Chicago Sun-Times
...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

My blessed comeback begins slowly but surely

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God bless you.

I thank God for blessing me to return to work full time for the first time since going on

sick leave five months ago after being diagnosed with end-stage congestive heart failure,

brain cancer and prostate cancer.

In late March, my heart was so weakened and damaged that Dr. Valluvan

Jeevanandam and his staff of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists at the University

of Chicago Medical Center concluded, after extensive tests, that I needed a heart

transplant to assure me of long-term survival. Nobody ever gave a specific timetable.

But one insider said I needed serious heart surgery involving the implantation of a heart

pump to assure me of living longer than a year.

But when tests qualifying me for heart transplantation revealed cancerous tumors

in my brain and my prostate, I was quickly disqualified from candidacy for heart

transplantation.

I then prayed to God for complete healing from all three illnesses and started this

blog to chronicle the process. My first good news was the determination that the tumor

on the pituitary gland of my brain was benign.

Thank you Jesus!!!

My second good news came when Dr. Allen Anderson, a UCMC cardiologist,

prescribed new medicine to my already crowded medicine menu that relieved me of

the shortness of breath, chronic fatigue and ghastly cough that drove me to the

emergency room in the first place in late March. Those symptoms remain suppressed.

Thank you Jesus!!!!

My third good news came when the prostate cancer was ruled early-stage and

localized. So on May 21, I underwent a radiation treatment called brachytherapy, where

Dr. Brian Moran implanted micro radioactive seeds into my prostate to attack the two

tumors that had been discovered by UCMC urologist Dr. Glenn Gerber.

Since then, I had had scattered writing assignments, as my health permitted, while

spending most of my time and energy undergoing treatment and praying and working for

complete recovery. To you regular readers of my blog, your prayers and encouraging

responses to this blog have provided invaluable encouragement to me. And my

struggles and progress have provided encouragement for others.

My prostate cancer has yet to be totally dissolved. My latest PSA was 2.43. My

goal remains to be declared cancer-free, which means having a non-detectable PSA or

something darn close to it. Painful incontinence issues associated with the prostate

cancer treatment also persist.

Complicating the exercise therapy for my heart are back and legs pains that have

yet to be fully diagnosed and treated effectively. But I am healthy enough to return to

work and I am easing back into the grind because a weak heart won't allow me to do

so any faster.

My first week was successful and enlightening. It reminded me that my heart is still

weak and I must take my time walking from Point A to Point B and also take care not to

take on too much stress and tension.

Steps are one of my main enemies. I can't scale too many too fast because of the

weak heart. And I can't stand too long in lines before back pains force me to sit or bend

over. Nobody said that comeback would be quick and easy. But this is the way my

comeback has started and I'm just glad to be alive and have a reasonable portion of

health and strength to work again.

My best moment of the work week was when my editor Stu Courtney gave me a

great assignment to report on the adoption of a baby girl by 77-year-old Ernie Banks,

former Hall of Fame Cub superstar, and his 52-year-old wife of 11 years, Elizabeth.

Our superb columnist Stella Foster first broke the exclusive and I got the first

interview with the jubilant Liz. She was all gum drops, jelly beans and lolly pops over

her first baby, Alyna Olivia Banks, who weighed in at seven pounds, seven ounces and

20 inches at birth.

If a couple this old is willing to take on the responsibility of adopting a child,

surely younger couples with more energy should be inspired to do the same. But what

Ernie and Liz teach us is that you can never be too old to be a loving, caring, sharing

parent. I'd rather see a baby in their tempered, tender care than in the tempestuous,

chaotic, dangerous care of a younger couple unable to provide love, peace, safety and

wisdom.

In the care of kids, affection trumps age every time.

One of the main reasons our society is so troubled today is because there are not

enough loving parents. That's why what Ernie and Liz are doing is not really that

unusual anyway because more and more children are being raised by their grandparents

and even great grandparents anyway. So I thank God for the likes of Ernie and Liz and

I hope there are more and more like them every day until every child is being cared for by

loving mother and father.

God bless you.



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14 Comments

You are a walking testament to the power of God's healing. May you continue to fight the good fight and find time to enjoy each day.

