Munira Premji

Today, February 15, is my new birthday.  From a clinical perspective, today is Day 0, when my stem cells were transplanted into my body.  It is a terrifying and exciting venture, all at once.

The transplant process was really cool!  Two very professional individuals in white coats ( “the stem cell technicians”), brought a rolling vault, that looked like a beer keg, which contained 6 bags of my stem cells.  The stem cells were in a flat bag, frozen and encased in a metal case (kinda looked like a metal book).  Each “book” was removed from the keg and checked and re-checked against my records to ensure that the stem cells were indeed my own.  Then, the case was opened, and voila, what looked like a package of frozen lean veal lay before the technician.  He then removed the package and put it into a steaming pot of 37 degrees Celsius water.  To speed up the process, he even “stirred the pot” to help liquify the cells faster.  A few minutes later, a warm bag of red-coloured liquid (containing mainly white blood cells and the core stem cells) was delivered to my nurse, Aylene, under strict chain of custody rules.  Aylene took each thawed bag, checked and rechecked it to my arm band, and hung it on the pole and hooked it up to my Hickman line. 

The process of infusing 6 bags took about one hour, within the comfort of my room.  It was a nice interplay of science and art, with a little bit of espionage and drama!  As we expected, the transplant had me smelling like corn (because of the preservative used to store the stem cells), with a touch of garlic!  I have been told that the smell will go away in a couple of days.

Here are a few pictures of the process:

Munira Stem Cell
The “Keg”
Munira Stem Cell 005
The stem cell transplant team
Munira Stem Cell 006
The steaming pot of boiling water
Munira Stem Cell 009a
Checking the metallic book containing the stem cells against my records
Munira Stem Cell 008
The thawed bag containing white blood cells and core stem cells
Munira Stem Cell 007
Incredible mom-to-be, Aylene, following the protocol.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time, and now that it is here, I don’t know what to think or say.  I spent the entire night in prayers thanking God for not leaving my side, and for making the transplant possible. 

According to my attending physician this weekend, Dr. Donna Reece, the director of the Molly and David Bloom Chair for Multiple Myeloma Research at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the stem cells are like puzzle pieces.  When transplanted, they spread around my blood stream looking for matching recepticles to attach themselves to.  The recepticles are mainly found in the big bones of the body, such as the neck, upper and lower back, the pelvis and the upper thighs.  Once attached, they start reproducing and generating new, hopefully cancer-free, cells.

So, since my transplant, I have been talking to my stem cells, welcoming them back to my body, asking them to make themselves at home, motivating them to attach to my bones, and regenerate and produce healthy cells.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I feel like I have been re-born today….as Munira, version 2.0.


  • […] February 15, 2014, Toronto – It’s been exactly one year since Munira Version 2.0 was born.  Here’s the background story:  Stem Cell Transplant. […]

  • Guzelka , March 13, 2013

    I look forward to reading your BLOG;I pull it up almost every day. Sometimes I think of a response to something you posted while going through my day but I just don’t take the time to go back and leave a comment. I’ll work on that! Have a great weekend. Love, Vera

  • Anonymous , February 24, 2013

    Africa :The Serengeti

    Mukhiani maa ,
    you may like watching this

    Hope you are doing good


  • Anonymous , February 21, 2013

    Munira, I am so grateful for the recent good results you have had in your treatment and finally for this stem cell transplant. I can’t wait to see Munira 2.0 when you are well enough to receive visitors. Love, Patti.

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Hi Patti! I am coming to Princess Margaret this thursday and will have free time. Can we meet at 11 am? Munira

  • shellina , February 20, 2013

    shukar Munira v2.0 enhanced and more powerful then ever before. all our prayers are with you and praying for complete healing

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Amen to your prayers for complete healing Shellina. Hope version 2 is indeed an upgrade to the original version! Munira

  • Anonymous , February 20, 2013

    Shukar Munira v2.0 enhanced. Our prayers are with you for miracle of healthy long life. Nothing but good wishes for you

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Thank you. You speak the truth about the miracle of life! Munira

  • Anonymous , February 20, 2013

    Welcome Munira 2.0, hope some of the original functionality is still present as our users are most comfortable however some new features will definately increase productivity and interest for user ready to venture ahead. – very proud of you, Munira! Shukhar.

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Simply love your comment. Treasuring every word! Munira

  • Karen Porter-Lee , February 19, 2013

    Munira – we just got back after the long weekend to see this wonderful post. We are so happy for you and are all sending our love and prayers your way. God Bless you and good luck from Karen, Kathy and Alan, and everyone else here at Insights!

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      woo! hoo! doing great so far! thanks for your love and prayers…..Munira

  • Meenal , February 19, 2013

    Updated Munira version 2.0. Happy New Birthday to you and waiting to meet the version 2.0. Hang in there for the last roller coaster, all will be well,

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      It has been a roller-coaster! Meenal – thank you for helping me through this journey…Munira

  • lucy , February 19, 2013

    May God takes you to greater heights as you receive the renewal! And the Bible says – ACTS 1:4, “Wait for the gift my Father promised.” Have a blessed time. Lots of Luv

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      You know Lucy – – in spite of the tough year, there are gifts to uncover…Thank you for the visual of greater heights……Munira

  • Shainaaz Gulamani , February 18, 2013

    You are such an inspiration full of courage and positivity. My prayers for you and the family and blessing to get healthy with this new beginning. Shainaaz Gulamani

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      Hi Shainaaz – – Today I do feel courageous and positive! Thank you for your prayers – – I really, really appreciate it….Munira

  • Alnoor Visram , February 18, 2013

    Yam Munira…I am so Happy today..Today it is our 35th Anniversary Feb 18th and on this day all I am wishing to the Almighty Allah is to have your stem cells do the best in your body and fulfill your wishes..May mowla always be with you..Happy Birthday Munira….

