February 13, 2016.
Three years ago today, I had a stem cell transplant. It wiped out the bad, brought in the good and gave me a whole new shot at life. Munira Version 2.0, as we like to say.
In the past 1,095 days post-transplant, I have experienced the highest of highs – kicking two cancers’ butts, returning to work – and the lowest of lows with my recent diagnosis of an aggressive breast cancer.
L.R Knost once said: “Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”
As I prepare to start chemotherapy for cancer #3 on March 11th, I choose breathtakingly beautiful. I choose hope. Yes, I know that it will be a tough 4 ½ months; I’ve been through chemo before. But I will treat the chemo as healing water, there to help me live. I will breathe in the amazing and nap during the fatigue. And I plan to meet all kinds of wonderful people along the way.
I also choose preparation. Over the next 27 days, I’m going to prepare my body for chemo by eating well, going to the gym and giving up the enormous amounts of carbs I’ve been eating (I’m a stress eater!) I plan to go to Jamatkhana as often as I can to pray. And, Nagib and I spontaneously booked a cruise today to follow the sun before I start treatment. Woohoo!
Though I value preparation and taking destiny in my own two hands, I also choose letting go. I realize once again how important it is to take time to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling when difficulties come your way. Equally important is to not dwell in this place forever, but find a way to focus on what you can control. I cannot control the cancer diagnoses or the outcome of the upcoming cancer treatment; so I am focusing on treatment and getting better and on wonderful projects I have on the go.
Today, especially on Valentine’s Day, I choose love. I am grateful that I am not going through this journey alone. With God’s grace I am surrounded by the love of family, friends and community – something I value each day and try to pay forward with every person I meet. I express my love and gratitude to you all for your support, uplifting words, flowers, smiles, hugs, messages, visits and lovely poems. I send you, with all my heart, wishes and prayers for an extraordinary, breathtakingly beautiful life.