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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.

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Dear Brother Lacy,
Late in the midnight hour I'm surfing to catch up on the day's news and run across the best. Glory to God for you being placed on the UCMC heart transplant list! My heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving for what God is continuing to do in your life. I'm doing a happy dance inside and out to the strains of a new song of praise and worship. I am encouraged to pray more and more fervently for you as our Father reveals even greater miracles and wonders. As the song says "I pray for you, You pray for me, and watch God change things." Hallelujah!

BANKS' RESPONSE: Fidelity. Consistency. Longsuffering. Compassion. Confidence. Encouraging. Uplifting. Supportive. Enabling. Love. Faith. Patience. Power. Determination. Courage. Stamina. When I think of you, Marie, these, and more, are the qualities and values that come to mind. You are a perfect blend of toughness and tenderness. You are the most faithful of my supporters. You've never given up on God. You've never given up on me. And you never will. To me, you are the "thou' in that verse of the 23rd Psalm: Ye though I walk through the valley OF the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for THOU art with me." God presents Himself through the precious, providential presence of a faithful few like you. This is your predestined calling. This is your divine destiny. Defeat, despair, desperation and doom have never been your friends and have never been welcomed in your house or in your relationship with those you love. You are an enemy of evil and a profound protagonist of promise. You are the kind who turns perils into pears and despair into diamonds. You transform adversity into advantage. You change tears into cheers. You give hope to the mope, help to the hurt, you fight fright, you dismiss defeat, you avail the vain and you perish pain. I thank my God that, as we speed and whiz through space on this spinning ball of mud, He has crossed your path with mine for such a time as this. No, I am not being blasphemous in likening you to God. What I'm saying is that you are a riveting revelation of God to me. He uses people, He uses our hands, our heads, our hearts, our feet and our tongues to make manifest His blessed presence. Yes, you are a mighty instrument of God to me and to others you bless with you consistent, comforting kindness. Whenever one must tangle with terror in the toughest of times, I can think of no better ally than you, Marie. You are the mate with whom I'd want to share a foxhole. You are the "Medic!" for whom I'd cry when I am wounded in battle. You are medicine I'd want prescribed to mend my misery. One great hope for mankind is that you remain you. Don't change one ounce or one inch or one itch or one ilk. Be you. Stay you. And if you must be anything else--ANYTHING else--let it just be MORE of YOU. The more the Marie, the merrier the man.
God bless you, Marie.

Dear Lacy

I'm somewhat (although not so much) behind you in age, but I think of milestones a great deal. In your last three postings, you have marked some significant passages: Another year of life, which has been threatened by disease; another year of love, companionship, and devotion in your happy marriage; and now the reemergence of healers to come to your aid. Yours is a story that reminds us all to keep awake, stay alert, and remain vigilant - things show up, especially when you have the faith to call them forth.

Congratulations on all your milestones.

BANKS' RESPONSE: I must confess, John, and to all you other sisters and brothers, that my faith in an ultimate and timely heart transplantation is being tested more than ever before. It's no real harm to become weary from my prolonged challenges. It's only natural. And I am human. I am not perfect in anything. Please don't get me wrong, now. My faith in God is still strong. I know that He remains omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. I know that if He wills, He can heal me. He's had, still has and always will have the power to do anything. And it remains my prayer and desire that He heals me. I am seeking a healing will. At the same time, my prayer is always that God's kingdom come and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Obviously, waiting for more than three years, and going through what I'd had to go through in the interim, takes its toll. I am at peace with whatever God chooses to do. I don't deserve anything better. In fact, I don't deserve anything that I have gotten so far. All that God has done for me is because of His grace and mercy. But you can only imagine the weight of this continued wait. Still, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings of eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. I am waiting now for a renewal of my strength and the increase of my faith. I am greatly depressed by the imminence of my planned retirement that may come before I get a new heart. Do you know what I want so fervently and fiercely, John, and you other sisters and brothers? I want an incredible, cataclysmic healing. One for the record books. Something like my birth heart being totally healed and my heart pump mysteriously being vaporized. I'm talking about a Ripley's believe-it-or not. I'm talking about something that would deserve to be in something much more than the Smithsonian. On my own merits, I don't deserve something this phenomenal. It would only be a gift from God's grace and mercy. But if something like this were to happen, then the whole world, especially every rational mind, would have no choice but to give God the credit, the thanksgivings, the glory, the praise and the honor. Not that He hasn't already done phenomenal things for me because you know, I know, we all know that He has. I still want my healing. I still pray ongoing for my healing. What I have been distilled down to for years now is waiting to see God's power and glory being made manifest in me whenever, wherever and however. Please, keep praying for me and with me, if you will. God bless you all.

