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...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

Hallelujah! I'm back to work.

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God bless you.

Yesterday, Friday, Sept. 19, was a special day for me because I returned to work for

the first time in three months.

Thank you Jesus!

It was the Blackhawks' annual media day that kicks off the team's training camp. It

was held under sunny skies and cool temperatures but inside the United Center, where

some 60 reporters, representing print, radio-TV and the internet media, were on hand

to interview team management and players.

"There's Lacy," team president John McDonough said as he broke court with four

companions and walked toward me with a smile and a stretched-out right hand. "How

are you doing, Lacy?"

"Fairly well," I said, as I smiled back and shook his hand.

Thanks largely to the addition of McDonough's dynamic leadership, the Hawks are

primed to do very, very well this season after a sizzling summer of transactions that have

enriched management, improved team promotions and added new talented veterans to

the core of an exciting 40-34-8 team that featured Rookie of the Year Patrick Kane and

an equally budding star in Jonathan Toews and fell just three points shy of making the

playoffs for the first time since 2002.

"We've been making a lot of changes every year," general manager Dale Tallon

said. "But these have been the most dramatic. We're not going to sit still. But the thing

is now it's exciting because a lot of players want to come play in Chicago after they've

seen what we're doing, the direction we are headed and the type of players we have in

our system throughout.

"It's a very good group of young players, a good mixture and good combination of

veterans who are not just talented and experienced, but who have a lot of good character

as well. It's a really good locker room, they really get along well and they're excited

about getting going. We also are under the cap, which gives us a little room to still make

a deal. So we're going to ice a good team and we're going to keep dealing to make that

team better."

Coach Denis Savard says he is very happy with what he calls ''an improved team

that has a great chance to excite our fans, return to the playoffs and compete hard for

a championship, which is always our ultimate."

It was great to see my media comrades again , led by Sun-Times lead hockey writer

Len Zheim, whom I have been backing. We both are the walking wounded. He is on

crutches after breaking an ankle in a recent fall. But he is a better reporter on one leg

than most writers are on two or even three, if it were possible.

As for me, I'm having to ease back slowly into the grind because I am not yet

completely recovered from my multiple health issues of brain cancer, prostate cancer,

end-staged congestive heart failure, an ailing back and sore left knee. My brain tumor

is benign and is being treated by a pill a week. My prostate cancer is undergoing

radiation treatment from permanently implanted radioactive seeds. My heart is being

treated by the daily ingestion of eight different pills (16 total), diet and exercise. But the

sore back and knee have hampered my exerices on the treadmill, which is bad for my

heart health.

So while I'd not yet fit enough for unlimited, full-time work, I am well enough to ease

back into some assignments that won't require me to climb a lot of steps, sweat too many

tight deadlines or walk anywhere far and fast. I also know that I must arrive earlier for

assignments so that I can better take my time from the very start.

While the back, knee and heart ailments have slowed me, I'm still in no great pain.

My progress, in terms of complete recovery, is slow and perhaps may never reach full

restoration of optimum health. But I'm still alive, I'm slowly feeling better and I am able

to return to work, starting at a slower pace and with a lighter load that will increase as my

health progresses.

I thank all of you fellow warriors and fans for your prayerful support. But most of all,

we thank God for His grace and mercy as we remain healings in progress.

God bless you.

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Ain't God great! Now I'll have to read the sports pages of my Sun-Times. All that you have been through and must go through, God has continued to bless you with your mind, stayed on Him, with the gift of words and the ability to use them, to His glory and to our delight. Yes!

Banks' response: Gwen, sweetheart, thanks so much for your wonderful

greeting and continued prayers. We fellow congestive heart-failure patients must

stick together, pray for and encourage each other. What a wonderful Men's Day

celebration Sunday at Morning Star. But as good as I enjoyed preaching to the

congregation and it enjoyed hearing me, the highlight of the service was me

finally meeting you--portable oxygen tank and all. Deacon Erwin Dabney, my

fellow prostate cancer survivor, also surprised me with his presence. Then there

were the Kizert brothers, David and Milton, veteran Mt. Pisgah deacons who came

to share in the service. I am also happy to see Rev. C.L. Brookins serving as

your interim pastor. I can't think of a better choice. He is one of Chicago's most

venerable vessels in gospel preaching and pastoring. And his son, Rev. Larry

Brookins, is a rising star on the preaching, teaching and pastoring radar. At least

half a dozen cancer survivors came up after the sermon to shake my hands and

tell me they are being greatly inspired by this blog chronicling our struggles and

progress. Yes, God is great and greatly to be praised. Comcast TV was

supposed to have a cameraman there at the church for Sunday morning's service

but canceled out for whatever reason

What phenomenal news!!! What a fantastic journey you have had made. All of the trials that you have had to endure will help someone in the future. Your blog (and the book that you will write someday about God and your recovery) will be filled with hope and inspiration to someone fighting an illness. Your honesty in this blog has been touching. You have allowed us to check in on you during your good and bad days. We’ve seen your ups and downs. Congratulations on being back at work. Enjoy each sporting event you witness, and we’ll enjoy each word that you put to the page. I have always enjoyed your columns and I look forward to reading your stories about the Olympics when they get to Chicago. I have no doubt that you’ll be covering those events for the Suntimes in eight years.
Have a fantastic day Lacy…Have many fantastic days!!!
Stan Ketcik

