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...with Jesus, doctors and common sense


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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 hospital.

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.

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And the hits just keep on coming!

What an early Christmas present you've gotten! Your story teaches not only valuable lessons of faith, but valuable lessons of diet and exercise as well. I struggle with my own weight issues and your entry reminds me how it is my duty to care for the body I've been given. I need to do a little better by it than I have.

And for those of us who haven't gotten that needed miracle, your story reminds us to abide with patience and to remember that, behind the veil of illusion that is daily life, all things are working for good.

To say "God Bless You" to Lacy J. Banks would be redundant. So I say: Thank you, Lacy J. Banks, for sharing the story of how God has blessed you, and for reminding us that there are blessings enough to go around. We, like you, must not lose hope.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Believe me, John, nobody can ever get too many "God

bless you" greetings. Nobody has ever over-dosed on such a glad tiding of great

joy. Especially at this time of the year when we have entered the season of the

most blessed triple crowns of holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's

Day. You are so right in your calling the monotony of everyday life an illusion of

sorts because it does tend to lull too many of us into a false security. We think

that the frequency with which our tomorrows keep rolling our way trick us into

believing or acting like they always will. We fail to realize that one of those

tomorrows surely will be our last. The uncertainty of when can be comforting. But

not so much that we fail to keep preparing for the inevitability of its absence. So

we must esteem today and not sacrifice it for a tomorrow that may never come.

That's one of the major pluses of serious sickness. It forces one to slow down and

even stop and give thanks for the todays that we do have. Sickness helps stop

us from taking life and all its derivatives for granted. I've learned to stop gulping

down my todays like a thirsty man does a glass of water where he drinks and

swallows so madly that he may waste some or even chock. I have now taken to

sipping life slowly, carefully and caringly. That way, I'm enjoying it better and

living it more efficiently. Live life to the fullest? Perhaps, thanks to the grace of

God, I have doing so today better than ever.

Dear Rev. Banks,

I will hold your mule for sure. In fact, let's take turns so I can get a shout on too! Or maybe we'll just let that mule do whatever it wants, perhaps it needs to get its shout on too. I can just imagine all the joy and thanksgiving and praises that went on in your house last Thursday. Is that where all that joyful noise was coming from? (-: You are indeed a walking, talking miracle and God isn't through with you yet. Hallelujah! Glory to God! for all the Great Things He has done. Continuing in prayer, Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Marie, our tear glands were no match for this

Thanksgiving. Especially with my three grown daughters. they're old enough now

to realize the finitude of life. My mother died when I was 11. And although it hurt

me dearly and made me cry, it hurt me even more when I grew grown enough to

better understand what she meant to me and how sad it was for her to die so

young at 43 and leave eight children behind. My father died at age 64. But I cried

many times before then at the thought of his one day dying. I don't care if your

mother or father lives to be 100 years old, it still hurts to lose them. I welcome you

to be my shouting partner any time. And you're right about the mule. I'm sure that

if my mule gives it some thought, he will realize that he has a lot to shout about

also. And why not? The bible says "Let everything that has breath praise the


Dear Mr. Banks,
Thank you so very much for your courage in sharing your battle with cancer. My grandmother has Alzheimers and cancer of the stomache and liver and the doctors told my family that she will not make it. I have cried so much and there have been many sleepless nights of wondering why. Your story has taught me to be strong and that I should praise God for her life. My family and I do not know when she will pass away but I will learn to praise God for the time. It's been so difficult and I have cried so much that I have forgotten how to cry. I know it's not about's about her fight which seems to be slowing down each day. Through your words I will be grateful to God for my gracious grandmother. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Cry if you want to cry Sherise. That her illness moves you to tears says you mush love her very, very much. And I'm sure that love was
well earned. But when you cry, don't just cry tears of sadness. Cry tears of gladness for the way God blessed you with her in the first place. Cry tears of gladness because earth has no sorry or sickness that heaven can't heal. Cry tears of gladness because although her weary body is leaving us after having endures so many years of trials and tribulation, her soul is going home to heaven to rest with the Lord. Her sufferings are thus drawing to an end. We can't be selfish and want her to stay here and keep suffering because we love her so much and don't want to see her go. That ain't love, baby. We want what's best for grandma. She's done her
best to hep raise us. She has born many a burden in the heat of the day and cried many a tear for us and prayed many a prayer for us in the cold of the night. We
pray that God ease her suffering and don't let her hurt any more. Thank God that you will always have her in your heart, mind and soul forever.

Rev. Banks,
I'm shouting "Glory, Glory Hallelujah," on this Sunday morning after reading about your recent miracles. Your testimony has been a continuously inspiring blessing to me. Please keep everyone informed about your next preaching date. I'm sorry I missed the last one!

BANKS' RESPONSE: I feel another Christmas shout coming on strong. The Lord just keeps right on blessing me in spite of my misgivings and shortcomings. He just keeps on blessing and I just keep right on thanking and praising Him. I treasure life more than ever now. And I'm not just talking about each day. I'm talking each, hour, minute, second and nano-second. I find myself thanking and praising God even for my "ouches" as well as my "aaahhhhhs". I'm so sorry that there are not words in our vocabulary sufficient to describe God's goodness, grace and mercy unto us. So let everybody praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Rock of our salvation. raise ye our supreme Cosmis Commander in Chief and the omnipotent Master of the multiverse. Praise ye the Lord of time and eternity, of space and infinity. Praise ye the Lord. Slacken not, though adversities weary us from time to time. Still, let us all do our level best to put on a happy face and smile through our agonies, looking ever toward Jesus, the hope of all glory, the author and finisher of our faith. For He will continue to see us through.

Dear Rev. Banks,
Just want to let you know that you and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers. I've been checking for updates pretty regularly and taken the stance that no news is good news. (-: As the year 2009 winds down, I'd like to take this opportunity to say to you and all your readers that despite all the negative things that have happened in our individual lives, this country and this world, we still have so very much to be grateful to God for. The most important of which is His love, mercy and grace that prompted Him to send His Son Jesus as an ambassador to the world, to repair mankind's broken relationship with Him. And that is the real reason we Christians celebrate Christmas. All of the other stuff is OK, I suppose, as long as we don't forget that the celebration should be about an ultimate love. Rev, the baton is now yours!
Merry Christmas to all, Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: So much, yes, so very much to be thankful for. We can't count the number, the depth, the breadth, the height, the width, the length, the weight, the density and immensity of God's amazing grace and mercy. Even in the midst of the fateful famishes often forced upon our fragile flesh, He looms large and lush in His love. Now, here we are at CHRISTMAS. What a wonderful time of the year. CHRISTMAS! He is born. The Christ child is born again in the mangers of surrendered, sanctified souls. And we are wise who continue to seek Him and desire to know more and more and more about HIM. He is born. He is king. He is conqueror. He is the mighty counselor. He is the endless abundance of life. He is the hope of all glory. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is our redeemer. He is Emanuel. He is the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in one body. He is the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace, the Light, the Truth, the Bishop of our souls, the Way, the Life, our all in all. In Him, we live, move and have our being. And by Him, do all things consist. He is born. The heavens tell and angels sing of His glory. Merry Christmas, Marie. Merry Christmas.

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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 November 26, 2009 11:36 AM.

NORTHWESTERN WILL KEEP ME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS was the previous entry in this blog.

I REMAIN A HEALING IN PROGRESS is the next entry in this blog.

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