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God bless you.

Spending one's birthday in the hospital recovering from surgery is no happy thought

and no springboard toward a happy birthday.

But that's my lot since I undergo back surgery Monday morning (Aug. 10) at the

University of Chicago Hospital, where UCMC neuro-surgeon Dr. Frederick Brown will

perform a lumbar laminectomy on me.

Then the next day, Aug. 11, I'll hopefully celebrate my 66th birthday.

Not with a party, which I have never had. But I'll celebrate it recovering from that

back surgery. And the happiest part of that birthday will be simply surviving a successful

surgery with as little pain as possible.

After a hopefully short recovery, unless God gives my heart the miracle healing we

have been praying for, I will then undergo my most serious surgery yet. I will have a

Heartmate2, a left-ventricular-assist-device, implanted to desperately improve my blood


My weakened heart, afflicted with end-stage congestive heart failure, has been

doing a progressively poor job of pumping life-sustaining blood throughout my blood and

that has resulted in a slow-motion death for me. I am experiencing more and more

stiffness, pain and weakness in my fingers and hands, toes and feet and joints.

The bad back has simply made matters worse by preventing me from standing or

walking longer than a minute or two. And the increasing sedentary life is no friend to the

exercise and therapy crucial to improving or preserving the health of my heart.

I have done a lot of study on the heart pump. A very good source of knowledge

and encouragement has come from a new friend named Robert Winston, a 48-year-old

Cabrini Green native who wore a Heartmate2 for a year before receiving his new heart

a month ago at the University of Chicago.

Robert's story is very intriguing, exciting and encouraging. At trimming down some

100 pound from being what he calls a sick, 297-pounder, his congestive heart failure

worsened and resulting in him collapsing into a coma before being rushed to the

hospital and given an implanted Heartmate2 as a bridge to a much-needed, life-saving

heart transplant.

"That pumped saved my life and made me feel better than I had felt in years,"

Winston told me. "The next thing I noticed after getting the pump was that my toenails

and fingernails started growing again. I also started getting back strength in my legs, my

hands, my whole body. It was difficult to adjust to at first, having to depend upon

battery packs and a home console machine plugged into the wall to keep me alive. I

couldn't sleep on my stomach or takes baths or any long trips. But when you realize that

your very life will depend upon those changes, you learn to adapt to them sooner or

later because you have no other choice if you want to live.

"And my main drive was the fact that I wasn't ready to die and didn't want to die.

I loved living and I had a lot of my family, especially my three sons, depending upon me.

Also, the fact the pump made me feel so much better made it easier for me to put up

with the negatives and inconveniences because they were such a little price to pay to

stay alive."

After getting his new heart from a donor half his age, Winston says he so far has

noticed little improvement in the way he felt after having the pump implanted in him.

This really says volumes about the benefits provided by the pump. Obviously, the

heart transplant, if successful and compatible with the recipient, is the better option

because the patient once again is more mobile and self-sufficient. He no longer has

to live being powered by and tethered to a battery pack or an AC console through a

drive line connecting to the D-battery-sized motor that is attached to his heart and

that provides a constant flow blood that no longer includes a heartbeat.

With my health deteriorating, I desperately need the pump and am praying for

a successful and timely implantation.

God bless you.

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BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks so much, Kathy, for taking precious time to pray

and wish me well. Whatever strength I have, Kathy, it cometh from the Lord. I don't

where I'd be, Kathy, if it had not been for the Lord on my side. He kept my enemies

away and turned my midnight into day.

Good Evening Mr. Banks.I am still continuing with my prayers for you and your family.I can almost hear the frustration, fear, and worry in your voice.I know that you are a God fearing man, but at the same time you are still a human being with feelings. Almighty God hears you and will continue to heal and keep you. There is an old saying that goes "If it appears the odds are against you, God is with you" and "The harder the trials the greater the blessings". I am wishing you a speedy recovery. God Bless.

BANKS RESPONSE: Dear Jacqueline. At this very moment, I am sitting in the

operation waiting room besides my wife Joyce and your e-mail has tears rolling

down my face. Thank goodness, I have a handkerchief to wipe them away before

my wife sees them. I'm tired of being sick, Jacqueline. I'm tired of pain and pills. But

it's alright. I know the Lord will make a way somehow. Meantime, He's trying,

shaping and refining me. And if God can get glory out of my pains and tears, then

to God be the glory and thanksgiving and praise.

It's in His hands as it has always been. We just ask Him to fix it! In His way and in His Will, He will! We count on it! O Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, you said if we sought we would find, if we asked it would be given, oh Heavenly Father, we thank you for your grace and your tender mercies, we askYou this morning to guide the hands of those responsible for the care of our brother and if it is your Will, Father, bring him back to us, whole and fit for your purpose. Please increase the faith of those of us, family and friends, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, as we pass through this valley. We bring so much to you Lord, because we know no other to turn to, no other who keeps the promises to those who believe, no other who loves us so much in spite of us, oh Father, please hear my plea this day in the name of your Son, Jesus, Amen.