Congratulations on the UCMC decision. I cannot tell you how much your life journey inspires me as I'm sure it does all who read this and who know you personally. The other two comments from John and Marie are so well written and as inspirational as your responses. As always I will keep you in my prayers. They say that what comes from the heart touches the heart....thank you for sharing with us....

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you, Margaret, for sharing back so beautifully. Good sharing inspires more good sharing. Positive sharing is our common denominator. We share because we care. We care because we are imbued with the love, grace and mercy of God to do no less. It is sharing people like you, Marie, John, Donna, Connie, Gwen, Deacon Dabney, Carol, Marcia, Paul, Michael, Elliott and so many, many more who have provided cocoons of comfort, confidence, courage and kindness. It means so much in human society for each of us to share and care for the betterment of each of us all. We dare not sacrifice the innocent few for the false comfort of the many. In the universal scope of things, there is no so-called inherent "majority." We are all, individually and collectively, a minority of one. No man is an island. No man stands alone. Each man's joy is joy to me. Each man's grief is my own. We need one another. So I will defend each man as my brother, each man as my friend. It is infinitely terrible that we value and devalue people in accordance of their race, sex, politics, nationality, economics, language, religion, social relationships and whatever else. Jesus came that we might be ONE as He and The Father are one. We are our brother's keeper. the strong must bear the infirmities of the weak. You need me. I need you. We all owe a boundless allegiance to the life of all, but especially those who esteem the lives of humanity. Thank you, again, Margaret for sharing and caring. What greatly troubles me today is the treacherous trends in our society where the middle class is being destroyed, where the poor are being systematically forsaken, exploited, demeaned and oppressed. There is a malignant greed among a precious few of the very rich who play a growing population of the poor against the growing population of the same poor. The more the greedy get, the more they want at any price, and the less they appreciate what they already have. Greed has triggered pestilential suffering. Greed has triggered perverse poverty. Green breeds hate and arrogance. Greed breeds wars. Greed breeds ethnic cleansing. Greed destroys the poor to pacify the powerful. Unless there is radical revision in the mindset, the soulset and the heartset of America bloody atrocities of exponential proportion await our great nation and endangers the survival of all mankind. Mark my word, Margaret the day of the Lord is close upon us and His wrath is bubbling like molten lava ready to poured profusely upon our land.

Dear Rev. Banks

So happy to know that you will be able to stay in Chicago, when you receive your new Heart. Having the family and frie4nds near when you go through it is a gift from God. Your faith and trust s so great. I know God's will be done. We so need someone like you in the world these days. I just had a aorta valve replaced in my heart. I know I had received so many prayers, I trusted God that I would do his will. The doctors could not believe how well I did and are doing. It has been six weeks.since the surgery I have had very little pain. When you think my heart was in the surgeons hand. You have always inspired me since I started reading you blog, so many years ago.

May God hold you in the palm of his hand. Rejoice God is working in our lives..
LACY J. BANKS' RESPONSE: May God bless you and prosper you abundantly with His grace and glory.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. Sharing my story with my friend Lacy:

Remembering the day I saw myself without my breast for the first time. My aunt had insisted that I stay with her a few weeks before going home after my surgery. I had a journal on my other Prayer Circle where my Warriors were praying for me and my battle with cancer daily. This day I had waited for my aunt to leave to unwrap the bandages to see where my breast had been removed for the first time?

