Munira Premji

Today, I had an epiphany.

Until recently the approach I have taken with my cancers has been to give up on this year and focus on the next 20 years.  I am not looking at the possibility that I won’t make it.  I am betting with certainty that I will conquer the cancers with God’s grace.  And this focus has served me well.  Except that everyday I am beginning to realize that I am not “giving up on this year” at all.  On the contrary, I have gained so much since I got the diagnosis, exactly two months ago.

My family has had to dig deep to find strength.  This has made us a closer unit.  My daughter, Sabrina, chose to come home from Africa.  She is my best friend in the whole wide expanding universe and I love having her around and seeing who she is becoming. My investment banker son, Shayne, chose to put me before his career at this time, because he said “I was his priority”.   That was pretty significant.  My husband and I are dating frequently and embarrassing our children (they tease us and call us cute!).  I am spending more time with my mom and sister who have lived with us for 25 years.  I see my dad through my mom’s eyes as she recounts stories about him.  He passed away when he was only 52. My mom, Zera, is 82 and a pretty awesome woman.  I call her “Curious George” because she is always exploring.  I teach her how to use BBM; she makes me watch Awakening with Brahma Kumaris, her favorite show on Astha Television.  She teaches me to make Indian dishes; I teach her to make simple, healthy, quick global dishes.  Everyday we smile and contemplate what we are going to do together.  How can this be “giving up on the year”?

I have learned to be kind to myself:  take naps when I need to, ask for help even though I find that difficult, and indulge in Baskin Robbins’ Chocolate Chip Ice-cream and Cadbury Whole Nut chocolate bars.  There is something delicious about being able to do this and not feel guilty about it.

Through the blog, I have connected with people that I have not seen since kindergarten.  Friends and colleagues have taken time out of their busy lives to offer encouragement and support.  I have heard from people I don’t know, from different parts of the world, who have shared insight, stories and perspectives.  And, most of all, the prayers…  I’m convinced that God is listening.  All these prayers are giving me the strength to cope and the will to fight.  I am so humbled and grateful for this.  How can this be “giving up on this year?”

So from today onwards, I will have a different approach.  While my focus will continue to be on fighting the cancers and looking towards the future, I am not giving up on this year.  In fact, this will be the year when I rekindle long lost friendships, make new relationships, embrace whatever comes my way with openness and acceptance, learn to be a better person, and seek opportunities to grow in every aspect of my life.  And it is my cancers that have made this possible.  Who would have thought?

– Munira.


  • mylegacytoyou , April 11, 2012

    Dearest Munira,

    You grow many friendships under your feet, so that when you up and go, you trip over the sheer number of them that have grown accustomed to your presence. Though you leave them bemused and displaced, some walk along with you, knowing the purpose of your journey and its significance to everyone around you. Those of us, experience every new step that you take and enjoy the sceneries that you paint on the way. Though I miss your presence terribly and wish that I could be more, I will hear and admire you from a distance Munira and I will share this journey with you in your words.
    In my mind I’ve never left your side…


    • Premji Family , April 11, 2012

      Dearest Deva – I cried when I read your note. It got me thinking about when I was first diagnosed.we had not shared the news with anyone. Sabrina was in Africa. My mom was in Calgary attending my cousins funeral. I had not yet heard about the Lymphoma diagnosis. And I was coming to work every day and we were focused on getti g things done and building a solid transition plan. My emotions were all over the place. You saw me operate on a 100mg prednisone, you saw me when I was weepy and unwell. Through all of that you were right there with me – making sure I was drinking enough water, taking me to lunch, buying me yogurt and fruit for breakfast. The truth is I don’t know how I would have made it through that first month without you. I will forever be grateful to you my Deva, Munira

  • Anonymous , April 7, 2012
    enjoy songs when you feel like listening to them

    hope you are keeping strong and trying to get bettwer , we miss you but we totally understand your absence in khane

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Yes, trying to keep strong and healthy. Really, really miss not coming to Jamat Khana! Munira

  • Sulaiman Lalani , April 7, 2012

    Hello my favorite Mukhiani and Munira

    Your strength is an inspiration but quite honestly is nothing shy of what I expected of you.
    I have absolutely no doubt that you will pull through this and in the process elevate yourself to a new level of tenacity.We cant wait to see that glamorous MUNI in jamat khana again
    INSHALLAH very soon Love Faizaan Shayaan Shafana and Sulaiman.

