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I'm Three Patients Away From A New Heart And My Prostate Cancer Is On Its last Legs

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God bless you.

Last week, Jody Hanson, chief nurse of the Mayo Clinic's Heart Transplant

program in Rochester, Minn., informed me that there are only three patients now

ahead of me on Mayo's heart transplant list and that my prostate cancer's PSA had

dropped all the way down to .25, just a quarter of a point from so-called "cancer-


Thank you Jesus!

Thank my wife, Joyce, for sticking by me and caring for me.

Thank you readers, my friends and relatives for praying with me and for me.

Thank God, especially, for the marvelous and magnificent Mayo Clinic. This

non-profit hospital remains one of the very finest in this world.

Preimminent! Yes, the Mayo Clinic is preimminent.

Search the records, if you will, read the annual rankings by U.S. News and

World Report magazine, and you will see the Mayo Clinic ranked first or second in

most all the areas of successful medical treatment for all manner of sickness.

John Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic are also big dogs in the hunt. But the Mayo

Clinic is the King of the kennel.

When I started blogging my fight with prostate cancer, a cancerous brain

tumor and end-stage congestive heart failure (CHF) 30 months ago (April, 20,

2008), things didn't look too good, sisters and brothers.

I needed a heart transplant because of my end-stage CHF. But I couldn't be

placed on the heart transplant list until my cancers were conquered.

So I started praying harder than ever, and I asked y'all to pray with me and

for me. Well, God got busy. And when God moves, ain't no mountain high enough,

ain't no valley low enough and ain't no river wide enough to keep God's will from

being done and His Kingdom from coming..

The first enemy to be brought under control was the brain tumor. Itt had

been discovered at Northwestern Hospital by Dr. Allison Hahr in March of 2008. By

the grace and mercy of God, within weeks, after hundreds of x-rays of my brain, that

tumor was ruled benign.

And we kept on praying........

The second enemy to be brought under control was the prostate cancer that

had been diagnosed by Dr. Glenn Gerber at the University of Chicago Medical

Center on April 10, 2010. After he took a biopsy of that tumor, he diagnosed it as

"early stage" and "localized." This meant there was still time to stop it in its tracks.

So we kept on praying.......

By the grace and mercy of God, on May 21, 2008, I received implantation of

some 89 radiation seeds by Dr. Brian Moran at the Chicago Prostate Cancer

Center in Westmont, Ill.

When my prostate tumor was first found, my PSA, which measures one's

susceptability to cancer, was 5.7, or .7 above the acceptable level.

But we kept on praying, smacked prostate cancer in the face, made it call us

by our proper names and sent it into remission.

Year by year, month by month, week by week and day by day, my prostate

cancer dropped deeper and deeper into welcomed remission.

On Nov. 5, last year, the Mayo Clinic concluded that my prostate cancer

was in sufficient remission to place me on their heart transplant list. My PSA was

aroung 2.0 at the time. Sisters and brothers, this indeed was a sign that our prayers

were still being answered and that the mighty healing hand of God was making

itself manifest in The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Can I hear somebody say "Aman." Not "Amen," the proper term. But

"Aman" the way we normally say it in church.

So we kept on praying.......

The devil then counter-attacked and struck me down, but not out, on Jan. 11

of this year with a heart attack that answered also to the name of

"cardio-genic shock." I spent 30 straight days in three different hospitals: South

Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill., Northwestern and UCMC in Chicago. I was

placed on life support twice. Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, USMS's chief heart

surgeon, had to implant a heart pump in me on Jan. 29 to keep me alive.

But we kept on praying until I got off life support in three days, was released

from the hospital on Feb. 10, 2010, and then went through three months of

successful rehabilitation before being OKed to return to work at the Sun-Times,

where I have been working as a reporter for 38 years.

All the while, my prostate cancer continued in remission. Then last week,

Hanson told me my prostate cancer's PSA is now .25, an all-time low for me as far

as I know. That's a quarter of a point away from "cancer free."

But maybe the best news of all is that there were only three patients ahead

of me on Mayo's heart transplant list. I have been elevated on the list because of

God's grace, His blessing me to receive a heart pump and to have Type B-positive


The only thing remaining to be done before I can be upgraded from 1B to

1A for 30 days, where there would be one patient ahead of me, is to undergo a

hernia operation that should enable me to stand and walk long periods without the

pain in my groins, especially my left, and thighs forcing me to sit and rest, even with

the aid of powerful pain killers.

The hernia operation, an out-patient procedure, is scheduled for this week at

the UCMC.

I'm taking nothing for granted. Any operation can be a dangerous event.

Doctors aren't perfect. Sometimes, they mis-diagnose and sometimes they may

diagnose correctly but make a costly mistake in the operating room. The last thing

you want to hear a doctor say when you are on the operating table is "Opps!"

So, I'm praying that that goes as well as expected, too.

The Lord just keeps right on blessing me.

I don't deserve it. I don't deserve His grace and mercy. I don't deserve even

being alive right now. And I certainly don't deserve anybody's heart. They have to

make the supreme sacrifice for a heart transplant patient to get that heart to extend

his life.

I've done many wrongs in my life. I've made some terrible mistakes. I've hurt

some people, innocent people and guilty people. I've had my share of ups and

downs. But at the end of the day, I'm still here because God keeps right on blessing

me. And I'm saved by God's grace through faith that Jesus authored and finished.