Sincerely,
Nancy Ellis

Banks' response: Toward the end of his outstanding Christian evangelistic

career, the apostle Paul said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course

and I have kept the faith." In cosmic conjunction with tat statement, Jesus promises

us, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will giove you a crown of life.....He that

over cometh shall not be hurt by the second death." It is my goal and the goal of

every redeemed child of God to fight the good fight of faith, holding on to God's

unchanging hand and looking ever to Jesus, the hope of all glory and the author

and finisher of our faith. The good fight of faith may not always be a painless or a

carefree fight. It may be one filled with tremendous adversity and great suffering.

But at the end of the day, it is a good fight because Jesus promises the happy

ending of His wonderful reward: the "crown of life." And that's life as in eternal life.

That's life as in eternal joy and eternal peace in God's heavenly kingdom. where

there is no more weeping, no more wailing, no more suffering, no more burdens

to bear and no more tears, for God shall wipe away all tears.

God does not demand that we be always victorious, for in this life we will win

some battles and lose others. God does not require us to life a life void of sorrow,

for into each life some rain must fall. God does not require that we successfully

scale every mountain or cross every right in our lives. But God does require that

we keep the faith regardless of trial and tribulation. And if we keep our faith in Him,

He will reward us in the end with a crown of life. Thank you for reading my blog and

for your encouraging comment.

Praise God. I hope you continue on this path. I had CHF 9 years ago, and it just "went away." I'm not asking why, just considering it a blessing. Be well, be thankful, be humbled. :-)

Banks' response: Thank you Ana for your brief but powerful testimony. Those

of us who have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure know how great a

blessing it is to be healed of it. We pray for instant healing. But that's not always

God's will. Sometimes it is our lot to be tried slowly in the furnace of affliction before

our healing is completed. Those kinds of healings perfect our patience and

strengthen our faith to wait on the Lord. And that stronger faith equips us for

greater achievements to the glory of God.

the Lord and

Good Morning Rev,

So you are back to work FULL-TIME??? Praise God. I only expected you to return part-time but God always gives us more than we ask for if we are faithful. I read your article about Ernie and Liz last week. It couldn't be missed since they gave it front page coverage. I applaud them. As it has always been said age is nothing but a number. And if your body and mind are still capable then go for it. I know their child will be loved, spoiled and nurtured. I continue to be amazed at your steadfastness. In spite of your daily pain you continue to 'fight the good fight'. If nothing else comes out of this we all are learning how to face our giants when they should come into our lives. I continue to cover you in prayer daily. You are not where we want you to be YET but you are on the way. I thank God for his blessings thus far and I promised Him I would have patience. Stay encouraged Rev. We have got your back and God has your healing. Have a fantastically blessed day.

Donna


Banks' response: Dear Donna, thank you ever so much for your Kingdom

kinship. You are the stuff of angels and saintly apostles. People like you

empowered the apostles during the infancy of the Christian church. I think of you

and the names of Mary, Martha, Lydia, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth, Salome and

Eunice come to mind. Jesus had many, many girlfriends who were invaluable

accomplices in His ministry and in helping the apostles grow the Christian church.

Thanks for your kind compliments on the Banks adoption story. You will notice from

some of the comments that no matter what good people do, there are always

naysayers and critics to denounce and poke fun at that good for bad reasons. Liz

simply gushed and giggled with great joy in our interview. We who know the joys of

parenthood have to rejoice with her in the fulfillment of her longtime dream. I thank

God for mothers like Liz.


Hello Uncle Lacy!

I am so glad to see that you are doing better and back to work. God is good!! My family and I pray for your continued healing and strength and for also for Joyce, the girls and grandchildren. Love you!


Banks' response: Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. God bless you my sweet niece. Knowing

how favored you have been of our Savior and of your parents, my brother Jimmie

and wife Alice honors and thrills me immensely whenever I hear or read you

address me as "uncle." I pray that God continue to smile upon your and your lovely

family. By the grace of God, your marriage is on firm footing in every area. You and

John are premium examples of how God will bless young people, when they

embrace the upbringing of their Christian parents and live circumspectly in the

fear, love and knowledge of God, His will, His word and Hiw way. Kiss the kids for

me and continue to bathe them in the same love and prayers in which your parents

bathed you. Thank you so very much for thinking of me, praying for me, reading my

blog and emailing a comment.

