Munira Premji

February 3rd, 2012  at 4:08 pm.  

Dr. Robert Wu of Internal Medicine at the Toronto General Hospital, held my hands with compassion and with much emotion uttered the fateful words. “I am confirming that you have Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the blood”.  My first question back was,  “How long do I have to live.?  His response, “That’s variable””.   For someone who has lived a healthy and vibrant life, never been to hospital (except to give birth!), rarely even picks up a Tylenol, the cancer diagnosis is  a tough one to accept.  But the situation was about to get worse.  The following week, I got a call from my Hematologist, Dr. Jean Wang, who indicated that further bone marrow tests revealed a potential second cancer, Lymphoma, which was an unexpected and unusual finding.  She referred me to an Oncologist, Dr. Rodger Tiedemann at Princess Margaret Hospital who has experience with both, Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma.  Then began a series of tests, including another bone marrow test and a PET CT scan, to confirm the initial findings.  On March 8th, 2012, Dr. Tiedemann confirmed that I had a very aggressive, Stage 4, Type B Cell Lymphoma coupled with Stage 3, Multiple Myeloma.

How do you deal with the emotions that come from this diagnoses when you feel that you have so much to offer to the world and are not ready to die?

How do you comfort your love and partner of 30 years?

How do you deal with your son telling you that he is afraid you are going to die?

How do you prepare to share this news with your daughter, who is halfway around the world?

How do you tell your 82-year old mom that you have two advanced stages of cancer and help her make sense of it when you are doing the same?

I went through every possible emotion – – from grief to rage, to anger.  And sadness, and hope and vulnerability.  And then, to acceptance that this is God’s will and there is a reason and a higher purpose.  I am still not sure I understand this fully; however I know that I will be open to the learning and wisdom that this will bring me.  And I feel God’s hand on my shoulder and know that he is with me through this journey.


  • Jioan c sebastian , January 6, 2016

    I am Joan Sebastian. I am Sri Lankan, Ilive in California. I read your blog and it did
    give me lot of courage. I have lung cancer and now I am on chemo pills. I will
    keep you in my prayers.

  • Moira , June 5, 2013

    Hello Munira: We met last Thursday at the Chemo Cafe, and you brought the room alive, with questions to others, drawing them out about their experience with cancer. Mine has been complicated by the fact that my daughter has had a recurrence of hers, so we are undergoing treatment (different kinds of treatment) at the same time. I think it must be more difficult for others in the family to cope with one’s diagnosis, but my family has been wonderfully supportive, as have friends, as you saw with my friend Lorna at my side for the whole day. Today was a red letter day, in that I finally admitted I was balding, and my husband and I cut what little hair I had left, and shaved my skull. What must have been going through his mind I cannot imagine, but he was there, and he did it willingly, or so it seemed. Anyway, I sure look funny/strange, and will go to a book party tonight with my new wig! I wish I looked like you with no hair, but I am content!

  • Hanif Kanji , August 12, 2012

    Dear Mukhianima,

    I feel honored have been a part of a fond time
    during the Golden Jubillee year and to have the priviledge of being touched by the strong and committed leadership of Willowdale JK Mukhi Kamadias. I can recall a couple of occasions when you visited our Bait ul Ilm Senior Centre and spoke to not just my grade 7 students, but to all the students who you provided such an amazing inspiration. It was heartwarming to see the time you took to listen to them and to engage with them on what things interests them.
    I was deeply saddened by the news of your battle with cancer, partly since it has hit home, given the journey my family has had with my mom’s own battle for almost 6 years. Please know that you have inspired and touched many young people with your energy, charisma, and inspiring words over the years. You are in the thoughts and prayers of so many who have been touched by you and we will continue to pray to Almighty to eas your difficulties, to help your loved ones get through this, and to ease the difficulties of all those who may be dealing with an illness at this time. If there is one thing above all else that I hope you will take from my message, Mukhianima, is two things: 1. Please know that many people of the jamat including the youth, the girls who look to you as an example, have been inspired by you and 2. cherish all the wonderful memories, the blessings of your amasing life, including the Golden Jubillee which you celebrated with the jamat, one among many pearls which Almighty has given unto us as his blessings,

