Munira Premji

Yesterday was Navroz – the mark of a new year and the first day of spring.  As is customary in the Premji household, new beginnings are opportunities to set resolutions.  Gym memberships and eating plans seem trivial.  And learning to cook more than a peanut butter sandwich just doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore.  This year, what I really want is to be like my Mum.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have watched my Mum grapple with the toughest news she has ever had to receive.  I have overheard her discussions with friends describing the day she was diagnosed (D-day) and our scare at the Intensive Care Unit –no pretension, no victim-attitude; simply real and honest conversations.  I admire her authenticity – her ability to feel the good and the bad intensely, and embrace the vulnerability of the situation in her own stride.

With each curve ball my Mum has been thrown – a second cancer diagnosis, blood transfusions, acute hemolytic anemia – she has stepped up to the plate confidently and hit it out of the park.  Never have I seen a person approach uncertainty with as much positivity and resilience as she has.  She is fighting these cancers, with every ounce of energy humanly possible to muster up.  And through this, she is showing me the gift of being alive.  Her will to fight is a testament to how life is much too precious to throw in the towel.  Every day, every moment is one worth living to the absolute fullest.  My Mum is a walking example of that.   Her finely manicured toenails, impeccably clean Toyota Rav4 and brand new hardwood floors are proof enough that cancer does not have to stop life; it merely is a speed-bump that makes you slow down for a bit and take a moment to admire what’s around you, before speeding off again full-force on your way.

It has been a joy to be home and spend time watching my Mum, learning from her, trying to emulate her ways.  I selfishly crave our alone-time whether they be on our drives to the hospital, or waiting for test results, or sharing a killer milkshake at Pickel Barrel.  These precious mother-daughter moments are opportunities for my Mum to share her thoughts about this process with me.  She speaks about the importance of appreciating the little things in life – nurses who can find her vein right away, blood draws that don’t hurt, waking up in the morning with an appetite.   She has made me promise to enjoy every bite of food – something she has struggled with since starting chemo.  If there is anything I have learned from my Mum through this process, it is that the little things matter.  Take time to celebrate the small stuff, because it’s the small stuff that makes this ride much more worthwhile.

When faced with two late stage cancers, it would be easy to sit in the corner like little Jack Horner and ask the question ‘why me?’.  But instead by asking the more empowering question of ‘where is the learning in this?’, my Mum has taught me the value of perspective.  You can make virtually any situation a positive one simply by changing your paradigm.

My Mum may have cancer, but when she walks into the hospital, she looks like a supermodel.  Business suit, heeled boots, funky jewelry – that is the new look of a woman with cancer (and a soon-to-be cancer survivor).  My Mum went so far as calling my Dad and me bums after wearing jeans to her last appointment – and trust me, we have dressed to the nines ever since! She has taught me that no matter what experience comes your way, good or bad, you tackle it head on with confidence, with flair and with style.  That’s my Mum.  A stylish, radiant woman with an extraordinary spirit and an unbelievable zest for life.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be with her by her side throughout this time. It truly is a gift to be able to call her my Mommy.

– Sabrina


  • Saira Nasirdin , April 5, 2012

    Sabrina beta,

    I have a daughter your age and I totally understand what you are going through and I am sure that you will grow up to be just like your Mommy, she must be so proud of you for being so strong for her. Sabrina I dont know if you have read the Secret and The Power by Rhonda Byrne! those are really good books. Take care of yourself dear. Praying for you and your family.

  • Julie Nunes , March 26, 2012

    What a beautiful photo

  • Anonymous , March 26, 2012

    May your bond grow even stronger and you find all the courage ,hope and peace in whatever tasks,challenges or joys that are waiting to be encountered,faced and embraced.

  • Anonymous , March 25, 2012

    Your mother is an inspiration to us all….


  • Dilshad Nathoo , March 24, 2012

    So a little history lesson for you Shain (LOL),

    “During the time King Henry VIII was confiscating church property, Richard Whiting was the Abbot of Glastonbury. Thinking to avoid losing everything, he hit upon a plan to turn property over to the King.
    He decided to bake the titles of twelve valuable manors into a pie, give it to his trusted steward, Thomas Horner, and dispatch him to the King.
    In those days, it was usual to hide treasures in a pie, so this was perfectly sensible.
    Horner, behaving as a knave (Jack) opened the pie, took out the best title, sealed the pie and conveyed it with eleven titles to Henry VIII.”

    So although your mom isn’t sitting in a corner stealing treasures from inside a pie….she will have the best concocted chemo regimine and pull out a cure from HER pie!!!

    Thoroughly loved and enjoyed the visit yesterday. Laughed and talked and the time felt waaaaay too short!!!


  • Anonymous , March 24, 2012

    My family and I are confident that you`re going to get through this!

  • SAP , March 23, 2012

    Who is Jack Horner? And why does he sit in the corner?

  • Shamim , March 22, 2012

    She is amazing in the way she is handling this as I have seen people say why me. She is beautiful and elegant and I admire her tremendously. Love to you all

  • Dilshad , March 22, 2012

    “A Mother’s love grows by giving.” ~Charles Lamb.
    This very simple quote defines your mom to the fullest. She gives and gives and gives and the aura of love around her grows and grows and grows. Sabrina, your mom is a most wonderful role model to most if not all whom have had the fortune to meet her. I myself, included.
    She resonates with strength, wisdom, humility, intelligence, class and of course let’s not forget fashion!!!
    The way in which she has taken this particular “bull” (cancer) by the horns is a manner I would not have expected any less from her. She displays true faith, determination and positivity.
    It is true as we age in life, we definitely become more wiser through our experiences and relationships. I myself, like your mom, always try to look at the positive and brighter side of what curve balls life throws you.
    I will give you a small but funny example…Nareesa is taking 8 courses and she developed a bronchial cough this past weekend, ending her March Break. She unfortunately missed a day of school (1st day this year), and upon getting back to school on Tuesday she finds out she has 2 pretty significant quizzes the next day. Of course as any highschool student is expected to do she starts complaining. So I told her to look at the positive. She says to me, “Mom, I’m so sick, I can barely keep my eyes open, can barely catch my breath and I have 2 BIG quizzes tomorrow. What can be positive in that?”. My answer. “Well the medication is starting to work, the honey, ginger and turmeric you’re starting to enjoy, the weather has been fantastic and at least you don’t have 8 quizzes to write. LOL”. She looked at me as if I had 2 heads coming out of my body.
    So as mothers, we have to look at the positive. It is the best way to approach life and all the ups and downs it gives you.
    Although, I am not too far behind in age, I myself want to be just like your mommy when I grow up!!

    With my special, special love to you all,

  • pkurgan , March 22, 2012

    Sabrina, I am so inspired by your entire family. I am so grateful to always be learning from you. Hugs to all of you.

  • Lynda Cavanagh , March 22, 2012

    That is exactly how your mom has been since i met her many years ago. She is everyting you mentioned and a role model for us all. We all think that, but your wrote so eloquently. You are your mothers’s daughter and I know she is so proud of you. Keep close to her and give her a hug from Dave and I.

  • Renee , March 22, 2012

    From the moment I met her, I could sense how remarkable she was. And from following your journey Sabrina, and now this blog.. I can tell the same of you. As the saying goes.. “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. I know that with the love that surrounds her, and her incredible spirit, your mommy will continue to amaze us. Love to all of you.

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