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Dearest Sulaiman. Nagib and I were remembering that your birthday is coming up. We will connect with you personally. Thank you so much for your beautiful words. I am so touched. I just got some new glamorous saris to show off! The doctors are recommending I stay away from crowded areas and crowds because I am currently very susceptible to infections. And yet I really miss not coming to Jamat Khana. I struggle with what the right thing to do is every day. Look forward to speaking with you. Munira

  • Karim Kassam , April 6, 2012

    YAM Mukhisaheb and Mukhianisaheba,

    Our prayers are with you and we pray for Mukhianisaheba’s speedy recovery. May Allah continue to shower his blessings on you.

    Mukhianisaheba, you have always inspired us with your postive attitude and warm smiles (ever since our days with Scotia). With Jamat’s good wishes and prayers I am sure you will not only conquer the cancer, but also give strength to others going to conquer

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. It brought back wonderful memories of the Scotia days! I hope to be a support to others who are going through this difficult disease. Munira

  • snensi , April 6, 2012

    Its Friday, and I remember when I used to bug you all when we were in the Willowdale Jamatkhana’s leadership team about going out for desserts or dinner… it was my way of appreciating “us” and our moment being together… Today, I feel that again when I read your moments (Munira’s) … Bannnnaaaa!!!

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Baaaaannnnaaaa! Yes, of course I remember. You used to be the instigator, and I was right there as your partner-in-crime! Those were great days. I miss your energy! Munira

  • Salome , April 4, 2012

    Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
    – Helen Keller

    The greatest force in the human body is the natural drive of the body to heal itself–but that force is not independent of the belief system. Everything begins with belief. What we believe is the most powerful option of all. -Norman Cousins

    Years wrinkle the skin. But to lose enthusiasm in life wrinkles the soul. -Anonymous


    we pray for your recovery,

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Great quotes Salome. They have given me ideas for more posts. Munira

  • Nazim and Yasmin Hirani , April 4, 2012

    Your focus is in the right direction keep it up.our prayers woo always be there for you it’s not only us ther is a big ARMY don’t worry be happy!!

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Your support and encouragement leave me speechless. I am trying to maintain focus. Thank you! Munira

  • Rashida Kanji , April 4, 2012

    Dear Mukhianima,
    My heart is smiling for you. Congratulations on being an incredible person you have become. Sending you warm hugs and lots of love & prayers.

    Love & Light !

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Thanks Rashida. I like to hear that your heart is smiling! What a happy visual! Munira

  • Dilshad Nathoo , April 4, 2012

    Dear Munira,
    In the midst of hardships and chaos shines opportunity, promise, hope and light. You have even found much more than that! Congratulations on the person you are and the beautiful soul you’re becoming.

    Love to you,

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Thanks D! You know you make an interesting comment. As I am going through this time, I am evolving. Not sure where I will end up but I am finding that I am definitely transitioning. Munira

  • vicki cotter , April 4, 2012

    You take my breath away. I continue to send love and to pray.

    Big hug.


    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Vicki. I am so receiving your love and your prayers. Thank you! Munira

  • Anonymous , April 4, 2012

    You are truly an incredible woman. I read and re-read the blog often. When I’m in the elevator or when I’m in line for coffee. You are in my heart, thoughs and prayers.

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      I so appreciate your comment but feel you give me too much credit. Just trying to do my best under the circumstances. Thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement. Munira

  • Julie , April 3, 2012

    You found the gift in your situation. There’s always a gift but sometimes it’s hard to see it. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      Thanks Julie. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? You’ve taught me that. Munira

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