    Warmest Wishmes – Hanif Kanji (BUI Teacher Willowdale, 2006-2008)

    • Premji Family , August 13, 2012

      Dearest Hanif. What a heartfelt note. It made me cry.
      You did such an amazing job teaching the kids. Your impact was absolutely felt. Would love to see you continue teaching ….! We also remember the Golden Jubillee as a time of joy and contentment. I really, really appreciate your prayers and your good wishes Hanif. I am doing well considering and am hoping to successfully conquer the myeloma. Thanks again for connecting. Munira

  • Sharon Deebrah , July 12, 2012

    As a surviver, I found comfort in your story and empathize. Chin up! Put up a fight! Sending positive energy in your direction with the hope that you and your family will find it in their hearts, to enjoy every bit life has to offer -the good, the bad and the ugly. God bless..

  • Rob , May 30, 2012

    Munira, It is amazing that you are sharing your story. I know that many will take inspiration from it. I am a cancer survivor myself and would love to connect with you if possible. Many Thanks and good thoughts your way.

  • kvelocci , May 24, 2012

    Hi Munira,being your student was a true honor and a wonderful life experience for me. You are one the most beautiful human beings (inside and out) that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Stay strong. I know you can beat this disease. I hope you had a good day today. I think of you often and will pray for you every day.

    • Premji Family , May 28, 2012

      I am so humbled and touched by your words. It made me cry. I am staying strong and positive. Your prayers will go a long way. Munira

  • 94red , May 23, 2012

    Dear Munira,
    Roel has sent me an e-mail today with a link to your blog, right away I signed up. I am very saddened to hear about this. I wanted to thank you for sharing this as it gives people (including me) a chance to express their gratitude and support for you. I want to say that you have taught me how to be more aware of my surroundings and people. I am very grateful that I ‘persevered’ and got enrolled in the last Insights program you coached. It was a ‘break’ I really needed at the time, and I have learned so much thanks to you and I keep applying my knowledge daily. I always talk about my experiences as part of the group and as your student with my colleagues and friends. Thank you for sharing, for being so open and kind. Thank you for being you.

    Miss Perseverance
    (94% red Anna @ TD)

    • Premji Family , May 28, 2012

      Hello Anna. It was so great having you in the Insights program. I am thrilled that you are continuing to apply what you have learned. Music to my years! I have often thought to you and wondered how the new job is going for you. I hope you are loving it. I value and feel so honored by your comments. With gratitude. Munira

  • Meenal , March 29, 2012

    Hey Munira,
    Since we spoke that day outside your car, I have been looking for you to talk to you.

    I know it is so difficult to understand and I don’t either but you have accepted it as God’s will and I hope you learn and reach that higher purpose.

    Being with you on your journey, I hope I will learn and understand some too…
    Thinking of you and praying for you,

    • Premji Family , April 8, 2012

      I so appreciate your taking the time to,write Meenal. I hope to be in the office early next week to return my computer and pick up personal belongings. I will call you and perhaps we can connect for a few minutes? Hugs, Munira

  • Nadiya Makhani , March 17, 2012

    Heard your news about 10 days ago and have been thinking about you. You really are a true superwoman and I really admire you for your courage and strength.I pray that you always have the strength and courage to continue smiling and may Mowla’s hand always be upon your shoulder and may all his blessings be with you always. Ameen
    I will keep following your blog and keep on praying.