GOD is GOOD! Please don't stop your blog. It is so encouraging, so uplifting. It is such a joy to know you are back at work with that blessed gift of yours. If you stop the blog, you have got to let us know via e-mail or something when and where you are preaching so we can keep up with you when we can. I don't intend to stop praying for you and I ask that you pray for me. My son will be ordained a deacon at watch meeting at True Vine M.B. Church in San Antonio, TX and my doctor told me I cannot (must not) fly. Well, since I must be there (I sure do want to be) I'll be taking a 34 hour train ride. I've been asking God to take away the dred I have for the trip and replace it totally with the reason. Satan is so busy. Stay in prayer.


Banks' response: Congratulations on the honor your son is receiving with his

ordination into the deaconhood. Perhaps, in due season, another ordination is

headed his way, too. Never underestimate the power of a praying mother on the

faith and lives of her children. Your time-honored love for the Lord and your

devotion to kingdom principles will reap rich reward in the Lord. I praise and thank

God for using you as His heavenly utensil to uplift and empower me. I pray that He

blesses your whole household abundantly with great favor. He ever sees after and

cares for His own. And I really believe that you are among the choicest of His

beloved. Christian women have been invaluable supporters of the Christian faith.

Perhaps more so than men. I'm not proud of this. But based on my knowledge and

experience as a Christian preacher, I have found this to be the case. If not for our

Christian women, our faith and our church could not have survived. And yet today,

too many male church leaders run a pimp pulpit devoted to denigrating women to

third-class citizenship in God's kingdom. I'll scream it from the mountain tops that

I disagree with the apostle Paul's suggestion that women be silent and relegated

to spectator role in the church. If this indeed were the case in the Christian church,

how could we ever get anything worthwhile accomplished?

Pastor Banks, I am glad to hear of your recovery and continued God speed. I first had an opportunity to hear you speak and preach at Cosmopolitan Church, where I am a member. You are awesome and truly a man of God. I know that Lord can heal, so like you I am a cancer survior. Thank God Almighty. I am going to pray for you and please keep me in your Prayers. With God all things are possible.


Banks' response: God bless you Linda for reading my blog and emailing your

encouraging comments. We give God the glory, thanksgiving and praise for the

great things the He continues to do for you and me. We are providential proof of

His healing and delivering powers. And when He heals us, we are not to forget

our manners. First, we should thank Him first and foremost. Next, we must testify

and make known His works among the people. I pray for that you get your complete

healing before I get mine.

God Bless you Rev Banks,

I had a quad bypass at age 35 in 2004. In 2005, I was diagnosed with CHF and in 2006 I was diagnosed with kidney failure. In 2007, I was told there is no longer any signs of my heart or kidney failure, Praise God! I have been hospitalized 2 times in 2008 so far, but for totally different reasons.

Keep the faith, our God is an amazing God!

Benny

Banks' response: Great news, Benny, about how well you have responded to

your triple bypass. I pray that your new health challenges are nowhere near as

critical. Thanks for your encouraging words, too. I thank God for your prayers.

KEEP TELLING OTHERS HOW GOOD GOD IS. WHEN YOU BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH THE BATTLE IS WON ANYWAY. HOW VERY BLESSED ARE WE. YOU ARE A LIVING TESTIMONY. KEEP SHARING AND INSPIRING US ALL. YOU ARE A GIFT.


Banks' response: Loneva, yes, God is good and worthy to be praised. And

faith? Yes, my battle of sickness is a battle of faith. By our faith are we healed. I

have absolute faith in my healing despite my slowness in recovering fullness of

power and stamina. I have already experienced tremendous progress, which

remains ongoing. And just as God takes His time healing me, I am taking my time

enjoying it and making known His works among the people. I dare not slacken

and I dare not tarry because the world is hungry for the Living Bread.

What an inspiration you are. Thank you and GOD bless you for your courageous journey. If it were me I would have been moaning and groaning every single day. I am praying for you Lacey Banks. I know that you will come through this with flying colors. You will be in my prayers every day.