Banks' response: Stan, Stan, Stan. You da man in demand, Stan. It's people

like you who are the wind beneath my wings. You propel me to excel and prevail

and in turn help me to likewise inspire others. We're in one wonderful network here

that is touching legions in a mighty positive way. Work is good. I'm not yet ready

to dive headlong into the fullscale, full-time, grit, grunt and grind of multiple beats

that keep me riveted down to a rigorous routine. But what little work I'm easing

back into, gradually and systematically, is therapeutic and exhilarating. Work

provides a medicine all its own and it aids healing.

Well, isn't this great news! Congratulations on a major milestone.

There's nothing like exercise - except prayer and meditation - to make a heart healthier, and I'm sure you're doing a lot of the latter. But, being "back in the saddle" has to give you a big boost in feeling better.

Welcome back to the beat.

Banks' response: Exercise is the best medicine for whatever ails us. It does

wonders for the sinuses for us hay fever sufferers. I can can stopped up and five

minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill serves as a quick decongestant and

antihistamine. It doesn't have to be strenuous exercise but consistency is the

key. Working up a nice sweat flushes out harmful toxins and invigorates blood

flow which nourishes, enlivens and enriches the entire body. Some of the

sharpest minds I've ever encountered are housed in heads attached to superbly

conditioned athletes.


Banks' response: Thanks, Tyrone, for reading my blog and posting a comment.

Hope all is well at Mt. Calvary. A couple of your members came over to hear me

preach the Men's Day sermon this morning at Morning Star. Yes, God indeed is a

healer. And you should know because he has healed you. And what a wonderful

instrument we have for our sermons when we can use our first-hand experiences

for illustrations and validations of what we're preaching about. Again, thank you

so much.

Preacher, Preacher, Preacher. What a message! Ain't nothing like the real thing! Those of us who depend so much on Him really know it and long for others to as well. You looked great and you preached Sunday as though the Lord would whip you if you didn't get His message out to His people. My diagnosis is COPD/emphysema. My heart is doing okay, just works extra hard when the lungs aren't doing their job as well as they should, so to speak. My prognosis is not good, but my doctors and I know that God decides. And I'm alright with that. I have limitations but my God does not. And He is so good that He allows me to be accepting of them without complaint. My love to Joyce and family.

Banks' response: Opps. Pardon my misdiagnosis. But I'm happy your heart's

in great shape. And although your ailment is not as serious as I had first suspected,

I pray that you get your healing before I get mine. Comcast TV was supposed to

have a crew there for the Sunday morning service. But somebody forgot to follow

the schedule and nobody was sent. The atmosphere in Sunday morning's service

was so highly charged that even a jackleg could have been inspired to preach.

Please give my best regards to all the members of Morning Star.

Well I am pleasantly pleased to know that you can do as you wish....go back to work and get busy again! God is truly blessing you and I am honored to be a first hand witness. So, take it easy and enjoy working those assignments.
---Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks

Banks' response: Dear baby girl Natasha, my youngest and perhaps most

precious, if not most loving and responsive, daughter, I thank you again for coming

to hear your daddy preach last Sunday. With outstanding, impeccable, supportive

daughters like you, who needs sons? The way you cling to your mother and me

endears you deeply to us. And your frequent visits do wonders for my health. It's

medicine that only Jesus can prescribe and only somebody like you can fill.

Bless You Rev,

This is such good news! I knew God would bring this to pass. I know that this is what you wanted. I feel that if you take it slowly, this could aide in your healing process. You will have less time to think about what you are going through and more time to write colorful commentary for us to read. Does this mean the end of the blog????? No matter, this is not the end of my prayers for you.


Banks' response: Dear Donna, thanks for your kind, encouraging words. Yes,

I will take it slowly. I have little choice. After doing some light yard work Monday, I

found myself dead tired and sweating profusely. It reminded me that I am not

totally recovered, am out of shape and need to carefully work my way back into

the groove. You missed a great service Sunday morning at Morning Star. But I

hope you had just as good a service at your own church.

