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Today we are honoring Aziz Hemani October 18,1960 – April 30, 2013. Here is his story from daughter Ana. Thank you Ana Hemani for sharing it with us.
In September of 2011, the symptoms began to get worse. My dad, Aziz Hemani, at the age of 50, was encountering the one disease we all fear – cancer. For several months, Dad had experienced excruciating pain that he kept to himself. He was the guy that would endure any pain no matter how bad it was and ignore it until it got worse. He finally went to a clinic where the doctor diagnosed him with an ulcer of some kind and sent him home. One night in September, he finally said, “I need to go to the emergency.” We worried something was really wrong. When we got to the E.R., we waited for 2 hours for help while dad's pain became worse. When the nurses took him in, they noticed something wrong with his vitals and put him under observation immediately. Eventually, the nurse came to the waiting room and told my sisters, Hina and Kiran, and Kiran’s boyfriend, Anil, and I “The results do not look well, girls. Your dad is a cigarette smoker. There are high chances that he may have cancer with the symptoms and vitals we are facing.” Instantly, our world came crashing down on us. Hina, the oldest of us 3 sisters, asked the nurse, “What do we do?” She looked as us 3 individually and said, “You pray.” After a month and several weeks, the gastrointestinal surgeons decided that going in blind for surgery was the best option because tests were not showing anything was wrong yet my dad’s pain remained. Dr. John C. Mansour informed us he would be performing the Whipple procedure. We researched, studied, asked questions, and still denied that it was a surgery for pancreatic cancer. On November 8, 2011, my dad went in for an 8-hour surgery. For an hour, they did not find anything. Then, Dr. Mansour put his hand in deep into the stomach and found a bulge along with many scarred lymph nodes. He then took out the bulge, took out his spleen, and cut a part of the pancreatic head. After the procedure, Dr. Mansour came to see my mom, held her hand and told her what he found. She didn’t know what to say or what to think. My sisters and I were in denial but said it’s okay; we’ll get through this too. During a checkup at the end of December of 2011, my mom, Hina, and dad found out my dad was diagnosed with stage III pancreatic cancer. He went through chemotherapy at the beginning of 2012 but was unable to do the full course of 6 months. In June of 2012, he was diagnosed with jaundice and had a tube put in to drain the acidity inside of his stomach. A bright moment came for dad when in December of that year, he got to see my oldest sister, Hina, get engaged to her long-term boyfriend, Azeem. January-March 2013, he went through chemotherapy and radiation again but soon after, the cancer started to spread. On April 10, he decided to become DNR and went on hospice. An anonymous angel donated supplies such as a hospice bed and hospice-care nurses to look after him. For a 27-year old, a 25-year old, and 19-year old, losing their soon-to-be 53-year old dad was devastating. Watching him deteriorate day-by-day brought out the pain in all of us. My mom was losing her partner, her best friend, her husband, and her life. 2 days before he passed, he went into coma. We were unable to hear his laughing and adorable voice. We all spoke our parts alone with him in his ears. I had never told my father “I love you.” but I finally said it and regretted never saying it before. We were all daddy’s little girls: Hina was our dad’s spoiled brat, Kiran was his advisor and listener, and I was his little doll. The day came, Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:45 A.M., he took his very last breath. The silence echoed in our home and our hearts as the funeral home people came and took him from us. Thursday, May 2, 2013, my sisters and I decided to do all of the ceremonies for our dad’s funeral and so we did. Hina did the prayers, Kiran recited the roman Urdu meaning of death, and I recited the English meaning of death. What we all learned that day was “Inna Lillah Wa Inna Illahi Ra’jun” which means “Verily, we belong to Allah (God) and to Him we shall return.”