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“Hey Gramps. How are you doing?” David asked putting his arm around Melvin’s shoulder when the old man appeared next to him.
“I couldn’t be better. What about you. What do you think of our family?” Melvin asked genuinely happy to be surrounded by his entire family. Having David in Los Angeles and spending time with his granddaughter meant the world to him.
“Aunt Bette and Tina are amazing. That little girl of theirs already has me wrapped around her finger. Mom and I are having the best time getting to know one another. I’m thrilled with my new family Gramps. Thanks for making this happen. I’m just sorry you waited so long. You lost a lot of time Gramps.”
“I know son. I was a stubborn old man that let pride and stupidity get in the way of loving and caring for my girls. I have a lot of making up to do, but I’m not wasting any more time.”
“You know Gramps you need to tell them.” David had been encouraging his grandfather to let Kit, Bette and Tina know about his illness. They’d visited the specialist in Los Angeles and the prognosis was better than Melvin anticipated. Since he had refused treatment in Philadelphia the Oncologist couldn’t provide a complete assessment, so he gave him a worst-case scenario prognosis of under two years to live. He was more forthright with the doctor in Los Angeles and having David with him gave him the courage to have more thorough testing and to consider the treatment options.
The results showed he was at stage II, but fortunately the cancers had not yet grown outside of the prostate. He was warned that without immediate treatment with surgery or radiation the cancers would eventually spread. Once they spread to the bladder or rectum or progressed to lymph nodes and bones, he would be in the advanced stages. Any chance of a cure would be diminished and his quality of life would deteriorate quickly.
The doctor had determined that given Melvin’s age and general health surgery was a bit risky, but he could withstand it. If they got it all, and if he underwent radiation treatment Melvin could be around until Angelica started Kindergarten.
“You’re right.” Melvin relinquished. “It’s time to tell them. Let’s go inside.”
David and Melvin found the women in the kitchen chatting. When Tina finished feeding Angelica the infant had gone right back to sleep so she laid her in the crib and turned on the baby monitors in the house so they could hear her.
Melvin got their attention and asked if they could sit in the living room for a few minutes. “I have something to tell you all.”
His demeanor was solemn but determined. He was going to beat this thing with the love and support of this family. The prospect of holding a five-year-old Angelica’s hand while they walked into her first day of Kindergarten gave him all the motivation that he needed to fight.