Helping Hands and Inspiration

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.

Grandpa Lou with shoulder pads and sideburns

Those are not shadows on his cheeks.

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.

Lou Andrus standing in his field, with Utah's Governor and a happy wife

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.
Complete with the family haircut, Anne shows off her grandpa t-shirt

Anne is proud of Grandpa Lou and her shiny dome

22 thoughts on “Helping Hands and Inspiration

  1. God bless you both. You both are such an inspiration. My love and prayers, as well as Pat’s, are coming to you with hugs and kisses.

    Aunt Pam

  2. Tom, I love this post. Dad truly is an amazing man and It is great to be reminded that he did beat the big C. And how amazing it is that he beat it at the same hospital Anne is going to beat hers.

    We love you and I love the picture of Anne.

  3. Pingback: Lou Andrus Field – The coolest thing ever!!! « The Family Trifecta

  4. Hi Anne & Tom,

    Wow. I just checked in on you guys for the first time in a long time and what a shock! Although we’ve never meet I feel I know you and am feeling your pain and your strength.

    You are in our prayers.

    John Higham & family

  5. Hi Anne,
    How beautiful you are! I miss talking with you, miss seeing you and your beautiful fam. Hope to see you very soon in the near future. Love to you all,


  6. Anne – you look fabulous! May you continue to thrive. I gather there is a heatwave in LA at the moment so make sure you put plenty of cream on that shiny dome! I’m sure Tom can advise…;)
    In our thoughts xxxx

  7. Very inspiring post today, Tom. Will continue to keep you all in our prayers. Congrats to your dad for beating the beast as well. I’m sure it’s tremendous inspiration to Anne and the rest of you as well. Continue the positive thought track and take care of yourselves.

  8. Tom/Anne, I am praying for you…I just discovered the news and I refuse and rebuke this attack. We serve a mighty good God and he is our healer and provider.
    Anne you are a piller of inspiration, what a testimony you will witness to others especially those who do not know about hope.

    Andrus family know you are all in my prayers…..
    Your former Exec. Assistant

    Cynthia Gasco

  9. Guys,
    Analyse, revise and refine all you want, but it’s perfectly clear that you have already made a huge impact on the world! You have inspired, emboldened and given the ability for parents everywhere to dream that they too can take their kids around the world!
    Best of luck with the chemo, Anne. You are in our thoughts all the way here, Down Under. I am absolutely certain you will be taking that second trip with the “Little Bits” in a few years time…hopefully we’ll run into your wonderful family whilst we’re doing our RTW!
    Love from our family to yours.

  10. Hello cousins! Just a note to say you’re all in my prayers and meditations. Anne, you look beautiful! Hair is highly over rated. :) Blessings to you all!

  11. Anne you are still absolutely beautiful… and I am so glad that you have such a wonderful network of friends and family nearby. I wish we all lived closer so that there would be the opportunity to help you out, but know that the cousins in Indiana do keep you in their prayers and are sending as much positive energy as can be out your way. Hope things go well for the move and all has that taken place already? Keep us posted! Love you all,
    Rod & Tammi

    ps… Hard to believe Dax in college and Josh is a Junior this year at BSU :-)

  12. Anne, Tom and Family. I have often thought to write to you over the past few years, but have been a bit shy too. Your family were our inspiration to pack up our house and head off to see the world with two young children (4 and 7) last year. We had planned a year long trip, until the GFC hit, and we had to pare it back to 6 months (some of the highlights being Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania). Still, it was one of the most amazing trips and experiences of our lives, and we have you partly to thank for it. What amazed me the most, was not the places we saw and the things we did (although fantastic of course) – but the simple experience of the four of us being together 24/7 and the beauty of that. We are now searching and thinking about our next move – we have a wonderful life in a gorgeous beachside town in Western Australia, but we want to shake up our life, and make some bold choices and get off a privileged but prescribed life. What that is/ will be – whether it’s to try and live in a new country – more travel…. we are not sure yet. When i checked in with your website, I was shocked at your news – but so happy to see Anne’s smiling face. We must act, not wait, and keep acting. Thank you for keeping up the blog and my very best wishes for a total recovery and another trip (definitely via Western Australia please). Felicity

  13. Thinking of your family and hoping that the only news you are hearing from Doctors these days is good news. The accounts of your travels were one of the things that inspired us to start our own trip at the start of this year. Well actually we were supposed to start our trip this time last year but I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just a few days before we flew out. We were blessed with the fact that it was caught early and is very treatable so our trip could continue, although its been a bit of a challenge on the road dealing with medication side effects, finding doctors for blood tests and interpreting blood test results myself without my GP’s help… but it keeps life interesting! Anyhow, I hope the chemo goes well Anne and we see your family on the road again soon, happy and healthy.