Banks' response: Believe me, I have done my share of moaning and groaning,

crying and sighing. But on the whole, I'm leaning on the everlasting arm of Jesus,

praying for my complete recovery. And I indeed am a healing in progress. Many of

my prayer partners want me to declare the healing complete already. Well, it is

complete in Kingdom reality, but not in earth reality. I want the complete healing

that I can feel and that I can translate into real power and performance while

doctors also confirm that they, too, have scientific evidence confirming the same.

Hi Mr. Banks,

I've been keeping up with your blog off and on for awhile. I caught up this morning and I've been rejoicing as I read and think of God's absolute goodness to you, to me and to all of us. I've also thought of one of the reasons why I was drawn to your story. I think that you and I have something in common; God saved my life and he is saving your life and I think we both appreciate God's gift of life more than other people for that reason. You have been a blessing to me in more ways that I can say. I thank God for you.

Banks' response: God bless you Drew for doing exactly what you are

supposed to do when God blesses you. You are making known His works among

the people. Too many people ignore and forget God after He blesses them. They

go on about their business and don't say one word. Not even "Thank you" to the

good Lord Himself. They may even give credit to their doctors, to their own "strong

constitution" and even to lady luck. But they don't acknowledge that it was and is

the Lord first and foremost who keeps us alive from day to day and who picks us

up when we fall and heals us where we are sick. So I thank you for your

testimony. It pleases God most of all to see you give Him the credit He deserves

for saving your life. There are many who need to know that God is still in the

healing business. we thank God for doctors, for hospitals and for the most

advanced medical technology. But all healing comes FROM God. It may come

through people, through medicine, through doctors and through the help of kind,

competent caregivers. But all healing comes from God.

Lacy,

I hope you are feeling well this morning. I will be over at around 11 am to finish up the the patch work. Hope you had a good weekend!!! Rob


Banks' response: Thanks, Rob, for keeping your promise to read my blog.

Hope it isn't too boring for real healthy, athletic people like you. It certainly is a

comfort and encouragement to people facing serious health challenges and for

healthy, compassionate caregivers. Perhaps you may have called this morning

when I took my grandson Caleb out to a farmstand to buy some McIntosh apples.

Sooner or later, I know you will sheen out that patch to bring it in harmony to the

rest of the wall as best one can. God bless you. By the way, Joe still owes us

the installation of a new floor under the sink. Otherwise, he did a fine job

refacing my kitchen cabinets.

Have another burger, because meat is obviously so good for a person.

Jesus.


Banks' response: Another burger? Me? Where does that fit in, Steve? Anyway,

thanks for tuning in to the blog. Take care.

God bless you, Lacy J.
One of my all-time favorites in covering the NBA those many years. I'm so inspired to read of your personal victories. Keep battling, my good man -- you're the best!
Dwight Jaynes

Banks' response: I love you, Dwight Jaynes. I love you like a brother as do my

tears now running down my face as I think of your friendship, your smile and your

kindness as we worked side-by-side for years covering overpaid, pampered

ingrates and viciously cruel general managers who went out of their way to be

mean because they had great players and successful teams in tow. You didn't have

to write any more than just a "Hi" to make me happy that I am still a thought in

your promethean mind. Thanks for reading my blog and for making a comment.

And if perchance you have a spare prayer lying around somewhere, please share

it with my fellow sufferers and me. I have some of the world's best companions in

people who are suffering from serious health challenges praying to God for

healing as we hold on to His unchanging hands.

I think your blog is great, and I would like to feature you on the new
Wellsphere. We feature only the best health bloggers on our WellPages,
which are special pages that our Health Knowledge Engine crafts to give
our users answers to their health questions. We would feature you on all
the pages on topics that our knowledge engine finds are related to your
blog postings. Because we have over 2 million visitors each month (and we
are growing rapidly), you would benefit from an expanded audience for
your writings. If you would like us to feature you, send me an email.

Cheers, Geoff


BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, Geoff. By all means, let's spread the

word. Only make sure you give our paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, the credit it

deserves because most papers would not permit this kind of blog.

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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 September 28, 2008 11:19 PM.

Hallelujah! I'm back to work. was the previous entry in this blog.

JOB! JOBS! JOBS! America's heart is weak for lack of JOBS! is the next entry in this blog.

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