Ron Mervin Gonsky. My grandpa was an incredible man who devoted his life to helping others. I had the honor of being his granddaughter for 15 years. My dad had the honor of being his son for 48 years.
I guess you could say my grandpa’s cancer wasn’t all that unique. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and on average around 165,000 new cases per year in the United States. He was diagnosed April 2010. He fought for 8 wonderful years and passed away July 1, 2018. He was surrounded by 2 sons, a daughter on facetime, 2 daughters-in-law, 3 granddaughters, his wife, and an incredible hospice staff.
Throughout the last 4 months of his life, my family face timed Oompah to maximize the amount of time we had left with him. My dad knew it was coming soon. – he’s a hematologist-oncologist and treats prostate cancer for a living. I had been preparing myself for his death for a whole year, but nobody could’ve prepared me for what I was feeling. Oompah was my first grandparent to pass away and it was hard. The hardest part though was seeing my dad have to be a son and a doctor at the same time. My dad was tracking Oompah’s cancer from the very first day he was diagnosed – making sure Oompahs’s doctors put him on any new clinical trial and gave him the most current medicine and treatment. I think my dad wanted to treat Oompah just like one of his other patients but he couldn’t. Seeing him so vulnerable but trying to keep a strong face gave me a different appreciation and empathy for him. I couldn’t help but picture myself in his situation and it was extremely unnerving. There was no way I would ever be ready to say goodbye to my dad.
When my family went to visit Oompah for the last time in his final days, he was in a bed barely moving and barely talking. It was painful to see my strong, athletic, adventurous grandpa so weak. Cancer is a killing machine and it won’t make excuses for anybody. It can affect any person no matter their gender, age, or health.
Shiloh Gonsky, 15