God bless you.
This week, two days before Thanksgiving, cardiologist with Northwestern
Memorial Hospital's Faculty Foundation (NMFF) concluded from four days of testing
that at this present time my heart has recovered so well so quickly that they no
longer feel I need a heart transplant or a heart pump at this particular time.
"Don't get us wrong, you are still a very sick man and you certainly need to get
a defibrillator implanted and you may eventually need a heart pump or a heart
transplant," Dr. James Flaherty said. "But not at this time. Based on your good
performance in our stress test and other numbers, we feel that a change in medications,
a continuation of your weight decrease, consistent exercise and heart-healthy
dieting will help you and we want to see how you respond to that in the next few weeks."
Thank you Jesus!!!
I was released from the hospital Tuesday and on Wednesday night when I went
to the Osco Pharmacy in Homewood, Ill., to pick up replacements for five of my
previous 13 medications, I just couldn't help restrain myself any longer. So on a rainy
Thanksgiving-eve night, I cried and shouted in the drugstore as I waited my
pharmacist to fill the prescriptions. Rich (?) and his assistant Marge (?) had to think I
was crazy and couldn't decide whether to call the police or paramedics.
As for my brain tumor? It remains benign and NMFF has taken me off that
medication because it has not affected its size.
As for my prostate cancer? My PSA was determined to have decreased to .49
earlier this week.
"Are you OK, Mr. Banks," Marge said. "Yes, I'm more than OK. I'm just thankful to
God to be alive and to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my family. I have
so much to be thankful for."
I was originally scheduled to by a patient in the Mayo Clinic's St. Mary's Hospital
awaiting a heart transplant 371 miles from Chicago. But again my treatment schedule
has been changed in a manner that more reflects a miracle in progress than a mistake.
So will somebody hold my mule while I shout my shout, pray my prayer or
thanksgiving and dance my dance of praise?
Meantime, happy Thanksgiving everybody. I'm sure having one. In fact, this may be
my happiest to date because, although I am still seriously ill, I'm getting better overall and
I'm home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my three daughters and five grandchildren all
jammed into my home for praise, prayer, turkey dinner prepared by my wife, Joyce,
and sweet fellowship.
Let's retrace our journey so far.
In the spring of 2008, I was at my lowest point in life, physically, emotionally and
mentally, when I was diagnosed with end-stage congestive heart failure. Thus, doctors
at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) and the Northwestern Memorial
Faculty Foundation (NMFF) concluded that I desperately needed a heart transplant.
But they discovered that I had a brain tumor and prostate cancer, which instantly
disqualified as a heart transplant candidate.
After the brain tumor was ruled benign, the prostate cancer was ruled localized
and early-staged with a PSA of 5.5 and started responding positively to radiation seeds
implantation administered on May 21, 2008. Earlier this year, my heart had gotten
worse and UCMC doctors said I needed to have a heart pump implanted or I probably
would not live out this year.
When my PSA had dropped to .83 three weeks ago, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
Minn., ruled me eligible for a new heart and placed me on the heart transplant list as a
Stage 2 candidate. But when Northwestern Hospital agreed to the same conclusion, I
switched my care to the NMFF to cut costs and make it easier for my family to care
for me and visit me. My wife and I could have been in Rochester, Minn., for months
living in hotels and waiting for a transplant.
If that had happened, my wife would have gone months without pay and when my
medical leave expired, we'd have no money coming in and still be charged with paying
bills to maintain a house in Hazel Crest and a temporary residence in Rochester.
Oh, yes. My weight? Well, last weekend while I was a patient in Northwestern
Hospital, it dropped below to 200 pounds to 198.5 for the first time in more than 30
years. Five months ago, I had weighed 255 pounds.
Yeah, will somebody hold my mule while I shout again?
If the superb care provided by NMFF doctors like Dr. Flaherty, Dr. Williams Cotts,
Dr. Jasper Lee, Dr. Robert Gordon, Dr. Smriti Banthia, Dr. Gaurav Chaturvedi, Dr. Amy
Gordon, Dr. Wenyu Huang, Dr. Justin Fox, Dr. Eric Hart, Dr. Timothy Scanlon, Dr. Esther
Shao and Dr. Lisa F. Wolfe was not enough to make to happy, my nurse, Sanyu
Sempebwa brought down the house with a soul-stirring testimony just before I left
The 35-year-old registered nurse escaped the poverty and violent political unrest
in her native Uganda in 2000 with just prayer and a dream. The oldest of six kids born
to a computer programmer and an airline attendant, she earned scholarships and
worked and prayed her way to a degree from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee to
become a nurse. Now, she, her husband Raymond Luganda, a cab driver, and their
daughter, Claire, are happy, hopeful residents of Chicago as she and Raymond look
forward to becoming U.S. citizens.
Now you tell me: ain't God good or ain't God good?
Sunday morning at 11 a.m., I will preach for Rev. Leonard Deville at Alpha Temple
Baptist Church, 6701 Emerald Street on Chicago's South Side. Once he heard of my
latest progress, he offered me a chance to preach about it and that invitation is just
another blessing. This miracle in progress is something I can preach about again and
again and again.
God bless you.