As Anne mentioned, we are completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and help we have received. Our freezer is packed with future meals, our fridge is full of the meals we couldn’t quite finish, and our days are filled with assistance from our family and friends who have always been and continue to be examples for us. We are so lucky to have a situation where we have had grandmas and grandpas and friends from out of town come stay with us and help us keep things together and enable Anne to heal as fast as she is.
Two other things helping us through this time are the prayers of others and the examples of survivors (not just people who have lived but people who have created better lives for themselves and their families after the disease). Heaven is being flooded by prayers on Anne’s behalf. We have Anne’s name in Mormon temples around the world, and on prayer lists in Methodist, Baptists and Presbyterian churches and Jewish synagogues. Prayers are being said on her behalf on the most holy mountain in Zen Buddhism and in cathedrals ranging from New York to Florida to the Vatican. She is in the personal prayers, thoughts and mojo of hundreds of people all over the world. We cannot overstate the impact of all that faith and energy.
What has surprised me though is the strength we are gathering from the examples of others who have had cancer. Some are new friends and some are people in our own family, but all have had serious cancer, have been given grave diagnoses and prognoses and yet gone to not just survive but thrive. One of those people is my father. A former football player who played offensive line, linebacker, safety and tight end in college and the pros, my father is the embodiment of the word strength. As. If that versatility were not enough, he also played center in college basketball, was drafted by the Yankees and high jumped 6’11” the old-fashioned way.
Grandpa Lou is one of those thrivers. When I was less than a year old he came down with lymphoma. The Broncos cut him and sent him to UCLA, the same hospital Anne would end up in 40 years later. Down 60 pounds and his spleen, the doctors came to my mother and told her to keep him comfortable. There was nothing left they could do for him.
2 years later he was back on the pro football turf and he has never looked back. Last week he was celebrated with a rare honor: he had the football field at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah named after him. For over 30 years he coached football, basketball, or track or was the athletic director at Lehi and then Westlake High School. His special evening was rich, complete with friends, family, and many past players whose lives he had made better.
My dad would credit his ability to beat cancer to either being too stubborn or too dumb to know he was supposed to die. I credit it to the prayers of his loved ones and the fact that, although not a bad guy, he still corrected the course of his life and focused on what was the most important. His family and thousands of his students and players are glad that he did. My dad is one of Anne’s helping hands; he is also one of her biggest examples, literally and figuratively. While we analyze our lives, revise everything from our diet to our stress level, and refine our focus, hopefully we can position ourselves to have the same kind of impact in our own way.