May God continue to bless you for your testimony of His grace and mercy. Your testimony is an encouragement to me and I am sure it is to others who are in the throes of battling cancer one kind or another. Being able to return to work is the crossing of home plate or making a touchdown. God Bless you and as you continue in the guarded exercise of your vocation and profession.

Banks' response: I thank you for reading my blog and posting a comment. And

I thank God because His mercy is everlasting and his truth endures to all

generations. I haven't crossed home plate yet. I've just gotten back into the game

and I'm stepping up to the plate for another turn at bat. And, Shirley, I'll tell you

right now, I'm not stepping up to bunt on the first pitch. I'm stepping up to swing

for the fences at the first good pitch that comes down the pike. I'm anxious to not

just get on base. I want to score and I want to drive in as many runs as I

possibly can. When I think about the goodness of God and all the great things

that He and His Son, Jesus, have done for me, my soul shouts "Hallelujah!" and I

can dance, dance, dance all nightlong. For as I look back over my life, I can see so

much that my Lord has done for me. He's brought me a mighty, mighty long way. I

thank you for your kindness, Shirley. And I pray that God prospers you

profoundly with his grace and glory.

Welcome back, although I didn't read your column, I have been reading you Blog. God is truly wonderful and I wish you continued good health.

Banks' response: Thank you so much Sonia Shackleford. What a beautiful

name and what a wonderful spirit you have. You didn't have to read my blog. But

you did. You didn't have to comment. But you did. You didn't have to wish me good

health. But you did. And for those things, I am truly, truly grateful.

Rev Banks, It was indeed an honor to pray with you on the Calvary Church prayer line this morning. I know your journey. In Oct of 2004 my 18 year old daughter Keisha was diagnosed with Leukemia. The Holy Spirit instantly informed me that my daughter would was healed. I knew that the doctors where going to come in and say they made mistake. But God had another plan. After chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant Keisha is walking in health. We are still believing God for complete manifestation but look at God!!! She continued to go to school during her treatment and in the fall she began her junior year at Roosevelt University. She is still receiving treatment at Children’s Memorial hospital but she is going great. Her faith and the faith of our entire family is on a totally new level and I am confident that we would not be here if not for our journey. I thank God for Rev. Coleman and the entire Calvary family for standing with my family and I and I am grateful for the opportunity to stand with Calvary as we stand with you and watch God use your journey to inspire others. The people of God and the world need to know that HEALING is now and not back in the “Bible Days”!! I thank you for your testimony and I look forward to the day when we will meet in person. Your’s in Christ, Angela Ziegler

Banks' response: God bless you, Angela. Thanks so much for reading my

blog and for the inspiring testimony about how God healed Keisha. There are

millions of people who need to hear your testimony and there are millions who are

sitting silently on testimonies about great things the Lord has done for them. I

thank God for Pastor Edward Coleman, who hails from an household of priests,

and for Calvary Covenant. That early-morning prayer conference call is an

outstanding ministering tool and an innovative evangelistic idea. What a new

effective way to go ye into all the world. The prayer energy on that conference

call was truly awesome and I must believe that vibrations transmitted from that

call that radiate joy and righteousness and God's glory far and wide. So let's go and

pray it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go pray it on the mountain

that God still hears and answers prayers. Once again thank each and every one of

of you.

Good to see you back at work, sir. Here's hoping for continued good news on your health, and hoping your knee and back feel better. Those treadmills can be rough on the bones; have you and your doctor considered switching to exercise in a swimming pool?

Banks' response: Thanks Luella for reading my blog and for posting a

comment. You are right about the trauma that running on treadmill can exact upon

the ankles, knees and other joints. That's why I try not to pound but to apply a lazy,

shuffle along the run board. But the swimming idea is sound because it is void of

heavy trauma on the joints.

Rev. Banks:
So glad to hear the great news of your triumphant return to work.
As we have shared on several occasions, this is another testament to the awsome healing power of ALMIGHTY GOD. Stay strong and continue to be a beacon of hope to everyone else who may be "going through". Hope to see you at True Vine's Men's Day again next year.

Banks' response: God bless you brother Norris and please relay my best

wishes to Pastor Henderson Hill and the wonderful sisters and brothers of True

Vine of Holiness Baptist Church. Your prayers have been tremendously

instrumental toward my ongoing recovery. First and foremost, we thank God for

hearing and answering our prayers. I still remember with deep joy and appreciation

the wonderful time we enjoyed celebrating Men's Day there earlier this year. True

Vine has a great group of Christian men doing beautiful things for the kingdom of

God. What our community direly needs is more Christian men to head our

familes, our churches and communities. Let us continue to pray one for another.

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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.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on September 20, 2008 3:51 AM.

Heart surgery landed me on insurance companies' death row was the previous entry in this blog.

My blessed comeback begins slowly but surely is the next entry in this blog.

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