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August 2011 Archives

God Moves UCMC To Rejoin My Heart Transplant Team

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God bless you.

After more than three years, during which I underwent three surgeries, a

radiation treatment, had more than 90 doctors to visit, examine and treat me at five

different hospitals, the University of Chicago Medical Center has rejoined my heart

transplant team that it started in the first place.

This week, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, UCMC's ace cardiac surgeon, and

Dr. Allen Anderson, UCMC cardiologist, have promised to add me to UCMC's heart

transplant list.

That means that for the present, I am now on the heart transplant lists for the

Mayo Clinic and UCMC. Now, it is up to me to decide which list I wants to stay on.

Yes, the Mayo Clinic is much more highly acclaimed for heart

transplantation, and yes, it was the Mayo that decided to put me on its heart

transplant list when nobody else I contacted would.

But my choice is UCMC for several reasons. They include the following:

1. I no longer will have to worry about the uncertain circumstances, like

weather and availability, of having an air ambulance to fly me from Chicago to

Rochester, Minn., within a four-hour time window when a heart becomes available.

2. I no longer will have to stay in Rochester, 365 miles from my home in

Hazel Crest, at least three and a half months after my heart transplant operation.

3. I no longer will have to worry about potentially devastating out-of-pocket

expenses of a private jet and the living expenses of staying in Rochester for an

extended time.

4. If God wills me through a successful transplantation, I now can spend

most of my recovery time at home with my children and grandchildren and be more

easily accessible to other relatives and friends.

5. If the Lord chooses to take me, I will already be home in Chicago instead

of another distant city.

Thank you, Jesus! Hallelujah!

The Lord just keeps right on blessing me. I don't deserve the blessings of His

grace and mercy. Nevertheless, God just keeps right on blessing me.

It was on March 31, 2008, that the UCMC made plans to place me on its

heart transplant list. Their medications had done all they could. So, in accordance

to normal procedure, the UCMC started thoroughly examining me to make sure

it was not wasting a donor's heart on an unhealthy recipient.

Unfortunately, at least for that moment, doctors at the UCMC and

Northwestern discovered a cancerous tumor on my brain and cancer in my

prostate. Those revelations immediately disqualified me from UCMC's heart

transplant list. Thank God, the brain tumor was determined to be benign and

the prostate cancer was determined to be early-staged, localized and treatable.

I then started this blog, promising to give God the thanksgiving and

glory and to give you a running account of how He would be healing me. Many

of you started reading this blog and praying with me and for me and have

continued to do so. And as the bible said they would, the prayers of the righteous

availed much for me then and have been availing for me ever since.

On May 21, 2008, I underwent the radiation operation of being implanted

with more than 80 radiation seeds. And, again, that God, my prostate cancer went

into immediate progressive remission. But the UCMC had a very conservative

policy on prostate cancer. It required me to be cancer-free for at least five years

before they would put me on its list.

A little over a year later, I went to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. They

have a more up-to-date, liberal policy on prostate cancer because it is one of the

slowest growing cancers. So, after they sent me through their tests and

examinations, Mayo Clinic doctors placed me on its heart transplant list on

Nov. 15, 2009.

I continued to be examined and have the symptoms of my end-stage

congestive heart failure relieved by medications until I suffered an almost fatal

setback on Jan. 11, 2010, when some false bad news about me losing my job and

insurance shocked and stressed me into a cardio-genic shock, a form of heart

attack . That event resulted in me spending 30 days in a total of three hospitals--

South Suburban, Northwestern and UCMC--and being placed on life support for

two three-day stints. On Jan. 29, 2010 I was implanted with a heart pump, a

Heartmate LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) to save my life and sustain me

until I can get a new heart.

Now, God has returned the UCMC to where it first started by preparing me to

be placed on its heart transplant list.

Yes, there, again, are serious risks. I will be sawed open for the third time

in my life. So many things can go wrong during and after the operation The

surgeons can do a great job and then nurses may fail to provide me proper

post-operative care. I will also have to take immuno-suppressants for the rest of my

life. Those medications decrease my immune system so that my body won't reject

the new heart.

Nevertheless, my hope is in Jesus and in God's grace and mercy. If there is

to be any healing and any successful surgery and post-operative care, it will come

from God through the instruments of doctors, nurses and medications. So it's

prayer time for me perhaps more than ever. Yes, it's me, it's me oh Lord, standing in

the need of prayer. Won't you please continue to pray for e and with me and I will

do the same for you.

God bless you.



Thank God For My 68th Birthday

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God bless you.

Today (Aug. 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm ready cry.

A tear from my right eye just beat the left to the drop.