    • Premji Family , April 23, 2012

      Ya Ali Madad mukhianimaa. I love receiving your note as I feel your prayers and love. I am actually doing remarkably well, considering the situation. Today is chemo day for me and I am in the hospital. With your prayers inshallah, everything will go well. How is laila and Navaz? Munira

  • Isabelle , March 14, 2012

    Hi Munira,
    This is the first time I blog. Even if you are far away, you are still teaching me stuff 🙂
    We hope that our “scrapbook page” brought a smile to your face in those difficult times.

    We think of you and we will follow your journey on this beautifull site!

    Isabelle xox

    • Premji Family , March 19, 2012

      The scrapbook page from Laval was beautiful. The scrapbook itself was priceless. I cannot believe the time and effort you went through to create something so memorable and beautiful. Thank you! MIss you Isabelle. Munira

  • Anonymous , March 14, 2012

    Hi Munira,
    I never blog before, so I will be learning with you.
    We think of you often here in Laval… We hope our scrapbook page brougth a smile to your face.
    Big huggs… xxx

    Ps: your blog is beautifull!

  • Shama , March 13, 2012


    Thank you for including us in your journey. Your courage, strength and determination will help you in these difficult times. You have always been an inspirational friend and have learnt a lot from you. We pray for your good health.

    Shama & Nazir

    • Premji Family , March 19, 2012

      Dearest Shama and Nazir – – -Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers. They are in my kitchen and look so tall and happy. The flowers actually remind me of you Shama – confident, resilient, colourful, unique……I have also learnt a lot from you. Munira

  • Anonymous , March 13, 2012

    Dear Munira,

    Thank you for including us in your journey. Your courage, strength and determination will help you in these difficult times. You have always been an inspirational friend and have learnt a lot from you. We pray for your good health.

    Shama & Nazir

  • BJ , March 12, 2012

    Oh Munira,

    You have been an inspiration to me since we met on our very first Trout pod call. And now I am inspired by your family, how strong you all are and how great your love for life and one another. Thank you for including me in this amazing journey on which you have embarked and for allowing me to add my prayers and cheers–Go Munira!!!–to those of your other devoted fans. You will triumph. Much love, BJ

    • Premji Family , March 19, 2012

      BJ – – I am so glad we came into each others lives. You are someone I have tremendous respect and love for. I find I am using process coaching right now to help me through this time. Also learning to ask for help (something I am not good at doing) and doing more feeling than doing. It would be great to catch up with you. Munira

  • Bryan Pardatscher , March 12, 2012

    My Dearest Munira, how time goes by and yet I feel like we had just spoken in regards to Junior Achievement and your wonderful accomplishments in the Company Program and how proud I was of Sabrina and yourself for having accomplished so much as a team. I was recently going over some papers I had in my night table and I came upon Sabrina’s email she wrote when I told her about leaving JA to pursue my dream of being a teacher and her encouraging words and support as well as her and your thoughts about me. As I read the email I only hoped I had continued to do the same and motivated others, including my two children, to do their best and follow and search with passion for their higher purpose.
    As I heard the news a few hours ago of your diagnoses, it sadden me and my wife Michelle as I quickly recollected our wonderful conversations and our thoughts about our purpose in life. Your words in this blog are as always inspiring and encouraging which only reinforces my wonderful thoughts of you and your family. As I know this will be a very challenging year for you and your family, I hope you know you have many people supporting and cheering you on for a quick recovery. As we will never understand the purpose or reason of why things happen, I know through your words you will encourage others including myself and my family to live life every day with passion, conviction and purpose. I look forward to reading your many blogs of your success and motivational words as it helps others realize how fragile life is and how lucky we are to have people like you in this world. Big hug to you and your family and I look forward to one day soon sitting down with you and your family over a cup of chai!!
    Lots of love,
    Bryan & Michelle Pardatscher

    • Premji Family , March 19, 2012

      Sabrina and I were just thinking about you Bryan! On our way from the hospital, we always drive by the old Junior Achievement office, And then last week we decided that we were going to find you guys and reconnect. And then we get your note! Can we get together for chai soon please? There is so much to catch up on……Munira

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