I Am More Than My Hair….

On Sunday,  I sensed, rather than felt, my hair separate from my scalp.  I was in bed and stayed very still hoping that if I didn’t move, my hair would stay intact.   I woke up gingerly and took the courage to look at myself in the mirror.  Relief!  Hair was on top of head.  Everything was fine with the world!   And then I took a shower and observed  in painful shock as hair disbanded from my head and collected by my feet.  Not a good feeling.  I realized the time had come for extreme measures.    So who did I call?  Not Ghostbusters. But my hairstylist, Afsan, who I adore.  We set up time to shave my hair at my home on Tuesday night at 8pm. This had to be planned so that my Investment Banker son, Shayne, could be home for this event, at his request. The actual shave happened quite seamlessly. My family cheered on and offered encouraging words.  My mom cried.  I refused to look in the mirror. Afsan was compassionate, professional and sensitive.  As soon as she left, I wore a colorful scarf to hide my shaved head.  That made me feel safe.  That was my plan – to scarf my way until my hair grew back. We celebrated by having cheesecake and coffee.

Shaving your head is one thing.  Accepting  how you look with a shaved head is an entirely different matter. The first thing I experienced is that my head got quite cold when I went to bed and I had to wear a toque to sleep.  I felt like the candlestick maker from nursery rhymes of the past who wore those pointy hats to bed.

I woke up this morning, went to the bathroom  and saw myself in the mirror.  I screamed at the top of my lungs because I did not recognize myself.  If it were not so funny, it would be sad!  Somehow I have to align the vision I see in the mirror with what I see reflected.  This is easier said than done.  Tomorrow I plan to stand in front of the mirror for as long as it takes and have an honest chat with the reflection I see.  I am going to say, “I am you, and you are me” so let’s deal with it”.   I am going to find a way to be comfortable with this new look and embrace it.  Besides I don’t  want to be scaring myself every morning!  Today I pay tribute to my incredible husband.  Every time I hid behind the scarf, he  gently removed it and told me I was beautiful bald.  He did it so often today that I am starting to believe.   Yet another part of the journey, another learning, another blessing.

– Munira

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74 thoughts on “I Am More Than My Hair….”

  1. love you and love your honesty, WE are blessed for YOU are making a difference and your courage is inspiring people without knowledge…… God BLess…. hugs xoxo

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback. This started out as a simple bog for us to keep in touch with family and friends. I am thrilled that you are finding value and meaning from it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Munira

  2. Hi Munira
    You are absolutely right.. You are more than your Hair and believe me Bald is Beautiful. Hang in there, dear cousin. You will soon start shopping for those radical hats, all kinds, funny and colorful. Don’t hold back, buy them! Always praying for you and your family to give you all strength.
    Lots of Love
    Rozy (from Calgary)

    1. Ya Ali Rozy. Thanks for the encoragement. I am slowly beginning to get used to my new head. Hats are not working for me but I will be in search of other apparatus that is funny, colorful and radical! Muni

  3. Do not worry about this , my dear friend. Please buy several wigs and enjoy them all, one for each occassion .You can tell your hairdresser good bye for a few months and know that you are going to be fine Prayers for contniued courage and peace . You have a special attitude about everything Gulshy Atlanta USA

  4. Bald is beautiful! You look so beautiful. Stay positive. Sending warm hugs,courage,peace.
    Keep Smiling!

    In Love,& Light!!

  5. You look amazingly beautiful and believe me I have seen a lot of bald heads in my career. This is also a chance to try out all the different looks you would have never thought about. Have fun with scarves and wigs and hats.

    Love
    Tasnim

    1. Taslim – you are so kind and generous. And I am so glad I finally got to meet you last week. Hope all the wedding preparations are going seamlessly for the family. Yes, I plan to have fun with this new look. Stay tuned!. Munira

  6. dont worry about small things, remember the film”Dosti”
    ” dhuk TO APNA SAATHI HEY! AS my father used to tell us often., especially when there was a curve, Remember its only a bend in your life not the end!, It depends on the approach you take to facing that bend !

  7. Munira – Sean just sent me over the link to this blog. I’m on holiday so I had the chance to read it all. I had no idea you were going through this and I’m sorry you are.

    I can see your terrific positive attitude, deep faith and strong family ties are serving you well in these circumstances. You are also blessed with a wonderful writing style, as is Sabrina, and this will help you to make a difference (your real deal!) as you travel this road because you are clearly an inspiration to many people.

