So my grandma has cancer.
I got my blue eyes from her, Addie is named after her.
It’s weird to say, my grandma has cancer. I mean, cancer is really common and frankly she’s made it to almost 90 years old with nothing more than a bum knee and a bad eye. So to say “Grandma has cancer” is weird, because on one hand she’s lived for almost an entire century, it had to happen sometime. On the other hand, she’s lived for almost an entire century, why now? It’s bladder cancer and my mom has been keeping me updated on what’s going to be happening next, which is an ostomy. Turns out there’s a local company right here in Indy called Awestomy! and I’m going to see if they will make her a shirt that reads “Grandma’s got a brand new bag.” Because my grandma, she has a sense of humor. She also grew up in Oklahoma so the ‘Oklastoma!” shirt may be even more appropriate. Hallmark even has a whole bunch of funny “So, you have cancer?” cards and suddenly I find myself with someone to send them to.
She’s always been my more, well, frightening grandma. I can remember when I was Addie’s age my mom told me to ask my grandma to cut a grapefruit for me, I came up behind her in her chair and the thought of asking her to cut a grapefruit for me was terrifying so I decided I’d rather go without a grapefruit. She is a very no nonsense woman, a curmudgeon in the very best way.
You don’t mess with grandma, ever.
While I have always been a little frightened of her, she is also one of the most admirable women in my life. You see, she puts up with my grandpa and has for over 60 years. My grandpa turns 93 in a couple of weeks and while he’s still up and at ‘em, he’s getting older too. Alzheimer’s. I visited them last month while I was in California and in my time there he made toast, twice. When I talked to my grandma about her cancer she wasn’t so concerned about herself, she was more worried about who would take care of grandpa while she was busy kicking cancer’s trash.
“Who knows how much toast he’d make if I weren’t here!”
“If I were cancer and looking for someone new, I sure as hell wouldn’t pick you.” I said.
She laughed. Even she knows you don’t mess with grandma.
Last year she had to put her foot down with my grandpa and tell him he could no longer work. He was getting lost on the way home, a home he has lived in for over 60 years. She confessed that having him home was exhausting but it was better for everyone that he wasn’t out on his own.
“If you ever get sick of him, you can always send him back to work and maybe he won’t find his way back!”
She laughed really hard.
I love making my grandma laugh because she doesn’t laugh at much.
So my grandma has cancer. My mom is on the front lines caring for both my grandma and my grandpa, she told me last year it’s hard to watch your parents get old. My grandma is determined as hell to get better so she can take care of my grandpa (she was a career nurse, while I sometimes wonder if she instilled the same fear into her patients that she instilled into me as a child, there is no one better or more qualified to take care of my grandpa’s hundred little quirks.)
Neither of them will live forever, and with how closely entwined their lives are and have been for the last half a century, the heart of one would never last long without the other. I’d like to think that if Cody and I make it to 67 years married and 90 years old we will be just like them. Fighting so hard, through cancer and Alzheimer’s, to stay together for as long as possible because we would each be lost without the other, even if we do drive each other nuts.
So my grandma has cancer. This is new territory for me. One one hand, my grandma has cancer, on the other hand? She is a fighter, not only for herself, but for the man she has loved for almost her entire life.