After unwrapping my bandages I stood there alone in her bathroom in shock and mourning the lost of my breast. I fell to my knees and cried so! At that very moment her doorbell ran. It was flowers being delivered to me by one of my Prayer Warriors that I had never met in person. How timely that was. There were flowers, boxes of chocolates, teddy bears and everything! God worked that day right on time to bring me comfort and a little sunshine to my heart.

Every time that I would look at myself I would think that no man would ever look at me as a woman again. I had resigned myself to forever being alone. I looked so pitiful! I was cut from the middle of my chest all the way under my arm to my back! Draining tubes, no hair, my tongue, toe nails, finger nails were black and the chemo had caused me to go blind in one eye. It was as if I was looking through waxed paper trying to see. All I could think was I was no longer the woman that I once was! I was damaged goods and no man would ever want me! I would forever be alone without the love of a man.

Well, I'm here to tell you that just like the florist showed up so did King Jesus!!! He showed up and SHOWED OUT!!! He lead me to a surgeon that restored my vision and made it better than before with PERFECT vision! He healed my incision and covered it with His blood. So that I wouldn't see my scares but His scares that He bore for me on the cross to save me when cancer was trying to take my life! My hair grew back a different and more beautiful grade than before because He knows that a woman's hair is her glory and He gave me my glory back! Not only did the blacken nails leave but now my nails grow longer and healthier than ever. I just love when I get a french manicure on my own nails!

Not only that but He sent to me a wonderful man. One that when I told him that I had cancer; told me that he wasn't afraid and that he wasn't going to let me be either!

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: Sharing my story with my friend Lacy.

Through ever step of this from the second week of being detected with cancer, I shared every day of my life battling cancer with my Prayer Warriors. In a Prayer Circle that I had started only months before being detected with breast cancer. My goal was to help others not knowing that my Warriors would be the source of MY strength!

I had a rare form of breast cancer that doctors had never seen before. It took me to death's door! But, by the grace of God, I kicked that door SHUT and REFUSED to go in!! Now, I'm here to share my story with you of how God brought me from the Valley of Death to the mountain top to live and give praises to His name!!

Know that there's NOTHING that God can't do if only we believe, trust and have faith in Him.

Forever your sister in Christ,

LACY J. BANKS' RESPONSE: "Woman, thou art loosed! Loosed from the shackles of Shame. Loosed from fear and insecurity. Loosed from dungeons of doom and despair. All because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and your faith in Him. As Jesus told the woman whom He healed from being a 12-year homophiliac through her faith as she touched the hem of His garment with the fingers of her faith, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." While other mobbing Jesus on that day were curiosity seekers or sightseers, she was there to place her all on the altar of sacrifice. So she diligently pressed her way from the the croud, from the back of the line to within an arm's reach of King Jesus. Where she couldn't reach the upper part of His body that everybody else was interested in, she decided to fly under the radar. Nobody else gave a hoot about Jesus' legs, feet, toes or heel. But what they failed to realized was that His was the hem who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. His was the hem that belonged to Him who said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and as heavy-ladened and I will give you rest." But oh what peace we often forfeit. "It must have been something awful for you, to suffer the ravages of breast cancer and all the sadness and pain that go with it. But when Jesus came your way, you seized the moment and grabbed ahold of His hem. So, again, woman, thou art loosed by the epitomes of all loosers. And those whom the Son of God sets free shall be free indeed. Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." What a wonderful testimony that should be an encouragement to all cancer survivors, especially those who have been, still are and one day with be afflicted. There is nothing, NOTHING!!!, too hard for the Lord. Thank you for opening up so generously and sharing a story that many others should be sharing, but don't. I feel especially for the cancer-stricked who have no affordable, competent heath care insurance.
God Bless You. Go forth and testify.

I hope you are doing well. We are all praying for you and your family.

LACY J. BANKS' RESPONSE: Thank you and God bless you, Margaret.

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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 August 21, 2011 10:23 PM.

Thank God For My 68th Birthday was the previous entry in this blog.

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