BANKS' RESPONSE: You are a divine diamond in my life, Gwen. Your

prayer has been drenched with tears of hunger and thirst for God's righteousness

and healing. Father, I stretch my hands to thee. No other help I know. If Thou

withdraw Thyself from me, oh wither shall I go.

I will be praying for you. God will be right there to make it a successful operation. I pray that he heal your body. Yes you are right, you will have a very happy birthday because you would have made it through the surgery.


BANKS' RESPONSE: It's 1:07 p.m. Monday and I should have had my back

surgery by now. I was told to arrive here at 9 a.m., which I did. But the surgeons

have fallen far behind schedule. But that's alright. I'm in God's hands and He's in

control. The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of

trouble. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear. The Lord is the

strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all

that is within me. Bless his holy name. birthday "66" will not be as happy as we all wish it could be. I thank God for the hope that birthday "67" will be an absolute blast--the best ever. May God keep and guide and bless everyone responsible for your care.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I'm still crying, my friend. Crying profusely for some

crazy reason as I type my responses to all my prayer partners. Go 'head on tears.

Who says a man ain't supposed to cry. Real men do cry. Real men praise the Lord.

Real men are not afraid to love. And right now, in my moments of pain and stress,

I am crying over the simple fact that I love the Lord and am taking comfort in His

grace and mercy and in the fellowship of the household of faith. I can feel the fervor

of prayers being poured out on my behalf. It's a nice, warm, comforting feeling, too,

as I also listen to a Tchaikovsky suite. Thoughts of praise drift through my mind as

you prayer partners pray and praise with me. Guide me o' thy great Jehovah.

Pilgrimed through this barren land. I am weak but Thou art mighty. Hold me with

thy powerful hand. Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me 'til I want no more. I

need a bigger handkerchief because the one I've been using is wringing wet. Go

'head on tears. Run wild down my face. Wash and rinse me. I feel the joy of the

Lord. And the joy of the Lord is my strength.

Dear Heavenly Father,
As I type, Rev. Banks is undergoing or in recovery from back surgery. As we prayed a few days ago, we trust that You are indeed in control in the operating and recovery rooms, guiding the doctors, nurses and technicians in treating his body, a body that Your word says is fearfully and wonderfully made. We thank you Father for the knowledge of that body that you have imparted to mankind and allowed to be improved and healed by Your workings through human hands. We believe by faith that Rev. Banks' surgery is a success and that he will feel much relief from the constant pain he has endured for Your Sake and Your Glory. We thank You, God, for all Your blessings in his life thus far, and for miracles yet to be revealed.
In Jesus' name,

BANKS' RESPONSE: Dear, Lord. thank you for human roses like Marie.

Thank you, Lord, for the fragrance of her faith and the perfume of her piety. Thank

you, Lord, for using her to decorate this garden of humanity. Thank you for the

beauty of her charity. Thank you for her giving, caring and sharing heart. Shower

her with blessings supreme and let her soul continue to be a witness for you, Lord.

Grant her the desires of her loving heart so that her joys will be full in Thee. Bless

her whole household, Lord. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

It's after midnight so it's now Tuesday, August 11 and 'officially' your 66th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! It may not be your happiest because of your being in the hospital for surgery and all, but in the Spirit, the Angels are rejoicing because you have completed another year and begun a new year of service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. None of us knows what tomorrow brings, let alone a new year, but Praise be to God, we are still here and available for whatever tasks He has purposed for us from when we were just a thought. I am still amazed that He knew us from when we were in our mothers' wombs! He counts the hairs on our heads and adjusts that count when some fall out or are washed or brushed out. So I again wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY because EVERY day that we wake up is a NEW BIRTH DAY in the Lord. It means that there are unfinished tasks that ONLY we can do, because God chose us individually. So no matter what lies the devil tells, trying to convince you that you are replaceable, don't believe his hype! You are irreplaceable! Certainly fixable and healable and maturable, but never replaceable.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Marie. You are so right. Like any other birthday,

anniversary, holiday or plain day, this is the day that the Lord has made. And as

the acknowledging redeemed of the Lord, we give Him credit for His grace in

granting us that day. So we will rejoice and be glad therein. It's all in divine order

what happens each day. And we redeemed are comforted by knowing that, come

what may from day to day, our heavenly Father watches over us. So as long as

God is in control, all things work together to them that love the Lord and are the

called according to His purpose. And just the recitation of God's words enable us

to wield and execute divine powers because there is power in His word.

Happy Birthday! I, too, have been following your blog and have found a lot of wisdom and encouragement in it. I admire your strength and your unwavering faith, and I find it incredibly inspirational. May you and your family spend a wonderful day together celebrating your life, which is truly a blessing. Sending you and yours many warm wishes!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Kevin and Elisa for looking and for praying in

my direction. I also pray that all is good and getting better in your family's life.

