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...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

One surgery down, ??? to go.........Praise God!

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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.


As usual, Joyce got out of bed before me, bathed and dressed. After we made up our common

king-size bed together, we knelt at the foot of the bed and prayed for God to see us through the day with

no complications. Our baby daughter Natasha called to pray us well. Noelle and Nicole also called Joyce to

assure us their prayers were with us. And off we went to the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center in

west-suburban Westmont for my 10:30 a.m. appointment for the world-renown Dr. Brian Moran to

implant my cancerous prostate with radioactive seeds.


Before we go farther, pause with me and give a prayerful shout out to all my fellow suffering warriors

fighting to survive cancer. I'm especially grateful to and prayerful for my Sun-Times colleague Roger

Ebert and my longtime idol Senator Edward Kennedy. I draw strength and encouragement from the

courageous battle Roger and honeybabysugarpie Chaz have been waging against his cancer. And I pray

that Senator Kennedy joins Roger and me in defying the naysayers and doing better than they have

projected. I'm more fortunate that my brain and prostate cancers are operable and that the brain tumor

is benign and treatable with medication.


Like so many Americans, I've admired the supreme sacrifices and selfless service members of the

Kennedy family have made to help our nation continue its stride toward peace, prosperity, freedom and

joy for all. Few families have lost as much in their giving to our nation's leadership. Many are calling

Kennedy the last in the Kennedy line in terms of magnanimous service, but certainly not the last of his

breed. I really think Barack Obama is of the same ilk.


Meantime, back to the CPCC. As we drove I-294 from Hazel Crest, Joyce and I listened to a CD of an

old watch night sermon I preached at Fellowship 12 years ago entitled, "I'm Just A Rubber Band

Being Stretched in God's Hand." It is about how Hezekiah, bed-stricken with a terminal illness, turned

from his wall of time to God's wall of eternity and prayed to God. In turn, God stretched his life by writing

out a cashier's check for15 more years. Hezekiah then cashed that check at the First National Bank of

God's Amazing Grace and it was shouting time in his house that day.

It was a sun-splashed Wednesday . We arrived at the CPCC on time, kissed and went into the facility

that Dr. Moran says did "1,100 brachytherapies last year, which amounts to roughly 80 percent of the

total performed in Illinois. We will do about 1,400 this year."

I was the eighth of 10 that the CPCC performed Wednesday. Because of my end-stage congestive

heart failure and my brain cancer, University of Chicago Medical Center urologist Dr. Glenn Gerber

suggested that I undergo the radiactive seeds implantation, or brachytherapy, because he had

diagnosed that the malignancy of my cancerous prostate tumors was early-staged and localized.

Nevertheless, I still explored the option of my cardiac surgeon, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, who

recommended what he felt was the best-case scenario of having a Heartmate XVE LVAS implanted

through open-heart surgery to strengthen my body for a radical prostatectomy. The latter is a radical

invasive operation, where the entire prostate is removed and where a determination can be made within

days whether one is "cancer-free." But prostatectomy is an in-patient procedure that involves hours of

surgery (even with robotic assistance), at least four or five days of being hospitalized, having to be

fitted with a catheter and bag to collect one's urine for at least five days, more painful side effects,

greater chances of subsequent impotence and more follow-up.

After talking with my good friend and mentor, Rev. Samuel Hinkle, pastor of Homewood's

Cathedral of Joy Baptist Church, I was encouraged to follow his example and was praying to enjoy

similar success.

"I had my prostate cancer treated with the radiation seeds at Northwestern Hospital in 2002," Rev.

Hinkle said. "It was relatively quick, painless and within a month or two I had reached the cancer-free

status. Now, this isn't for everybody. Especially those who may be in a more advanced stage of the

disease. But because mine was caught early, thank God, I could opt for the minimum invasive procedure.

I didn't want to risk suffering too many damaging side effects like impotence and incontinence.

"But, again, the key is for men, especially African-American men, to have regular prostate

examinations every year to stay on top of this disease, which is the most common cancer that men

suffer."

I likewise did not want to suffer many painful and damaging side effects. And at the tender age of

64, Rev. Dr. Lacy J. Banks sure did not want to be left impotent. (Please smile.)

Anyway, my procedure lasted just 40 minutes. My team comprised Dr. Moran (radiation oncologist),

urologist Dr. Paul West, nurse Rose Vrbos, anesthesiologist Maricio Orbegozo, technician Michael Foster,

pre-op nurse Nancy Gresham and post-op nurse Wendy Floyel.


The only negatives of the process was a painful hook-up of the IV into my left arm, the painful

injection of the anesthesia medication, which had my arm feeling like it was on fire and had me

groaning until I passed out, and what I considered the excessive post-op invitation for me to urinate

before I was good and ready. I knew they wanted to make sure there was no instant complication in that

area. But their insistence gave me the feeling that somebody was anxious to knock off for the day,

which I did not like.

