preach, I will do so as the Spirit and my health dictate, not only to fulfill my original vow but to show the world that I am a HEALING IN PROGRESS.
God bless you.
Welcome to the story of the adventure of the healing process that I am undergoing.
My blog will take you with me as I go from serious sickness to, I hope, miraculous recovery, by the grace of God and the aid of God-gifted doctors and nurses.
First, let me describe our outbound point of origin. Last month, destiny dealt me a triple dose of trauma. Doctors at the University of Chicago and Northwestern hospitals examined me over a two-week span and diagnosed three big problems:
• • Brain cancer, which might require surgery.
• • End-stage congestive heart failure, which definitely requires a heart transplant.
• • Prostate cancer, which also definitely requires surgery.
Any one of these diagnoses is enough to drape a man with doom and gloom. But the Lord has seen fit to visit me with all three.
I am a 64-year-old black man, a Sun-Times reporter for 35 years, a Baptist preacher for 55 years.
I have a family history of congestive heart failure, which killed my oldest and youngest siblings, my father and an aunt, and of prostate cancer, which killed three uncles.
Now, it's my turn to tangle with both of those terrors, and brain cancer, too.
Each diagnosis hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks, drove me to my knees in prayer, made me tell my wife and children, to their despair, and motivated me to surf the Internet and question doctors to see what information they could share.
Many doctors prefer that their patients be simple, silent and totally surrendered to whatsoever they suggest.
But it's my life at stake. I already underwent a cardiac triple-bypass in 2001 -- when I was sawed open, had three ribs broken and had a plastic surgeon fail to stabilize my sternum, or breast bone, with experimental titanium plates. The latter required me to undergo a subsequent serious surgery three months later to have the plates replaced with the standard steel sutures.
Since then, I have been determined to make sure I communicate more closely with my doctors, ask as many questions as possible, talk to as many patients as possible and get as much published information as possible to enable me to know exactly what it is that doctors say I have, what options are available, how they compare in effecting a cure -- and how much time do I have for ME to make the decision as to what will be done.
In other words, I have promoted myself to being CEO, as best I can, of my medical dream team, where, first and foremost, God is my primary-care physician.
I invite your feedback after each posting. I am most eager to hear from people who have recovered from similar medical issues, or are still dealing with them, or are caregivers for someone else who has dealt with them.
I cordially invite you all to watch God heal me.
Right now, I actually feel good. I take 10 different pills a day, run at least a mile on my treadmill, eat responsibly, don't do anything strenuous and get plenty of prayer and rest as I also schedule the surgeries that I feel are in my best interests -- unless God postpones them with a cataclysmic healing.
It's going to be one of the strangest, most exciting and -- I hope -- enlightening tales you'll ever read.