Munira Premji

An incredible part of my journey with cancer has been words of wisdom that I have received from so many people.  Words that have inspired me, comforted me, encouraged me, given me hope and driven me to action.  Some of these words have been from past survivors of cancer — people anxious to share what they have learnt to make my journey easier.  Some from students I taught many years ago.  Some from new friends I have never met from faraway lands. Every one of these comments have been gifts given to me at a time of need.  Here is a sampling of those that have had a huge impact on me:

Early in my journey, someone sent me a quote that said, “The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  I have carried these words with me every day as it gives me comfort that a smiling God is right there with me every step of the way.

Someone brought me a frame that contains a powerful quotation about light.  I start the day reading the words every morning.   It infuses light in every part of my being and starts the day right.

One lady, when she sees me at Jamatkhana, calls me “The Great Pretender”.  She is convinced that I don’t have any cancer given how well I look when I have good days.  We both have a great laugh after this quick interaction.

One of my past students sent me a powerful email that made me cry.  It said, “I have a selfish reason (for you to beat this illness).  You have always told me that one day I will be a success in whatever I am destined for.  Therefore, you have to make sure that you are around whenever that time comes because I would not have been able to get to where I need to without all your help and encouragement.”  Little did he know that he was giving me a purpose and will to live.

A close friend sends me emails every couple of days reminding me to breathe.  I had not realized how I tend to forget to take deep breaths when I get busy.  Her emails spur me to action and I now make a conscious effort to take 20 deep breaths every day.

Another friend sends me beautiful pictures of nature every few days.  It is a great reminder for me to look beyond myself to the beauty of God’s creation and miracle.

One person sent me an email early in my diagnoses to say that I am as strong as a lion.  I hold on to this metaphor every time I feel like a scared little girl doing the best with what life has given me.

There are a few individuals that phone and email me periodically to remind me that I will beat the cancers and not to doubt this for a moment.  This boosts my spirit.  One cancer survivor wrote me an email that I hold dear and read frequently.  It is a reminder to listen to my body.  In his words, “Your body and spirit will need to work hand in hand in beating [the cancer].  You will have plenty of time to make up for things you have or might have missed, but rest is the body’s way of recovering.”  This was a tough message for me at the beginning but one that I am getting better at following.  He also encourages me to be future focused.  In his words, “your thoughts and energy should be directed at all the things left to do over the next 40 plus years; this will be a very short fight and you will win.” I love this message because it gives me hope for the future and permission to plan for a long, happy and healthy life.

And then there are friends who occasionally “kick my butt” when they feel I am going into self-pity mode and remind me of people who are worse off than me. Great perspective!

Nashukuru to all who continue to offer prayers, send books, respond to blog posts, give much needed hugs and take time to call or visit.  Your time and energy to be with us through this time has been our inspiration to move forward positively and tackle this illness head on.

Your words of wisdom have inspired me to do the same with people I meet.  Everyone can use a little bit of support and encouragement, someone to talk to, a friendly, non-judgmental ear.  If we offered this gift to our friends, family and colleagues unconditionally, what a wonderful contribution we would make to the world.



  • julianamaria24 , November 26, 2017


  • Asmatali Batada , November 26, 2017

    Munira, I have been your blog for long time. It gives me inspiration as see how strong you have and come through. Whenever I see you WJK with smile it’s encouragement for all us.
    Beautiful picture of all four you,

  • mylegacytoyou , November 30, 2012

    I have selfish reasons for you to beat this too Munira! You are my positive pool of energy that never runs out of steam!
    Love always, deva

  • Dilshad Nathoo , November 29, 2012

    Sorry haven’t connected or written in ages. I’m following all your blogs (in the car, in the hockey rinks, in the volleyball courts, etc.) and loving every one of them. What an inspiration you continue to be. Life has been so hectic but there’s one thing I keep remembering – which one of your friends keeps reminding you…..take a deep breath. I have yet to do so. If I could just remember to take 1 deep breath, hopefully soon I will reach your accomplishment of 20!!!
    Just to let you know again, although we don’t see each other often…one thing I’m so thankful and grateful for is having the blessed opportunity of knowing you and having you in our lives. You ROCK by the way 🙂

    With Immense Love,
    Arif, Dilshad, Nareesa and Tahara

  • lucy , November 26, 2012

    Hi Munira,

    Jeremiah 30:17: For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord.

    God is a healing God. May you all find comfort in His loving arms and I will be praying for you and family always. HUGS from East Africa.

  • Anonymous , November 26, 2012

    keep writing, , take it with a stride,grace and hope, be brave and let go negative thoughts , negative thoughts will take your energy for the day, being concerned is fine and working towards solving the problem, but unnecessary worrying will unintentionally get you into physcho soical/ mental sickness .

    some patients are so brave , they laugh and talk about their sickness and yet others are so misreable…. and isolated from the world

    you cry , no one will cry with you!!!!!

    human body gets signals from negative thoughts too and dont let that control you

    help yourself by eating healthy too , just like you get healthy emails to get you going!!!!!

  • Begum Janmohamed , November 26, 2012

    Mukhiani Maa, It was very nice to read today’s blog. We are very happy to see your smiling family’s photo in today’s blog. By the way you looked so beautiful at Willowdale j.k. when you and Sabrina enter j.k. I think it was last Thursday, Wanted to talk to you but you had disappeared. Keep up your smiles



  • Anonymous , November 26, 2012

    Saira Says (did that bring a smile to your beautiful face?)
    Munira, you have been a great inspiration for me! Can I please have your email address? btw! i might be missing some of your blogs, I am going to Nairobi on Saturday to see my mum who doesnt keep very well. Take care dear!

  • Anonymous , November 26, 2012

    You are blessed with a lot of good friends and family

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