Capitol & State

Andrus recovering after lung cancer surgery

Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus is recuperating at home in Boise after surgery but says he plans to make his annual elk hunt in October.

“I’ll be strong enough by then,” Andrus told the Statesman on Monday. “I’m at home recovering, feeling fine. I’m going to be around for a long time.”

Andrus said surgeons and a pathologist found no sign of any other cancer after a surgery that lasted over five hours on July 3. “They say it doesn’t look like it’s going to require any further treatment,” he said.

Andrus will be 83 on Aug. 25.

Missing Friday’s funeral of Gov. John Evans “troubled me a great deal,” Andrus said, but he told Evans’ family and Gov. Butch Otter, “Hey, I’m flat on my back, I can’t move.”

Idaho’s longest-serving governor, Andrus held the office from 1971-77 and 1987-95. Evans served the decade between Andrus’s first and second acts, 1977-1987.

Andrus praised his medical team at Mountain States Tumor Institute and St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center.

But he couldn’t resist saying he hopes for a resolution to “this ridiculous medical dispute going on between our two major hospitals” — St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. “We are very, very fortunate to live in an area where we have such outstanding medical services,” Andrus said.

He also had a shout-out for officials at the Idaho National Laboratory: He’s still paying attention to delayed efforts on dealing with liquid waste.

“I’ve got 17 years go to 100,” Andrus said. “And if that admiral in Eastern Idaho doesn’t get the nuke waste cleaned up I’ll last a little longer. My adversaries should not be smiling — they might get a little free time here for three or four weeks, but other than that we’ll be doing battle.”

After five days of hospitalization, Andrus said he’s much improved. “I feel so much better today than I did a week ago. That anesthesia really does you in.”

Doctors, Andrus said, tell him it will be six to eight weeks “before you can do any real activities. But I’m not bedridden. I’m up and about.”

He said he considers himself lucky that a radiologist noticed a shadow on a CT scan of his head and neck and suggested further tests.

“I had — past tense — lung cancer,” Andrus said. “They took the full lobe off my right lung and say they couldn’t find evidence of malignancy any place else in my beautifully shaped, youthful body. Well, I guess that was my phrase.”

With his German shorthair Macy keeping him company, Andrus asked that well-wishers hold off on cookies and casseroles.

“Please, be very, very generous with your prayers for me, but save your money,” he said. “No flowers, no visitations. It just poops me out. I gotta get my strength back first. Don’t worry about my extra caloric intake, I don’t need it.”