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

June 2010 Archives

God bless you.

There was something delightful and frightful about the severe

thunderstorm that started my Father's Day weekend Friday.

The delightful thing is that I love serenades of thunderstorm and the

rhapsodies that the rains play upon my roof and against my window pane.

I love the pretty pictures from the sparkling diamond-like droplets of

rain that drizzle down the window panes and windshields. I love those

super-sensational summer rains.

I love the smell of rain in the balmy air just before its drops pelt my face

and its torrents ripple down my nose, jaws and chin. I love the pulsation of the

pelting. It is stimulating and invigorating.

That was the delightful thing about the thunderstorms that rocked the

Chicago area on Friday.

But there are also something quite frightful about that same delightful

summer rain. My neighborhood experienced a 4.5-hour power outage. That was

the first blackout I had experienced since my Jan. 29 open-heart surgery to have

a heart pump implanted to give me the life-saving pumping power my defective

mitral valve and left ventricle could no longer provide for the proper circulation of

blood to keep me alive until I get my new heart.

Once that Jan. 29 surgery made me a battery-operated, bionic man outside

the house, and a house-current-powered man when I go to bed, a power outage

became one of my most dangerous enemies.

The bedside power console that keeps me alive when I sleep went out. So

did the bedside charger of the 2-hour batteries that enable me to enjoy mobility


and outside the house.

Not only did the improved battery lives provide me comfort and confidence.

My eight batteries could thus sustain me for almost three days, and we've never

been without power for tmore than a day in the 34 years that my wife Joyce and I

have lived in Hazel Crest. But even better was the fact the blackout lasted just four

and a half hours.

Thank you, Jesus. When we heard on the newscasts that other areas were

hit much harder, with high winds uprooting trees and destroying property, and

downing power lines that would leave homes without electricity "for several days,"

Joyce and I thanked God that we weren't so unfortunate.

The return of electricity to our home Friday evening was welcomed. Then on

Saturday, my middle daughter, Noelle, let her nine-year-old son Caleb, my

youngest grandson, spend the night with Joyce and me.

For whatever reason, Caleb and I had the best bonding time that we have

ever had during the many times that he has stayed overnight with Joyce and me.

On Saturday, we went to a small lake to watch people fish and allow Caleb to

throw stones into the water for the first time in his life and to se those rocks

cause the water to erupt in splashes. Then we went to the grocery store for me to

buy some fruit and medicine and for him to get some candy.

Joyce and I then took him to an ice cream shop to buy and eat ice cream

there. I had a cup of the soft-serve vanilla ice cream. He and Joyce had one-scoop

cones of strawberry. Then we went to a park when he ran around and played.

Before home, we stopped at a drive-in to get some chicken.

That chicken was the smallest and most over-cooked chicken we've ever

had anywhere. But we salvaged what was left of the day when Caleb and I stayed

up until 3:30 a.m. to watch movies on our home DVD player. He loved "Avatar" and

a replay of the Laker-Celtic NBA championship-deciding Game 7. Then we

watched half of a Star Wars episode before I demanded that both of us go to

bed at 3:30 a.m.

The highlight of our late-night movie-watching, however, occurred at 12:30

a.m., when Caleb gave me my very first "Happy Father's Day" greeting.

"Grandpa," he said.

"Huh," I said.

"I love you," he said.

I love you, too," I said.

Wow! What joy he gave me with that affirmation of fervent affection!

Then Sunday morning, Joyce us a breakfast of the best pancakes and

bacon that we had ever eaten. Afterward, Caleb and I kneeled for prayer in the

living room. What a most enjoyable Father's Day for me, spending much of it

with my grandson, Caleb!

Meantime, to all you other good, dedicated fathers and grandfathers of

the world, "Happy Father's Day."

God bless you.

God bless you.

After spending a week being re-examined by doctors at the Mayo Clinic in

Rochester, Minn., I have been reclassified from Status 7 to Status 1B on the

national heart transplant list.

Thank you, Jesus!!!