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Peace be unto you and your household, too, Kevin.


Though we have never met, August 11 is my birthday also. When I blow out a candle later this evening, my wish is for your full recovery. After all, August 11th birthday folks need to stick together! By the by, Dr. Brown operated on my friend Brian Neichwiej a few years ago...successfully. Happy Birthday!

James Drury

BANKS' RESPONSE: Hey, fellow birthday brother. Long life to you and Happy

Birthday, too,


I live in Detroit and just happened upon this site. I, too, wanted to wish you a wonderful birthday and a blessing from the top of your head to the soles of your feet that you are made completely whole. Continue to have a wonderful day because so many people care about you without even knowing you. Happy Birthday and many many more.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Blessed be the name of the Lord. For in the name of

Jesus and y His stripes, we are healed,

Been enjoying your tough-line commentaries for some time. Here's wishing you the easy-road recovery. Think Mike-Singletary-tough and we'll be reading your column for many years to come. Hang in there, Lacy, we're with you!

BANKS' RESPONSE: My hope is in Jesus and on Christ the solid rock I stand.

Mr. Banks,

As a native (but now expatriate) Chicagoan, I am SO sad to hear of your health troubles! I cannot wish you enough good wishes from afar -- now, GET BETTER! And know that there are many whose lives you have touched that you may never know about -- but we are all wishing you a speedy recovery!



BANKS' RESPONSE:Thanks ol' Buddy Alan. It's great to see you ascending

into higher spheres of fame and fortune. Rise on, my friend and ma yGod bless

you more and more until we meet again.

I wanted to wish you well during your recovery from your recent surgery. I underwent open heart surgery just three years ago and although the recuperation was rough, I feel fantastic now and am so glad I decided to take the advice of my doctors and have immediate surgery. My prayers are going out for a speedy, full recovery. God bless you and your family who will be helping you during your recovery stage.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Carrie, for your inspiring testimony. I am

happy that your heart operation was a success and that you have recovered from it.

Dear Mr. Banks, I pray that your surgery was successful and that you are feeling better. I have never read your blog before, but feel as though God led me to read it today. Before i read your blog, I was worrying about all the stresses in my life. Which seem extremely small in comparison to what you have been facing. It really lifted me up and helped me see things clearer. My nephew Josiah (5 months old) had open heart surgery on July the 16th to repair a hole that covered a very large part of his tiny heart. He is very ill still, but he is a fighter. He is a patient at University of Chicago as well. His parents, family and friends have been in constant prayers for his recovery. Today I add you to that list. God Bless you Mr. Banks. Thank you for being a blessing to me today.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Oh what a mighty God we serve. Thanks for adding me

to your prayer list as I am adding Josiah to mine.

If you know God - then you know faith and healing.. Keep praying as i will pray fro you.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Mrs. H.

Mr. Banks, These words of encouragement come all the way from Arizona. Go on and cry because your tears are helping to water your harvest! I pray, in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that your body be healed. I pray that He will give you an abundance of strength and an increase of His never-ending favour. The word says, "Though they(your health issues) try and slay you, yet will you trust Him". His promises are true and He promised never to leave you alone. Lean on Him and cast ALL your cares on Him because He cares for you. I'll be waiting to read your testimony. Bless you and stay uplifted and encouraged.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank God for Job and for his life's testimony. Bad

things still happen to good people. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory

through Jesusu Christ, Our Lord. In the final analysis, Jesus always has the last

word and that assures us of surviving anything.

Well, that heart of yours must just be wearing out from so much use! The "Wizard of Oz" said that a heart isn't measured by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others. Now, look at all these people who have come to wish you a happy birthday. It may not be pumping too good right now, but it's a big heart.

Isn't it amazing that you have had 66 years? We think of so many who have gone before us, and many at a younger age. And now, after so many miles, they've pulled you into the garage to give you a tune-up, so that you can continue to bless the lives of your family, your friends, and your readers for a long time to come. And you can be a living testament that all things are possible in this world that God so perfectly made.

When we're in the midst of the battle, we may feel like giving in or giving up. Weariness can make us tired. But, we know that, at any moment, anything can happen. And isn't that wonderful?

I'm smiling with anticipation of reading your entry after that pump is in and you're feeling like you're 36, instead of 66.

Happy Birthday, Lacy.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you for your birthday greeting. In times like

these, the love, compassion and encouragement that so many have shown to me

during my 17 months of health struggles, constitute the best birthday presents I

could have ever received before, during and after my Aug. 11 birthday.

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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 August 9, 2009 2:44 PM.

BACK SURGERY NEXT AS PROSTATE CANCER SUBSIDES. was the previous entry in this blog.

SOMETIMES, EVEN THE INSURED HAVE TO FIGHT FOR CARE is the next entry in this blog.

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