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April 2010 Archives

God bless you.

My heart is better, much better after my Jan. 29th surgery where Dr.

Valluvan Jeevanandam implanted a heart pump at the University of Chicago

Medical Center. The pump will keep me alive until I can get a heart transplant.

In the interim, I'm feeling better, sleeping better, breathing better, walking

and talking and preaching better.

But my heart is very troubled over some other issues that won't let me rest

and threaten my life for I can not, for the life of me, abide them. Sometimes, one,

if he has strong principles, can be battered and backed into a corner so much

that he has to take a stand to the death. He has to fight for what's right. He has

to sacrifice for what is his. He's got to take an over-my-dead-body position.

The last thing I want this blog to be is overly morbid where every time you

look around I'm in trouble with a sad song to sing and some dragons to slay. But

that is the fate of us all. It is part of the dues we have to pay for living and working

with other people, who don't always keep their word or respect your rights or

your family's security. So I won't share the details. But I will say that if I told you,

99 per cent of you would be shocked. angry, compassionate and supportive.

So let's touch on the main positives. I'm back to work and back to

preaching and my first two weeks were successful and encouraging. I had to

function being hooked up to batteries and having to carry expensive, fragile

heart equipment on the back floors of my car on an out-of-town assignment

to Milwaukee. But the hotel bellmen and the hotels were very understanding and

helpful.

When all the handicapped parking spaces were taken, the hotels allowed

me to park right out front, just a few paces from the front door. I don't feel I ready

to fly yet. But that doesn't mean I won't. I most like will fly long before I actually

feel comfortable about doing so. It will be a leap of faith and an exertion of extra

energy.

Understand, now, that my heart is still weak. I am still an end-stage

congestive heart failure patient. And as a patient implanted with an LVAD

(Left ventricular Assist Device), I am even more in need or a heart transplant.

I still get tired easily. Steps and stairs are still drudgery and painful, depending

upon the number of steps I have to scale going upward. Coming down steps is

much easier because gravity is on my side. I still have to be careful going down

each step because I still have not regained full balance and strength in my legs.

But gravity makes it much easier for me to go down stairs rather than upstairs.

Then there are the cables. There is the main cable that is the lifeline

because it connects the heart pump inside me to battery power and the AC power

outside. There are the cable that connect to a bedside power console that keeps

me alive whilst I sleep.

I don't like them. They are a constant nuisance. But because they are

utterly vital toward keeping me alive, I am having to not just tolerate them but get

friendly and maybe even fall in love with them. After all, they are my little friends

helping me to feel better and to stay alive.

I thank God for the heart pump.

I thank God for the gift of heart transplantation.

Even my seven-year-old grandson, Caleb, knows the grief-stricken

gravity of my situation. The other day--and, you know, kids are something, they

can knock your socks off with their rapid rate of learning powerful realities--my

grandson Caleb and I were talking about my situation. And the subject of my

needing a heart transplant came up. And Caleb said in flawless flow, "Yes, and

you are going to have to wait until somebody else dies so that you are get their

heart to stay alive."

I said, "Yes, that's true son. It's regretful and unfortunate in many ways. But

that's the way things are."

I'm assuming that his mother, my darling daughter Noelle, took him off

to the side and explain these things to him. But maybe I even dropped this on

him one day in our random conversations. But that kid soaked up these details

like a sponge and they became a free-flowing part or my vocabulary and

mindset evidenced by the ease with which he spoke of the seeming ironic

ordeal of one saving his life at the expense of somebody else losing theirs.

I am not worthy on my own merits, and never will be, to live at somebody

else's expense. It is a gift that is priceless. You can never thank the benefactor

nor his wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother enough

for the sacrifice. Not that that person died on purpose. Not that that person

donated a heart as one does a kidney, because a kidney donor is still left

alive unless he had donated his organs in the event of his untimely? death.

And what exactly is an untimely death? What death is ever planned

with clockwork precision except for a suicide? But the bottom line to me is that

I get to live because somebody else died. Still, on the other hand, why ever a

good heart go to waste if its host is dead and it can keep another person alive?

Let us continue to pray for each other and especially our secret

sufferings. Regretfully, even if I got a new heart, it would still be troubled by

my new challenges of troubles. But God is able to do anything. His grace is

sufficient to supply all our needs. We can do all things through Christ Jesus,

who strengthens us.

God bless you.

God bless you.

Well, I'm back, y'all.

Did you miss me?

I sure missed you John, Beverly, Gwen, Marie, Paula, Marcia, Tomas and the rest of y'all.

But I'm glad to be back in the saddle with a heart pump to tide me over until I can get my new heart. So, I'm still panhandling for prayers.

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in two months. I wanted to. But the paper cited some technicalities about me being on disability sick leave and still writing for the paper. Even if all I was writing was a blog that I would knock out in 15-20 minutes in the quiet and comfort of my home. So the powers that be over me commanded me to postpone blogging and devote all my time and energy to recovering sufficient health to resume work. So here I am, folks.

I want to thank all of you for your patience and continued prayers. I'm especially grateful to Comcast SportsNet and its fabulously talented Willie Parker, Dan Jiggetts and the rest of their team for the specials they did on me to help keep you abreast of my progress.

And what can I say about my baby daughter Natasha? While I was bed ridden and her mother, Joyce, my wonderful wife and primary caregiver, was too nervous, Joyce deputized Natasha to step up to the plate and hit for our Banks family.

And, boy! Did she ever! Tashi hit a grand slam homerun over the high, deep centerfield fences and out the park. She is starring in the Comcast bite in this blog entry. Notice how beautiful, poised and flawlessly eloquent and charming she is. That's daddy's little baby. Her mother and I are extremely proud of her and Professor White told her she has the talent to be a television newswoman.

Meantime, let me share a little bit about my current status.

Hhhmmmmmm.

Sounds familiar?

On one hand, It's traditionally the word describing a hum. On the other hand, it's the new sound of my refurbished heart.

Because my end-stage congestive heart failure had deteriorated critically and had me at death's doorstep, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam had to implant me with a heart pump, or a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), specifically a Heartmate II to replace my defective left ventricle and mytral valve in pumping blood properly to the rest of my body. The surgery occurred Jan. 29 this year at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Thumbnail image for natasha-banks.jpg

That's right folks. Lacy J. Banks no longer has a heartbeat and his blood pressure is a very faint one that discourages doctors from even taking it much anymore. So what I have now is an $80,000 D-battery-size turbo that has become the new engine for my heart. It is powered either by 12-hour, rechargeable batteries or AC current through a drive line that goes through my chest, out my skin and into a system controller.

It has made me feel better, relieved me of shortness of breath and revitalized my major organs, kidney, liver, etc., that were starting to fail. But it has made no superman out of me. Consistent exercise will restore most of the 70 pounds of muscle and body mass that I lost. But I still can want to live and enjoy life and my family as long as and as well as I possibly can. I thank God for blessing me to be able to do so.

Until I get a new heart, I must make do with a hum for a heartbeat But God didn't have to bless me to survive a 30-day hospital stay that included being on life support for two three-hour periods with a span of 10 hours. God didn't have to bless me to undergo successful surgery and come off the operating table alive. God didn't have to bless me to be able to regain the strength to stand and walk. He didn't have to do these things. But He did. And I'm eternally grateful.

God bless you.

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 is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2010 is the previous archive.

May 2010 is the next archive.

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