God bless you.
Don't believe it when anybody tells you "a man ain't supposed to cry."
That's a lie. Real men do cry. Mean, inhuman and insensitive males may not. But
real men cry. Take me, for example. This morning (Saturday, Aug. 23), I broke down.
Yes, me, Rev. Lacy J. Banks, the strong preacher, great man of faith, Sun-Times
reporter, loving husband, father and grandfather, brave freedom fighter and resident
tough guy. I broke down. Sitting at the kitchen table, with my face looking out the window
at the tall trees dancing in sunny summer breezes and with my back facing a counter
top holding some 20 different medications and vitamins, I cried.
I cried because, for another crashing moment, I had gotten tired of being sick, being
in frequent pains, mounting medical bills and being cooped up in my house for most of
the day and night.
Tired of taking so many pills.
Tired of the frequent new pains in my lower back, my groin area and legs.
Tired of not being able to get on my treadmill consistently and work up a good sweat
with a workout that's also good for my weak heart.
Tired of waiting, perhaps most of all, on my healing to be complete.
And then the worst part of me dared to question my own God, my very rock, my
shepherd, my light, my salvation, my refuge, my strength and my very present help in
the time of trouble.
I dared to ask the question, "Oh Lord, how long? I know You're healing me. But
when will You be finished? What's taking so long? I want to be strong and pain-free
again. I want to go back to work for the paper covering and writing about the world's
strongest and healthiest human beings. I want to take my grandchildren to the park
and movies again. I want to go out with my wife more. I want to be better able to help
take care of my aging mother-in-law. I want to dance in the sunshine and run in the
rain and get back on the treadmill for hourlong runs. Oh, Lord, how long?"
Then when I realized what I was doing, I felt ashamed and even angry at myself.
I felt I had let God down, let you down and let myself down. When I started this blog
four months ago, after being diagnosed with brain cancer, prostate cancer and
end-stage congestive heart failure , I felt feisty and furious for the Kingdom of God. I
wanted to show the world through this blog that God not only would heal me, but that I
would be a perfect model of a faithful, patient, tough and courageous recipient of the
It was great encouragement when a Northwestern Hospital oncologist told me that
her extensive test results revealed that the cancerous tumor, discovered on my brain's
pituitary gland by some 100 MRI X-rays, is benign. That was one healing down and two
more to go.
Dr. Allen Anderson, UCMC cardiologist, added new medicines that relieved my
weak heart of the malfunctions resulting in shortness of breath and fatigue to the extent
that I no longer immediately needed a heart transplant.
Then on May 21, Dr. Brian Moran, renown radiations oncologist, performed
brachytherapy on me to help dissolve and destroy my prostate tumors.
But while the radioactive seeds were causing painful side effects in dissolving those
tumors, back and leg pains, that had been only occasional over the last two years, now
became more frequent and severe whenever I'd stand or walk for more than a few
So, Saturday morning, home alone, after my dear wife, Joyce, had gone out for her
usual Saturday morning chores and shopping, and I had refused her standing invitation
to join her, I suddenly found myself holding an unscheduled and most rare pity party that
moved me to tears of sadness and madness. But in the midst of the crying, I sobered up
with the knowledge that God is still blessing me, regardless of my frailty and fallibility.
And when that happened, those tears changed in midstream from being tears of
sadness and madness to tears of gladness.
Relieved, I then called a faithful friend and prayer partner of mine, Deacon Erwin
Dabney, who, along with Deacon Jimmy Coleman, has been a staunch supporter
helping me to excel and prevail in my latest health issues. Deacon Dabney is also a
prostate cancer survivor, who underwent his brachytherapy, radiation treatment and
chemotherapy in August of 2007.
When I shared news of my mounting discomforts with him, I was relieved to
discover that he was still dealing with the same symptoms, though his are less
severe now because he is taking some medicines that I can't yet take because they
conflict with my heart medications.
Obviously, my situation has always been more complex because of the weak heart.
If I only had to deal with the prostate cancer, that would have been easier. But to have to
deal with prostate cancer, brain cancer and end-stage congestive heart failure forces my
doctors to reconcile conflicts with medications. So some of my symptoms are having to
go untreated or treated with less intensity.
Then in my conversation with Deacon Dabney, I broke down in tears again. But this
time, they were tears or thanksgiving and praise. I am thankful to know first-hand that
some of my most severe symptoms are common to most of my colleagues, who are also
battling prostate cancer. Knowledge is power. Deacon Dabney's revelations greatly
relieved my anxiety. He has been where I am and is faring better as the results of his
I also got great cheer, consolation, encouragement and comfort from another
friend, who called just to check on me and assure me that God still loves me.
But even though this happened in the privacy of my home, I felt obligated to be
honest with you, who are being encouraged by me. And so, here are some confessions.
Yes, I'm strong. But these health issues have taught me that I'm not as strong as I
thought I was. I have limitations, too.
Yes, I have faith that God will completely heal me completely of each health
problem that I have. But I often am haunted by anxiety and impatience during my
I'm going to try harder to do better. Occasional preaching engagements help me
to stay active, praise God for His goodness, encourage others with similar problems and
pick up new prayer partners. I'm looking forward to preachinf Sunday morning (Aug. 24)
at First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, where Pastor John Belser was among the first to
assure me his church was praying for me and offered me a standing invitation to come
preach about my latest evangelistic assignment of being healed by God.
I'm thankful. And here comes those tears again. I'm thankful that I'm still alive and
not in as much pain as others in similar situations.
I'm thankful for my wife, my children and grandchildren, my sisters and brothers in
flesh and Christian spirit.
I'm thankful for a decent job with good health insurance benefits.
I'm thankful to have access to good doctors who are accessible and helpful and who
also love and respect God.
Most of all, I'm thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered more
than any of us will ever suffer, shed His blood on calvary as a remission for our sins,
died on the cross one Friday to pay for our sins and then arose from the dead Easter
Sunday morning to assure our salvation of eternal life. So, just as Christ arose from
the dead, so shall we if the Rapture return of Jesus doesn't come first.
God bless you.