Anyway, when I did urinate, I was relieved that the burning sensation was very, very mild--

certainly tolerable. As for the painful IV hookup, I've long had a beef with hospitals and clinics that seem

to hire the worst people to draw my blood or hook up my IV. I think that this is a very important

procedure and my experience has been that the older the person is, who is drawing my blood, the fewer

and less painful the needle-stickings.

Needles have never been a friend on mine, especially when the person doing the sticking does so

painfully and without success. One night after my triple-bypass at the UCMC seven years ago, eight

different people stuck me 12 different times trying to draw blood. Lacy Banks, not the reverend, cussed

out the eighth person and refused to let anybody draw any more. That was pitiful. I now refuse to give

anybody more than two chances to draw my blood. Once they frown and start fumbling around on this

hand, that hand, this arm, that arm and restart the process, I invite them to find somebody else.

And I really, really appreciate it when the technician confesses up front that he isn't sure and gets

somebody who can find my vein, rather than poke and poke and accuse me of being "a difficult stick" or

of having "rolling veins" or some other scapegoat excuses.

I feel like shouting when a technician, and I hope that's the proper term, feels my arm (not arms)

gently with his or her fingertips, says, "There it is. That's a good one," then needs only one poke and

strikes a gusher. I feel like hugging those who draw it so well that I hardly even feel it.

Oh yes, and another thing, why is it that the technicians in the blood-drawing labs of Northwestern

hospital and UCMC are either mostly black or all black? Hmmmmm. Just wondering.

We were out of the CPCC by roughly 1:30 p.m., dropped by Whole Foods to pick up soup, sushi,

orange juice, carrot juice, grapes, mandarin oranges and peaches. By 2:30 p.m., we were back home and

Joyce took over where the doctor left off, making sure I took me meds and ice packs at the proper times

until she retired for the night around 10:30 p.m. after looking at her daily soap opera recordings.

I stayed up and watched one of the most exciting comebacks I've ever seen on TV when the Los

Angeles Lakers opened Game 1 of the Western Conference NBA finals rallying from a 20-point,

mid-third-quarter deficit to a four-point win after NBA MVP Kobe Bryant took over the game and scored

25 of his 27 points in the second half. That comeback was almost as improbable as Bulls marketing chief

Steve Schanwald working his mojo to parlay a 1.7 percent long shot into the No. 1 pick in the upcoming

NBA draft.

Obviously, Derrick Rose's decision not to attend the University of Illinois but Memphis, which lost to

my alma mater Kansas in the NCAA championship game, ironically worked to bring him back home after

all to play for the Bulls if they choose to pick him.

I enjoyed the replay of the Lakers-Spurs game twice and went to bed at about 4:30 a.m. feeling

little pain and needing no more ice packs at 1 a.m. And when I awoke Thursday morning, I felt hardly

any discomfort except for slow urination. And to my surprise, I discovered from Dr. Moran that the

seeds were not implanted through a tube inserted into my rear as I had thought, but through long

needles stuck directly into my prostate from the perineum area just behind my scrotum.

According to my post-op report, Dr. Moran implanted 87 of those 1-125, source-type,

micro-nuclear warheads into my prostate at strategic locations to bombard my tumors and dissolve

them over a two-month period.

"Why didn't I see blood at the punctuation marks?" I asked.

"That's because we do such a good job," Vrbos beamed when she called to make sure I was doing

well.

According to Moran, I am making exceptional recover. Rev. Hinkle and I shouted for joy and he

prayed thanksgiving to our Almighty Jehovah Yahweh after I gave him my progress report. I felt so good

just overall that I even wondered if Dr. Moran really did operate on me.

"We get that compliment a lot," he said. "You will probably feel more discomfort later when the seeds

really start to working, however. And your urine stream may be slower and be clouded with some

blood."

Then again, maybe I won't. If and when I do, you will be among the first to know. While there is now

a two-week moritorium on me doing more than hugging and kissing my wife, I also now have to

wait a couple of months to see my PSA drop to 1 or less, compared to at least a week if I had had a

prostatectomy, I'm happy so far with my $30,000 procedure, perhaps one fifth the cost of a

prostatectomy.

Now, I will give more attention to my end-stage congestive heart failure. But as good as

I am starting to feel, I may not even need a heart operation, not to mention a heart transplant. And that's

miracle territory.

God bless you.

