Went to visit my grandmother in hospital today, recovering from amputation of her leg. 5 years ago, she had some problems with her arteries in her legs, as so many elderly people have. She went to the doctor, and while he was observing the arteries, he noticed a spot that caused some concern, he said. Took a biopsy, and indeed, it turned out to be a melanome: very aggressive skin cancer. Most people die within two months. Luckily she’s not that young anymore (was 77 at the time) so the malignant cells don’t spread that easily. Nevertheless it did cause quite a bit of a panic. She did undergo treatment, as in chemo and radiation, and quite a serious bit of surgery. All seemed pretty allright. Yet, a year or so later it turned out the cancer hadn’t gone, but wasn’t spreading either. Odd, but very lucky so.
Last year two big tumors started developing on her leg, eventually growing to be the size of a tennis ball each. The wounds on them wouldn’t heal anymore, so she had to constantly put a bandage around her leg. Yet it didn’t hurt.
About a month ago, the oncologist started to worry again, saying that the cancer slowly was spreading, that chemo wouldn’t help anymore, and that the leg had to go. Of course this was quite a decision to make: she’s nearly 82, still married to and happily living together with my grandfather, who’s 90, in the house he was born in. As she’s nearly blind, being one-legged would mean an even bigger handicap. The surgeon said he wouldn’t have considered such a serious issue if she weren’t still as bright and clever and energetic as ever.
Thursday a week ago the decision was made, as the cancer was spreading faster now, and the injuries became even more serious. Not a moment too soon, as the leg started hurting and bleeding pretty seriously, without anyone being able to stop that. It finally came off on Wednesday. She’s taking it pretty well, taking everything into account. She’s not the moaning, whiney type, and she’s being pretty practical about how to handle things in the future. I’m very happy about that, cos of course all this has had me worry quite a bit. I’m glad she’s holding her spirits high. I’m not sure I would have been able to react the same serene way.
Thinking of you, gran. May God bless you… You’ll need it.

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