Munira Premji

After a 9-day stay in hospital, I was home… for one day.  Yesterday, I had to come back for a painful bone marrow biopsy, and tomorrow, I have to come back for a CT scan.  (I practically live at the Hospital these days!)

The results of these tests will be available in approximately two weeks, and will show whether the Lymphoma “has been knocked down” (in Dr. Tiedemann’s words).  He is “very confident”.  Me?  I am very hopeful.

In the meantime, Chemo #5 awaits on Monday.  This time, I’m not going to say “Bring it on!”.  I’ll just hang on to this roller coaster ride and hope to make it through the next two chemo treatments seamlessly.

But this post is really not about me.  It is about a lady who was in the bed beside me in the Emergency Room last week.  Imagine a 30-something blonde woman, very pretty, beautiful eyes – a bit gaunt.  For an hour and a half, I overheard her on the phone, anxiously trying to find someone who could pick up her 11 year old daughter from a friend’s place and look after her while she was in the hospital.  With each call, she had to repeat her story and cried as she told it. She did finally find someone, and I heard the relief in her voice as she took a deep sigh of relief.  My heart went out to this woman. 

As we waited overnight in Emerg for beds to be available in the hospital (she also had a blood infection and needed to be admitted), I got to know “Leslie”.  I learnt that she has been waiting for a liver transplant for the past 2 years.  She goes to the hospital every day at 1 pm to “clean” her liver. She has 3 children: an 11 year old, a 4 year old, and a 2 year old baby!  Every weekday, she drives to a subway station near her home, then takes the subway to the hospital for her treatment.  After her treatment, despite feeling very nauseous, she forces herself back onto the subway, rushes to get to her car so she can pick up her kids from the daycare.  This has been her regimen every day for quite some time.  She knows that she cannot continue in this way indefinitely.  I tried to have her think about support and resources she could tap into so that she could focus on getting better.  I also gave her the contact information of someone who could help her sort things out.  I hope she will follow through.

I have thought of Leslie every day and marveled at how strong she is – stronger than I could ever be.  I think about how she has to look after her three young children when she is so sick, and has to be in the hospital every day.  I wonder how tiring it would be to have to wait for a liver for two years, with no imminent hope of getting one.  When I reflect on her situation, I realize how lucky I am.

Yes, I have two cancers.  I also have a definite treatment plan with a timeframe and an oncologist who is optimistic that I will beat the cancers.  And I have a tremendous network of support of family and friends. 

My learning is that if you look outside your own bubble and take the time to really see the people around you, there is much to discover. Everyone has their story.  And while you may think your situation is dire, there are people whose challenges are greater.   It’s all about perspective.


  • Wannietta , June 16, 2012

    I am so happy that you were able to go home. “Going back” is better than “staying”. I am happy to be home as well; humble though it may be it is my haven.

  • Shaney Sunderji , June 10, 2012

    Oh my… are an absolute knock out as a blond!!!

    You continue to amaze me with that positive attitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, always.


  • Alisha Khatau-Noormohamed , June 6, 2012

    Your outlook on life and your ability to look past your own is absolutely admirable! You are truly truly an inspiration; and your capability to love, support, inspire and give unconditionally is highly respected and valued. All of my thoughts and prayers are with you always.
    Alisha Khatau-Noormohamed

  • Rashida Kanji , June 5, 2012

    Dear Mukhianima,
    Perspective, Perspective, Perspective! You are absolutely amazing! You truly amaze me with your positive attitude. Bravo!! Hang in there! I will definitely pray for Leslie. Always thinking of you night & day! Good luck during Chemo# 5.It will all be okay!
    Warm hugs & love to you & the family


  • Anonymous , June 4, 2012

    My Dear Munira,
    Once again you have inspired me….My prayers are with you.


  • Anonymous , June 4, 2012

    Munira, thank you for continuing to give to others. That is why you are so loved. I do believe our own pain is easier to bear when we can think of others. I am praying very hard for you, and I know you can hang on for these 2 more treatments. All my love, Patti.