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11 Comments

I just want to fuss, just a little bit. We are praying for your health and strength, your life. Our God is a good God, a wonderful healer, a God of His Word. Joyce, if I may be so familiar, is more than happy with hugs and kisses!!! I'm sure she's told you that, so believe it! I'm through with the fussing. Your forthrightness is so refreshing, so uplifting and I keep telling others about this blog. Sometimes we take our blessings for granted or feel God is not doing big things in our lives, but when we learn to witness the blessings in others lives we can only remind ourselves, "if He can do it for you, He can do it for me." Thank you so much for allowing us to witness and giving us the opportunity to spread some GOOD NEWS! Stay strong.
Banks' response: Thank you so much for your empowering prayers, encouragement, support and understanding of my selfless aims. I hope to enlighten and uplift others who are headed my way healthwise or are already battling various afflictions. I've gained the same from others like Pastor Hinkle, who have proceeded me and are sharing their experiences with me. Knowledge indeed is power. And no knowledge is greater than the knowledge the Truth, Jesus Christ.

Good Morning Rev,

It is good to hear from you as always. On Wednesday I prayed for you all day. I pray for you every day but on Wednesday everytime I would go to the Suntimes web page I lifted you up in prayer. God is so good. I am thanking Him in advance for your healing. I am thanking Him in advance for the Doctors that he has placed in your life. Most of all I am thanking Him for you and how you are witnessing to us so that when our time comes we will know what to do. Each time I read your blog I am moved to tears. You are truly living the life that you preach about. This is going to be life-changing for me. God Bless and keep you, Joyce and the girls. Talk to you soon.

P.S. I live in HazelCrest too!!!

Banks' response: Donna. Donna. Donna. The grace of God is strong in my life and there is an holy harvest going on in my household. The hand of God is heavy on my middle daughter Noelle, a devout single-mother Christian, who just rocked my soul with a fervent prayer 20 minutes ago. I will tell you and the rest of our fellow passengers about it in my next entry. I felt chest pains early this morning and they baffled me after I had felt so good all daylong. I went to Noelle first, humbled myself to God through her and phoned her to pray for me. She shellacked me so with her supplication that I felt like the very shekhinah of God had swept over me.

We thank God for His healing powers, His mercy, and His grace. We fall short, but He still shows up!!! Thank you!!!!! Love you daddy and He is allowing you to be a testimony. Continue to let Him use you for His good and for the sake of being a blessing to others.
Miss Natasha Sarah-Lorraine.......

Banks' response: May God prosper your growth in His grace and anointing day after day my darling daughter.

Rev. Lacy,
Bless you with Joy and Happiness!!
We continue to lift you up and pray constantly for you healing.

Banks' response: Aaahhhh. Must be a daughter of Cathedral of Joy. Bless you back Jeanette.

Hi,Rev. Banks,

I was glad to come across your blog today. Your sharing your fears and your faith with your fans is truly upliftiing.

I myself am a 1 year robotic prostatectomy prostate cancer survivor, so I'm delighted your brachtherapy put you in a better place physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I too found prayer essential to my healing process. Like you I continue to feel that there's no better way to gain strength than sharing your experiences and insights with others, wherever they are at.

Godspeed!

Ed Weinsberg
Rabbi Edgar Weinsberg, Ed.D., D.D. (Sarasota, FL)
author of CONQUER PROSTATE CANCER:
How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex
Can Renew Your Life
(to be published in Sept. 2008)

Banks' response: God bless you Ed. How did your prostatectomy go? How long was your recovery? Side effects? How long did it take for you to reach minimal PSA count or cancer-free status?

God will not leave you empty when you are pouring so much into the lives of others by sharing your struggle. Amen.

Banks' response: Thanks for your empowering encouragement.

Good Evening Rev. Banks,

I am very glad that you and your family are sharing this very personal and private time with us. I am honor and bless by your strength, faith, and determination.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your healing power and for your desire to heal your people. I come to you now on behalf of Rev. Lacy Banks who suffers from, prostrate cancer, brain cancer and congestive heart failure. I ask you, Lord, to heal his body and to restore him to complete health in you. There is a balm in Gilead, Lord and you are the One who brings healing to the human body. You created our bodies and you are the Great physician who knows exactly what we need in order to be well. Lord, Jesus,you commanded your disciples to heal the sick and you healed all who were brought to you. Your word says that with your stripes we are healed and that you are the Lord who heals us. Your took our infirmites and carried our diseases. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. You said to pray for one another that we may be healed and the prayer of faith will save the sick and raise him up. In faith, I now bring Rev. Banks to you, and I beseech you, Lord, to heal him even as you healed the lame, blind and afflicted when you walked the earth. All power in heaven and earth is yours. O Lord; impart your supernatural healing power to Rev. Banks. Send healing on the wings of your Spirit,Lord to him. You have promised to he his healer.Do not permit this affliction to remain with him. Bless the Lord, O my soul. All that is within me bless your holy name. I will not forget your benefits, Lord. You forgive all our iniquities and you heal all our diseases.
I hope in you, O Lord. I will ever praise you. Thank you for bringing health to Rev. Banks and for healing him. Glory be to your name forever and ever. In Jesus name, Amen

Banks' response: Thank you Rev. Weathersby for your prayerful support and encouragement. God bless you and your wonderful family. Please relay my best regards to the redeemed at Christ Tabernacle.