  14. Hi Anne.

    You do not know me, but I have followed your travel blog and enjoyed it tremendously. (My husband and I did our own version of a family adventure when we took our 3 children to live abroad for 3 years! We are far from rich (well, by American standards), so it can be done. Telecommuting is the key!)

    Anyway, I want you to know that I have survived a vicious and rare cancer for almost 7 years now….even though my initial prognosis was 18 months. I claim no credit for my survival, but am grateful to God for these years to watch my children grow (my youngest was only 2 1/2 when I was diagnosed.)

    I never say my survival has anything to do with anything I did because I think that dishonors all the people I know who did not survive. Have I lived because I love my children more than they loved theirs or because more people prayed for me than them?? Of course not. I have been humbled by their experiences and have focused on “healing” while my doctors work on “curing”. I have no idea why I have lived and it’s okay for me now not to know. I have surrendered. I understand that we do not get answers in this lifetime for everything that happens here, so I just cling to my faith and bless each new day as it arrives. (But I sure do have a list of things to ask whenever I do get to those pearly gates!!)

    I wonder if it is okay for me to tell you something about how I learned to handle cancer spiritually? I know that you are Mormon. I am Catholic, so I hope I don’t say anything that offends your beliefs. I truly offer this from my heart to a sister I see suffering as I have done. Cancer is life-changing event, whether we want it to be or not.

    Upon hearing of my cancer, most people talked to me about the “battle”, “fight”, “war” I should wage. They told me to “beat” the disease, visualize the “bad” cells being “attacked”,”killed off”, etc. After a few days, those images really started to bother me. It was all so violent and angry and I just didn’t want to be surrounded by so many negative images.

    Now, that might sound weird, but I felt like I needed calm and peace to heal. To me, Jesus is about peace and love and I wanted His help to recover. So….instead of using those common images, I worked with a nurse friend from my prayer group on more positive images. When I started my 1st round of chemo, I asked to be left alone in my treatment room with just a soft light and a CD of inspiring music made by another friend. I breathed deeply. I saw myself on sacred ground surrounded by angels in that treatment room and it was very comforting. As the chemo went through my veins, it felt warm. Instead of seeing the cancer cells being burned and poisoned, I visualized God sending the warmth of His love in to gently melt away the cells that shouldn’t have been growing. This relaxed me and made me feel safe. Thus, my treaments were uplifting experiences of God’s indwelling, instead of mentally exhausting defensive wars.

    I hope this helps you, Anne. I will be praying for you and your family.

  15. C Morrisey

    Your words are a big help. Thank you for leaving the comment and sharing your story with us. Anne has a very similar outlook towards healing and visualization. Your story is a great help and you are one of the many we now include in our bea-the-odds/miracle bucket. I am sure you have been through much of what we wrestle with on a daily basis so your words are a great encouragement. I assume you have done your traveling after you became a cancer survivor, has that impacted how or where you have felt free to travel. It’s still a ways off, but we expect to get back on the road again in a few years and don’t know how this will impact those plans.

    Thanks again


  16. Tracy

    Congrats on your trip and on your recovery. I am sure the trip was even more special after getting through your sickness. Anne’s chemo is going well and the road is calling. Thanks


  17. Felicty,

    Thanks for the comment it means a lot. I am glad you got to go visit the world. I know it has to be hard to leave Western Australia. Anne and I enjoyed our time there and it definitely felt like the kind of place to run towards not from. Good luck on your next adventure, perhaps we will cross paths.



  18. Tammi and Everyone

    Thanks for the comments, I got a little far behind on the blog but we appreciate the comments, prayers and thoughts. Anne is doing great and is on her second to last round of chemo. We had great news last week as her PET scan came back with no sign of disease. News like that makes all the awfulness of the surgery and chemo worth it. She is physically hammered but mentally and spiritually she is upbeat. Thanks again.


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