To those of you who have been praying with me and for me since I started blogging my struggles with a cancerous brain tumor, cancer of my prostate and my being elevated to No. 1 on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list, you know somewhat what I'm talking about.

I'm blessed to be alive.

Blessed to be able to walk, although often with great difficulty, and to deal with a million dollars worth of advanced medical equipment implanted inside me and powered by batteries I wear and charge every 12 hours and by being cabled up to a bedside power console plugged into the AC wall socket of my bedroom.

Blessed to be able to speak for myself, feed myself, drink when I'm thirsty. drive a car, shower myself with special equipment. I'm blessed.

I'm blessed to have the best wife, the best daughters, the best son-in-law, the best sisters and brothers, the best mother-in-law and the best friends to help look after me.
Then there ministers like Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks, Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Darrell Jackson, Rev. Henry Hardy, Rev. Leonard DeVille, Rev. Gregory Macon, Rev. Andre Allen, Rev. Gregory Macon, Evangelist Minnie Joe Evans and her pastor Rev. George Howse, Evangelist Beverly Rogers and her husband Wylie, Deacon Richard Nevels and his wife Rose, my Sun-Times bosses and co-workers and so many others looking after me.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm blessed by the mighty hand of our God' or grace and mercy, His resurrected and redeeming son, Jesus Christ, and their cast of thousands.

I'm blessed to still be working for the Sun-Times for my 39th year and to still be preaching and singing before congregations across the country.
I'm blessed to be in Springfield, Mass., right know to cover my very first Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, where five former Bulls, including former assistant coach Tex Winter, are being either inducted into the Hall of Fame or given various lifetime achievement awards.

Then there are great American giants from Chicago to include Lee B. Stern, Mike Ditka, Rocky Wirtz, Jerry Reinsdorf, Irwin Mandel, Dr. Valluvan Jevanandam, the late Irv Kupcinet, Rick Tellender, Mary Mitchell, Stella Foster, Mark Bartelstein, Dr. Michael Flaherty, Dr. Allen Aderson, Elinor Lowry, Steve Schanwald and so many other supporters and enablers.
Insert your name right here, too, because people like you all are my birthday presents and your prayers are flaming candles atop a cake of uncommon kindness.

I don't apologize to any doubters and pouters who felt I should have been dead three years ago. They wonder what's taking me so long to die. When I first started blogging this journey and real friends and supporters like John, Marie, Donna, Beverly, Marcia, Gwen, Tomas, Constance, Eugene and Alicia rallied around me prayerfully to bid me God's speed.

But there are others who expected and even wished that my serious health problems to result in a quick kill. i want you to know that even you play a valuable part in my life and I thank god for every one of my enemies and naysayers. After all, if there were no enemies, who would need a friend.

You enemies of mine have kept me praying, kept me singing and preaching, kept me humble, kept me inspired, kept me from getting too careless and too cocky. On behalf of all my supporters and me, in heaven and on earth, I want to thank all you enemies of mine and the rest of us for doing a fine job. Many of us would not have made it this far without your encouragement.

In case you just tuned in, today (Aug 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm celebrating by looking back over my life and by seeing so much that my God has done for me. He's never failed me, never has left me alone and he's always answered my prayers.

Oh if you only knew how many times I have prayed for the Sun-Times. I was occasionally called "nigger" and "stupid black SOB" when I joined the paper in 1972 as its first black sportswriter. But though I've had odds with these types of people, I forgave them, kept praying for them in particular and paper in general, and the Lord has sustained and delivered us through many dangers, toils and snares.

During my 39 years working for the Sun-Times, including going into the communities to give motivational speeches, my dearest friend albert Dickens and I have worked for 12 different sports editor and under seven different ownership, including a brief employment under Rupert Murdoch,
Many times, the Sun-Times had been counted out and doomed for failure. Twice the company even fired me and has bought out or laid off legions of the finest media professionals ever to work a daily newspaper. Then there are others who defected to seek vacational asylum at the Tribune and other media outlets, to unclude radio and televison,

The is my 68th birthday, and, God willing, my last year of working for one of the greatest newspapers in the world.

No need to wish me a happy birthday, because I'm already having one. Every birthday that finds me still alive, relatively healthy, sane and functional and enjoying life with my family is a happy one.

Yes, I'm still waiting for a new heart. The reason I haven't gotten one yet is the 22 months I've been on the transplant list is because it was not God's will. In due season, I will get what God wants to give me, when he wants to give it and however He wants to give it.

Any way all this shakes out is alright with me because my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground in sinking sand.

I'm praying for you all. Please pray for me, too.

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 August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2011 is the previous archive.

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