  • Laila , June 4, 2012

    Mukhiani maan
    I have never met a person as optimistic as you are! Hang in there, We are all praying for you everyday.. I say a special tasbih for you daily and I know God is going to listen to our prayers (Ameen)

  • Dilshad Nathoo , June 3, 2012

    Hey Munira Mukhiani,
    Although I say a general prayer for everyone around the world, I will definitely include “Leslie” in my prayers now. Perspective is a funny thing isn’t it?? The “grass is greener on the other side”…until you get to the other side. “The glass is half full/half empty”….perspective on whether you’re an optomist or pessimist.
    I thank my wonderful parents for teaching me the importance of perspective – Be thankful for what you have and what God has given to you….there is always someone who is going through something worst, unfortunately. My dad would always tell me that.
    In times like these and it is so understandable to feel sorry for oneself when going through such hard times. Emotions, physical pain and experiences that would seem impossible to overcome or even to bare. But as usual, you take the strength to look outside “your” bubble and bring extra significance and learning and educating others about “PERSPECTIVE”. Bravo to you.

    By the way, you look absolutely HOT in that wig. IT IS DEFINITELY YOU. You look like you’re in your early 30’s.

    Keep fighting and hang in there. There are so many people praying for you and supporting you. You are never alone!!!

    Love to you and the family,

  • Anonymous , June 1, 2012

    you look aboslutely fantastic, sooooo good and s….. loving and no words
    the fact that you went through the inital stages is a big plus

    dont worry too much about your neighbours in hospital, sometimes being oversensitve does not help too much, especially if we are not at par., you know what i mean

    people who are better should be considerate
    there are resources that can be guided or shown to her

    keep it up

    your mum told me you were in hospital, so whenever you dont write ,sometimes I worry, but always pray and think of you

    you have finished 1/2 or 3/4 of the battle ? so? atleast accepting the facts and accepting to go through it

  • Karen Bongelli (from Insights 2011 @ TDFS) , June 1, 2012

    Your perspective is spectacular <3

  • shainurpremji , June 1, 2012

    I pray that your next two treatments go seamlessly as well. You’ve often been in my thoughts and prayers. Suffice it to say, you still look amazing!! Keep smiling and sharing your thoughts… you’re touching each one of us as you do, and teaching us about humanity, humility and love.

  • Julie , June 1, 2012

    I will keep Leslie in my prayers.
    Ps – love you rocking the blonde wig.

    • Nazmina , June 1, 2012

      Munira Mukhiani,

      You are amazing. You always have time and energy for others and you live the true spirit of Islam. You are always in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. We remembered you on Mothers day and on Chandraat and we pray for you every day. May Mowla ease the burden of all your difficulties, may He fulfill all your wishes, grant you and your family the strength and courage to face this difficult period – Ameen.

      Love, Nazmina, Karim Samara and Zain

  • Anonymous , June 1, 2012

    Munira, You are so positive in life! the most thing that I admire about you is that you are going through such a rough patch in life yet you are there helping another person which is really amazing! I wish you all the best in your coming treatments, you look beautiful as usual! May Mowla always shower his choicest blessings on you Amen!

  • Anonymous , June 1, 2012

    Dear Muhkianima,
    You never stop to amaze me with your positive outlook! I have lots to learn from you.
    All the very best for chemo #5. Our prayers are always with you….

    Love from Shamim.

    • Anonymous , June 1, 2012

      You say : “It’s all about perspective..” just the words I needed for my weekend…
      Thank you for sharing..
      I think about you very often.

  • mylegacytoyou , June 1, 2012

    Munira, you look beautiful with your familiar smile that lights up gloomy skies. Your capacity to empathise with others is your greatest strength. Your drive to lend a helping hand to the one in need is exceptional. Your overwhelming love for people from all walks of life overpowers any trials and tribunals you may have to endure yourself. You are stronger than all of us because of your perspective…

    Love, Deva

  • Anonymous , June 1, 2012

    You are such an inspiration and a remarkable woman. My thoughts & prayers are with you & “Leslie”.


    Denise W

  • Parin Sunderji , June 1, 2012

    I marvel at your ability to look beyond ” your own bubble”. Bravo! Hang in there – we re all praying for you. If there is one person in the world who believes in the power of the prayer, I know it is you!
    Love and prayers,
    Parin S.

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