I know some of you don't believe in God or any other god. Some of you

believe in good luck. Some of you believe in random chance. Some of you believe

in mind power, muscles, money, good looks, fine figure, so-called friends and other


But as for me, make mine Jesus. I respect other people's faith in whomever

and whatever they want to worship. We are blessed to be in America, where we

can pick and choose our own praying ground.

But, once more, as for me and my house, we're going to keep serving the

Lord, believing in Jesus and praising God with His Holy Ghost. I'll take my place

with the Lord's despised few. But I'll started with Jesus 58 years ago when I

accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. And I'm going through.

Will somebody hold my mule and my straw hat while I take off my shoes and

dance and shout praise to the the Lord like I'm going out of my ever-loving mind?

Now there I go again, acting all Mississippi cotton field and stuff. But I won't

apologize. This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.

What about you?

God bless you.

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Rev, Yes, I'll hold your mule whilst you dance and shout and praise the Lord. And although the only time I ever set foot in Mississippi was two days for a funeral, I may just let that mule go and dance with you. Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: Well, well, well. Then, may I have this next dance? I invite all believers to join me in praise and thanksgiving to God. Thank you, Marie, for your continued prayers, for your faith in God and for the love and support you have for your dear husband. God bless you.

I can't dance. But, I think this is a great way to start a week. I saw the article in the "Health" section this morning. At first, I thought they had Blair Underwood's picture up there, but the caption says it's you.

What's that thing they say about the race going not to the one who runs fastest, but to the one that runs longest? You're proving it out. Your faith is making you whole. And you're reminding others to rest in faith. What seemingly can't be healed is healed.

To that, I'll give you an enthusiastic "Amen."

BANKS' RESPONSE: God bless you, John. Every time I have some good news to share, you're right up there in the front line celebrating with me. And believe me, you dance with body parts other than your feet. Some of my best dancing is done sitting down, John. Just bounce in your seat, sway from side to side, shake it to the right and shake it to the left and buck your head to the rhythm of the rest of your body. I've even done some dancing lying down. Yes! Just move your head, move your legs, move your shoulders, move your arms and any other part of your body any way you want to. In fact, I've gotten too old to do much with my feet anyway. And my back is also no longer strong and agile. So I no longer try to do the boogaloo, the mash potato, the camel walk, the shing-a-ling, the loose booty, the mechanical man, the watutsi, the twist, the snake and so many other dances. I've retired from those steps. So, dance with me, John, shake your shoulders, wiggle your arms and buck your head and don't care what anybody says if they see you busting some moves. I dance in my car seat when I'm driving and listening to the CD music of the Temptations, Delfonics, the Marvelettes, the Ojays, Teddy Pendergras, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles as well as some gospel numbers done by Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurklin, the Winans, Shirley Cesar, Dorothy Norwood, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi and Alabama. Furthermore, young people don't really dance much anymore anyway. They just sit, rock and buck their heads in rhythm to hip hop rappers. Thanks for the Blair Underwood mistaking. That gave me a grin because I know better. I have mirrors and, quite frankly, I have been very disturbed at that man I've see looking at me when I look in the mirror. He has bags under his tired eyes, he has some gray in his hair, his jaws are puffy and they tend to pull down the sides of his mouth. What's wrong with my mirrors? They've turned on me. But I've made peace with the changes in my life. Last night, my eight-year-old grandson, Caleb Banks, broke the news to me. And he didn't do it gently. "Grandpa, you're old," he said with a giggle. "Face it grandpa. You're not young anymore. and you're not getting old. When you get to be 67 years old, you're an old man. But I'm still your friend because you're my grandpa." Well, thank God for grandchildren.

Praise Him Praise Him. What a wonderful God we serve, who wants His children to have good health and prosper and know joy. There could have been a number of ways for you know so many care, that so many would pray and miss you and worry until we hear from you again (Not me because I'd just contact Deacon Posey) This was perhaps God's way to certify it for you. Over the last few days (weeks) I've attributed much to His Power. How much is being revealed about man's inhumanity to man, his lack of concern for his brother. I see patience I could never muster in the face of some of this foolishness were I the leader of the free world. And then I think, Look at you Lord how you gave me some sun today, stroked Rev. Banks with some "ugly" love from his grandbaby, just keeps showing what he can do. I can't do those dances now but remember them all, and yes, John hey can all be done sitting in a chair (:D)
Dance Marie, dance. That ole Mule will do well bu itself.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Gwen, I agree with your enlightening comment. God wants only the best, the very best, for us. And the best is there to be had if we would faith in Him for it. Too many times, we are our own worst enemies. Too many times, we are guilty of messing with our blessing. We let faith come in the front door of our life. Then we compromise by letting doubt come in the back door. Sickness and other manner of hardship are the most enlightening events in human life. They teach us to seek Jesus for His divine intervention. And yet we can bring about that intervention through faith. I've found now more than ever that the best thing that you, I or anybody else can pray for is for faith in God. And when we accept that faith, which is authored and finished by Jesus, anyway, we should continually ask that God increase our faith less we faint. So I pray, Gwen, that God increase your faith so that your joys may be full in Him.

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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 September 19, 2010 9:18 PM.

Please, God, Don't Let This Be My Last Vacation was the previous entry in this blog.

I'm Feeling Weaker And It's All My Fault. I'm Getting A Whipping. is the next entry in this blog.

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