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      Happy, happy Anniversary Alnoor! Wishes for love and happiness and dreams come true every day of your lives! I will pass on your message to my stem cells Munira

  • Anonymous , February 18, 2013


    Sending out all the “Positive Vibes” your way. Inshallah! everything will work out perfectly!

    Saira Nasirdin!

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      Hi you Saira! Feeling your positive vibes. So glad you wrote! Munira

      • Anonymous , February 20, 2013

        Ofcourse Munira, I am always thinking about you and will always write:)


  • Anonymous , February 18, 2013

    Shukhar! Here’s to Munira ver2.0………

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      Woot! Hoot! Version 2! Munira

  • Dilshad Nathoo , February 18, 2013

    Happy Birthday Munira 2.0. Please save some original Munira in your new version. I, myself being a bit old fashioned, quite liked the old version as well. So cheers to a re-birth, a new beginning and to growing again with health, strength, style, pizzaz, and determination for many, many, many, many more years to come!!!

    Lots of love,

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Hi Dilshad — Thank you for reminding that the old version was not half bad! I like pizzazz! How about some of your delicious mango shake to celebrate? Much love Munira

  • Elizabeth Lancaster , February 18, 2013

    Hi Munira, what a huge event. welcome indeed stem cells and here’s to a happy, healthy and powerful reunion.

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      OH! I love the concept of reunion, as each stem cell finds its own unique receptor. Thank you for capturing it so well Elizabeth! Munira

  • Anonymous , February 18, 2013

    Awesome Munira! You are in the perfect vibration!

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      I don’t know what it means, but I am feeling in perfect vibration! Munira

  • Anonymous , February 18, 2013

    Shukhar Munira….may Mowla’s blessings be with you and may the new stem cells multiply and bring you abundant health – and may all your wishes and desires be fulfilled….amen

    Best wishes,

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      What wonderful wishes you send Yasmin! Thank you, Munira

  • Anonymous , February 18, 2013

    Sending positive energy to those cells!!! Connect and start growing!!

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      That is the same message I am giving the stem cells multiple times throughout the day! Thanks, Munira

  • Cheryl , February 18, 2013

    Muni, my every good thought and prayer is with you as you grow stronger day by day.
    Lots of love, Cheryl

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Cheryl – – I feel your thoughts and your prayers up close and personal. Your friend, Munira

  • Julie Nunes , February 17, 2013

    Welcome stem cells!! Happy birthday Munira 2.0 xoxoxo

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      2 birthdays per year. What more could a gal want?! Munira

  • Shamim and Imi , February 17, 2013

    Shukar Munira 2.0
    Mowla has and will always be with you
    May the new bring health and happiness
    Our prayers are with you and the family
    Love Waljees

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Hi Waljees! Your prayers and support mean so much to me. Munira

  • Anny Nasser , February 17, 2013

    May this rebirth be the first step toward a long, abundant, healthy and adventurous new journey! Lots of love from the Nassers!

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Hi Anny and Iqbal. Thank you for expressing it so well. it’s exactly what I want – – a long, abundant, healthy and adventurous new journey. Much love, Munira

  • Anonymous , February 17, 2013

    Welcome back!!! Inshallah everything will work out exactly the way you want it!! Then you will have ample opportunity to complete the wish list!!!

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      I have since added to my bucket list. I so appreciate your sentiment!

  • Anonymous , February 17, 2013

    you finally made it !!!!

    congratulations, shukar, and just like you walked across those days last year, soon you will be over with 2013 and roller coasting?? no not again, this time better watch out ,no more roller coasting, but scuba diving!

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Scuba diving it is! I expect it will take about 6 months to heal, so I should be back on track in August of this year. How cool is that?!

  • Anonymous , February 17, 2013

    you are in our thoughts, prayers. Stay this positive and everything will work out inshallah

    • Premji Family , February 19, 2013

      Thanks! I am staying positive……

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Munira

  • Salim Kara , February 17, 2013

    God Bless you…you are in our heart, thoughts & prayers.
    Much love,

    Yasmin & Salim Kara

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Ya Ali Salim and Yasmin — I hear that you love the Duncan Mills restaurant. Perhaps we can go together as a family in the next few weeks? Amen to your prayers, Munira

  • Anonymous , February 17, 2013

    Welcoming and loving thoughts and greetings being sent to your new cells, Munira! Love BJ

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      Hi BJ! I conveyed your message to my new stem cells. They feel happy! Much love to you, Munira

  • Anonymous , February 17, 2013

    Shukhran, Shukhran…by this example & many more, let us check our devices & download the 2.0 & reboot accordingly. All of us need to stick together & be a positive force of love that we all deserve.

    • Premji Family , March 5, 2013

      I love your idea of checking our devices, downloading the new version and rebooting! I think we should do this monthly. Yes, and what better force than sticking together. Good words of wisdom, Anonymous!

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