She is one of the smartest most compassionate physicians I have ever known. In fact, she IS the reason I am a doctor. From her I learned lessons in compassion, kindness and generosity. From her I learned about the constant juggle to balance patients, office, and family. I have yet to master the ease with which she did it.
To thousands of privileged patients, she is Venis Fanous, MD. To me she is my “Tant Seeza.” She is my most favorite aunt and my role model. People say we look exactly alike–a huge compliment to me as she is striking in her beauty. Kindness, peace, gentleness and hope are conveyed in one blink of her crystal blue eyes.
As a young girl, I would often escape to my Tant Seeza’s house. In her routine, I found comfort back then. She would end a long day with a mandatory hot shower and cup of steaming tea. Then, sometimes just a few hours later wake up for another shower and steaming coffee. And the cycle repeated. Now, in my own daily rituals, I see hers–coffee in the morning, coffee at night. Body finally winding down, mind never at rest.
She has always been tireless for her patients–up dawn till night. Slogging through an office full of patients with the same grace and patience from patient #1 to patient #30. Then, she would drive to one or two hospitals rounding on the sickest patients. These patients would visibly brighten just at her presence. The nurses knew she was coming down the hall just by the way her heeled feet clicked rhythmically down the hall: always quick but never rushed. Nurses would sit up straight, smile warmly and hand her whatever she needed. Not because she was demanding or important but because she had this light, this ability to rally anyone in her presence to do right. Next, she would head home, kick off her beautiful shoes (never flat, never sensible) and prepare a gourmet feast for her adoring husband and two sons. She never complained, never took a day off, never asked for help. In fact, it is in her seeming unending strength that thousands have found the seeming last drop of theirs.
This year, my darling Tant Seeza was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer.
With the same grace she handles everything, she is handling this. Just a few months after major emergency surgery and DURING chemotherapy, she has returned to work to care for her patients as only she can. Even in her own sickness, she only thinks of others and how much they depend on her.
The love of those patients for her is evidenced in the thousands of cards, flowers, and letters they have sent her. They pray for her, cheer for her, and lift her up. And, she absolutely cherishes every last one of them in return.
For Venis Fanous, MD an army has risen at her back as she fights for her life.
For my Tant Seeza, my grief rises for her quiet pain. But I hear her wordless stern warning:”I’m fine, ” she says even as tubes erupt from her arms and endless drugs drip into her veins. What she means is “I can’t let anyone worry about me—they have enough of their own stuff to worry about.”
This year, I, along with my 47 teammates, ran Broad Street for my Tant Seeza.
Her patients need her.
I need her.
The world needs her.
In the process we raised over $60,000 for the American Cancer Society.
In 2014, Team CMMD’s goal is to recruit 100 runners to run 10 miles and raise $100,000. Who’s joining us?