Hi Rev. Banks (dad),

Reading your testimony in this blog is a huge inspiration and we are all looking forward to your complete healing. Nicole, Lauren, David, TJ, Nina and myself and my parents are praying for you. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony and showing us what God has done, what He is doing and what He is going to do for your healing. God bless ya!

Larry

Banks' response: Thanks, son. As an hard-working, faithful, loving, Christian son-in-law, you are the answer to every Christian father's prayer and dream. Your email is so timely. I just got off my treadmill where I did 2.56 miles nonstop in 55 minutes. It was the first time I had done this extensive an exercise since my radioactive seeds implantation six days ago. What impressed me most about this exercise was its relative ease. I really could have done three miles, but decided to take things in stride and gradually work my way up to three. I am not in a real hurry for God to heal me of anything sooner than He wills to do so. I simply know that He will. How He chooses to do it, when He does it and how quickly and in what order He does it is His business. My job is to have faith and to wait on the Lord and to be of good courage so that He will strengthen my heart.

Dear Rev.Banks,

To answer your questions: My recovery from robotic prostate surgery in April 2007 was mercifully quick,and relatively stress-and pain-free, due to prayer preparations and pain and stress reduction techniques like visualizing my rapid recovery in advance of my operation. I describe this in detail in Conquer Prostate Cancer, - my new book coming out this September.

I had bladder complications, hence wore a catheter for 18 days (ten days more than normal), but it was no big deal, just a minor inconvenience, and no problem after a month. However, E.D., was and remains an issue,in part due to my taking Lupron before the surgery. My first urolgoist administered this to deliberately put me at castrate level for a few months to suppress testostrone and avoid "feeding" the cancer, while shrinking the cancerous prostate. That lowered my libido for nine months and more. It was an error in judgment on his part, since prostate cancer tends to grow slow. Thank God I'm making progress now, 13 months later, due to a vacuum pump and the "little blue pill" (Viagra)

In my book I spell out all these and other details "up close and personal," - much like your blog, and I profiled another 20 patients, including clergy, with some doing better and some doing worse than I did. I bounced back quickly and was back to full activity one or two weeks after the surgery, after a one day hospital stay. Kind of amazing, but I thank God and those who do His work, including my second urologist, - a highly skilled, humane doctor - a combination that can't be beat!

My book, like your very helpful blog comments, aims to give people hope that you can conquer prostate cancer physically, emotionally and spiritually, as well as due to the rapid advances of modern medicine.

I wish you continued, rapid healing for your sake, and for the sake of your family and your many fans!

Ed Weinsberg
Rabbi Edgar Weinsberg, Ed.D., D.D.
Sarasota, Florida

Banks' response: Wow! Can't wait to read your book Ed, especially since you vow to share the personal, intimate details to give us a real picture of how your experience can challenge and change your life. I am still curious about other side effects you still may be experiencing to include in continence, pain, how many pills you take a day, how has your diet changed, what has been your PSA counts since the procedure and what does it have to be before you are clinically declared "cancer-free." I am told that that the latter varies depending upon the individual involved because some people have a family history of high PSA with no incidence of prostate cancer. Did you also consider seeds? Did you take radiation beams in addition to prostatectomy? I know you'll be covering these and more in your upcoming book. But inquiring minds want to know because prostate cancer is as popular to men as breast cancer is to women. Yet, women have been much more willing to write about their battles with breast cancer than men have been able battling prostate cancer. Maybe it's our macho that make most us men shy away from the subject. Prostate cancer tends to have an unduly negative image in terms of the patient's sexual prowess. Prostate cancer and the various treatments for it are not death sentences to one's libido and ability to enjoy sexual intercourse. I don't yet know that for a fact because I just underwent brachytherapy a week ago today. But I have felt the urge and experienced encouraging signs that full power will be restored in all functions.

Great...I love this post, I got more info here, Thanks.Really happy to read this, I too interested in these types of blogs....I am looking for anyone who has had a successful experience with Any Pharmacy..

Banks' response: Yes, there's still plenty medical gold in 'dem 'dar trees,

leaves and vines. Most all medicines come from Mother Nature in some form or

another. If only man would stop savaging nature, especially the rain forests, which

could yield some herbal remedies for diseases yet incurable. Thanks for reading

the blog.

Nice post. This is a great information for me. Thanks for sharing.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks for reading.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on May 22, 2008 1:44 PM.

Lacy Banks on Comcast SportsNet was the previous entry in this blog.

A healing in the midst of holy harvest is the next entry in this blog.

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