Munira Premji

December 23, 2012

December represented a wonderful break from the hospital.  It was a time of healing, of socializing, of everything fun (yes, those reindeer horns are really on my head – it’s not a Photoshop trick).

And then came January, and it was back to reality.

We had a clinic appointment with Dr. Tiedemann last week to talk about next steps of my treatment.  The decision is for me to have more chemotherapy treatments starting immediately to get rid of the residual cancer that lingers in my body.   Each time I feel that I am done with chemo, it creeps up on me again.  The chemo will be done weekly until such time that a bed is available for me to have the stem cell transplant.

The good news is that we were able to collect enough stem cells in December for two transplants.  This was a huge relief because the stem cell collection process was not successful in October after 9 days of trying.  The oncologists recommend collecting stem cells for two transplants just in case the first transplant is not successful or if another transplant is required after a few years.

To facilitate the stem cell process, I will need to get a Hickman line inserted.  This involves a half hour surgery where the line is inserted from a small incision on the chest into a large vein near the heart.  This procedure is scheduled for January 10th.  The stem cells will be transplanted into my body through the Hickman line.

I do not yet have a date for the actual transplant, although it could theoretically happen anytime after the Hickman line is inserted.  At the moment, there is a 2 to 8 week waiting list for a bed to be available for transplant patients, so the transplant will likely happen between Jan 24th and the end of February.  In the meantime, I will continue weekly chemo treatments.

It’s a strange place to be.  On the one hand, I am so close to the completion of my treatment.  On the other hand, it feels like a long and winding road.  The reality is that it has been an 11 month ordeal.  During this time, there have been many miracles, some challenges and a lot of blessings.  As I take stock of my life today, I declare that while I would not wish this on anybody, the cancer journey has shown me that we are stronger than we think.  It has also taught me about the power of state of mind.  Thank you Patrick for sharing this poem with me.  It is a timely reminder.

A State of Mind

If you think you are beaten you are.
If you think that you dare not you don’t.
If you think that you’d like to win
But feel you can’t
It’s almost a cinch that you won’t.
For out in this world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will –
It’s all in the State of Mind.

Yes, many a race is lost
Before ever a step is run,
And many a coward fails before his work’s begun.
Think big, and your deeds will rise;
Think small, and you’ll fall behind.
Think that you can, and you will –
For it’s all in the State of Mind.

If you think you’re outclassed you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to know that you can
Before you ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the bigger or the stronger man,
But sooner or later that fellow who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can.

-Walter D. Winkle


 Note: This poem is generally credited to Walter D. Winkle.  
 The title and words have evolved and changed over time.


  • Laila Rafique , January 15, 2013

    Wow Mukhianimaan I have never seen a person this lovely in my life. You are a true inspiration for me. Your courage, confidence, optimism and beauty has no limits. Love you forever! Praying always for your long and healthy life.

    • Premji Family , January 16, 2013

      Laila – Hi! Its easy to have optimism when i am surrounded by people like you!

  • Anonymous , January 15, 2013

    You are truly Blessed and such an inspiration to all of us!!!
    My Prayers for you and your whole family always..May Mowla always keep all of you safe,healthy and watch over all of you…Amen
    Naz Kamani

    • Premji Family , January 16, 2013

      Thanks so much Naaz. I love the concept of Mowla watching over all of us….

  • Dilshad Nathoo , January 10, 2013

    Ok so you must be one of the “sexy” reindeers belonging to Santa!!!
    Wonderful poem and words to live by.
    Thank you for always educating me and bringing true richness in my life,

    All my love,

  • Yasmin Jiwa , January 9, 2013

    You look so pretty. It is the positive attitude that you have carried all the way along your long painful journey. May Mowla always be with you.

    • Premji Family , January 9, 2013

      Thanks Yasmin – – It is easy to be positive when you are surrounded with so much love! I appreciate your taking the time to write. Munira

  • mylegacytoyou , January 9, 2013

    Three hoorays for December and “everything fun” that made you impersonate the reindeer! Now you are truly well-horned!  Cheers to more chemo and here’s Munira saying “Bring it on!” I love you in that sari and your chic hairdo. This is the best look by far… A flower child from the 60’s and your expression is kept sassy and indifferent to perfection. Very photogenic and pose savvy you. Hickman line procedure or the reality of no-bed situation is not going to faze this one…
    All my best, Deva

    • Premji Family , January 9, 2013

      You are so funny Deva! Well-horned indeed! Actually I am saying “Bring It On”. My relationship with chemo has chaged over time. It used to be the enemy, now it is a reluctant friend….. And strangely, I am looking forward to the hickman line – – something new to experience. You know me way too well

  • Anonymous , January 8, 2013

    excellent poem

    list to live by

    the most destructive habit- worry
    the most contagious spirit -enthusiasm’
    the two most powerfilled words – I can
    the worst thing to be without – hope
    the most effective sleeping pill – peace of mind’

    Mukhiani maa! – luckily i find something that goes along the same line ….

    keep writing
    how is Sabrina?

    • Premji Family , January 9, 2013

      You are right. It is very much along the same lines! Thank you for sharing. Munira

  • Anonymous , January 8, 2013

    Saira Says ( smile)

    Munira, once again I am so proud of you, this too will pass and it will be a thing of the past pretty soon! I wish you all the luck and inshallah you will get a bed sooner than the 8 week wait. You look gorgeous as usual! You are sincerely my inspiration! btw I just got back from Kenya after visiting mum. Lots of Hugs and All the Best!

    • Premji Family , January 9, 2013

      I am so happy you had a chance to spend time with your mom. And as always it is a pleasure to hear from you Saira! Hope to meet you in person one day. Love, Munira

      • Anonymous , January 10, 2013

        Inshallah soon! Take care.

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