Jody Hanson, highly celebrated veteran nurse and Mayo's heart transplant

coordinator, called me with the good news on Monday, June 14. She did so after

she had gotten the decision reached by the clinic's academy of cardiologists,

cardiac surgeons and other physicians and specialists who make these decisions

after reviewing the patient's latest medical information.

The highest rating is Status 1A. These congestive heart failure patients get

the first crack at a new heart because they are in serious condition, have suffered

a fresh heart attack, or they are already in-patients in one of Mayo's local hospitals.

The second rating is Status 1B--mine. This is for patients who are in dire

need of a heart transplant but are not in critical condition because medicines,

like Dobutamine, a so-called amphetamine for the heart, or a heart pump has

stabilized their health.

Mayo first placed me on the national heart transplant list on Nov. 5, 2009.

After being placed on the heart transplant list, I was hoping that my next major

surgery would be the heart transplant. I had already been through a triple bypass

on Feb. 14, 2001, another major surgery three months later to correct the failure

to stabilize my sternum on Feb. 14, a stenting of my main left artery in November of

2005, another stenting in May of 2006, a brachetherapy on May 21, 2008, when

radiation seeds were injected into my prostate to fight prostate cancer and a back

surgery on Aug. 10, 2009.

While preparing to return to the Mayo in January to be admitted to the

hospital in preparation for a 1A status, I suffered a life-threatening cardio-genic

shock on Jan. 11 while desperately trying to confirm a phone call from Blue Cross

Blue Shield telling me that they had been informed that my 38-year employment

with the Sun-Times and my heart insurance had both been terminated.

Is there any worse news a heart transplant candidate can receive?

The Jan. 11 setback resulted in a 30-day hospital stay where I was on life

support twice and had to have open-heart surgery on Jan. 29 at the University of

Chicago Medical Center, where world-renown cardiac surgeon, Dr. Valluvan

Jeevanandam, implanted the heart pump that probably saved my life and since

has been sustaining me until I get a new heart.

Baring a new setback or other changes, my next operation will be a heart

transplantation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. That could happen today,

tomorrow, next week, next month or later this year or next year, whenever a

heart is made available for a patient like me with B positive blood.

As some of you already know, and for you who don't, "O" blood (negative or

positive) is the most common blood type. "A", positive or negative, is the second

most common blood type. Then, "B", positive or negative, is the third most common.

"So your chances of getting a new heart are better than most because of

your blood type," Hanson said.

Status 1B means that I must now be prepared to be on the operating table

in four hours once I have been informed that a new heart is available for me.

Because Chicago is 365 miles from Rochester, I would have to be transported

by air ambulance to the Mayo to comply with the four-hour time window.

Another bit of good news during my extensive tests at the Mayo is the fact

that my PSA, which was 5.7 when my prostate cancer was diagnosed on April 10,

2008, is now at .36, its lowest since my dire diagnosis. This means my prostate

cancer remains in aggressive regression.

Oh what a mighty God we serve!

Now, by the grace and mercy of God, I am one step away from my new heart.

I was hoping to have that new heart by now since my wife of 42 years, Joyce, is

retiring next month and we want to have at least one more grand vacation before

the sun sets on our lives.

My father-in-law, Roscoe Wooten, worked hard at two jobs supporting his

family before retiring at age 64 . Then he died a few months later from lung


My father, the late Rev. A.D. Banks, never saw any retirement before he

died of a stroke also at age 64.

My dear mother, Sarah Lorraine Banks, died of blooding poisoning at age

42 after the 13th baby she was bearing died in her womb and she, for several

reasons influenced by racism in Mississippi, where we lived at the time, could not

receive appropriate medical care in time.

I've obviously been through a lot. My body has been on bloody battlefield for a

phethora of sicknesses and surgeries.

But God has brought me through.

God remains my refuge and strength, a very present help in my times of


God remains my primary care physician.

God's amazing grace remains sufficient for me. His mercy remains

everlasting and His truth still endures to all generations.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

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.



About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2010 is the previous archive.

July 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.