At the age of 12, growths began to appear on the insteps of Sandra Petty Granger’s feet. The size of the growths made walking painful for her.
Her local doctor in Dadeville advised her parents to take her to Children’s Hospital. There Granger was diagnosed with Dupuytrens Contractures, which normally appears in the hands of adults in their fifties and sixties. When it appears in young people, it is a more aggressive form. The disease is hereditary and came from her mother’s side of the family.
Dr. Sherrill performed surgery on her feet in 1954, removing the growths.
“The day after the surgery I removed the bandages from my right foot and scratched the top of my foot and it became infected. I stayed at Children’s that summer for two months until the infection cleared up,” Granger said. “I still remember how homesick I was.”
The growths returned, which is typical of the disease, twice over the following four years and Dr. Sherrill removed them.
At the age of 38, the disease appeared in her knuckles. Over time, it began to draw her fingers down. She has had several surgeries in both hands in order to continue the use of them.
After working for the state for many years, Granger joined the active duty program with the Army National Guard. She retired after 22 years of service on May 31, 2003 as a sergeant major, the highest enlisted rank in the military.
“Entering active duty in 1981 was the best move I made during my military career,” she said. “I was honored to wear the uniform and serve my country during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
After retiring from the Guard, she requested reinstatement with the State of Alabama and began work as an administrative assistant with the Air National Guard at the 187th Fighter Wing at Montgomery Regional Airport.
Thanks to the care she received at Children’s, she was able to work for 48 years, retiring on March 31, 2010. She is now working on her bucket list.
“My mother and father were always grateful and very appreciative of Children’s and the help the hospital provided to us and other families in Alabama. I am grateful as well,” said Granger.