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
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
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.