    I have chosen to post on this page because I had to say I agree with Nagib. You are definitely beautiful – hair or no hair – it shines from within you.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers, Munira, as you face into this journey. I wish you continued strength and courage as well as the ability just to focus on you and getting yourself better. I’m sure you can do it not only because you are who you are but also because, as you know, I know cancer can be beaten!!

    With love,
    Jude

    1. Thanks Jude. I very much appreciate your taking the time to write. The cancers came completely from left field. No warning. No expectation. And next thing I am sittiing in the ICU fighting for my life. It is an interesting time and I’m open to the learning and inspiration that will come from this journey. I suspect God has a specific purpose for me. The family has been an incredible support and have totally rallied around me. Physically I am doing great and am in great spirits. Thank you for your prayers and for reaching out. It means a lot to me. Munira

  8. Oh Munira. Did I ever tell you that when I was a kid I had a crush on Mr. Clean??

    You are absolutely stunning…inside and out.

  9. I never got to meet you personally – but have been following your blog and your attitude,,courage and positive attitude make me get through my days -I sometime feel foolish for complaining when I see that you are going through so much yourself – but you still manage to stay so positive. I feel blessed to be able to share your journey with you and I pray for you and your family- you will BEAT THIS and you will be better for it!

  10. Dear Muni,

    Karim and I read your blog every so often, and it its very touching, inspiring and beautiful.. Please know that you are in our prayers always, God be with your every breath in this journey and bless you with strength and courage.

    Nagib is so right, you are beautiful!!

    Love,
    Karim and Nimet

    1. Nimet – thank you for your phone calls and emails. We feel so lucky to know you guys! Let’s plan to get together at our home next week. We will arrange something. Big hugs, Munira

  11. Nagib is absolutely right. Munira you are beautiful, sexy, wonderful, amazing and VIBRANT!!! You are blessed with a wonderful and loving family. There is nothing more precious than that. Not even HAIR!!
    I agree….enjoy the different wigs – you can try so many styles, act out whomever you want to be – maybe a sexy blonde one week, or a vivacious brunette the next or a punk rocker, or a geisha, or wherever your imagination takes you. Have fun with this Munira. We’re with you all the way.
    Nagib, BRAVO for your honesty, your support and unconditional love. You guys are truly all AMAZING people.
    How blessed I feel to have been given such a PRIVELEGE in my life having you all in it (Munira, Nagib, Shayne, Sabrina, your mom and sister!)

    Thank you,

    My special love to you all,
    D

    1. We knew that this would be a special relationship the day we.met you. We are the ones who are fortunate! Yes, i plan to have fun with this. 3 wigs, 1 hat and 2 scarves so far. Nothing too outrageous. It’s almost like I want to play in the box before I color outside the lines (or something’!). This is taking a bit of courage….Munira

  12. You are truly a very strong and positive person. Your thoughts through this journey are very inspirational. We are with you all the way! Our prayers, love, hugs & kisses to you and your family.

    Shafiq, Farzana, Shazma & Noreen

  13. Munira, Since we’ve never met in person, when I saw the picture of you bald, it was as if I was meeting you for the first time and thought–that is a strikingly beautiful women. So, a first impression, for what it’s worth. You are gorgeous, inside and out. BJ

  14. You ARE so much more than your hair and I am blessed to know you !
    I think of you every day and hold you in my prayers.
    Big hugs,
    Suzanne

  15. Munira……wow! You are truly amazing with or without the hair. Enjoy the wigs, scarves, hats and everything else.

    Our family has always looked up to you; and your courage, strength, faith and positive out look continues to inspire us. We are praying for you and the family.

    Sarah sends you a special hug!

    Shaney

  16. When i read your blog, it tugged at my heart and I thought what do i say without sounding cliche. Then i see your picture without your hair…and i know what to say. Damn…you look good.

    Sending you love, light and prayers…there’s always a hand on your shoulder….you are not alone.

    Shehnaaz Dhanani

      1. You are so generous with praise…i read this today and it lifted my spirits,i’m supposed to be doing that to you….so thank you…love and hugs…..always.

        Shenaz

  17. yes you are.. you are hope, courage, faith, love, friendship, mother, wife and an amazing person…

    “You’re more than beautiful, you’re more than words could ever say.
    Cause you’re a miracle, emotions in flames.
    You’re more than wonderful, the stars are lighting high above.
    Who can be cynical, when you’re in the world”….Michalis Hatzigiannis, More Than Beautiful, 2009..

    Love, Prayers and Best Wishes,
    Ahmad n Salima

  18. yes you are.. you are hope, courage, faith, love, friendship, mother, wife and an amazing amazing person…

    “You’re more than beautiful, you’re more than words could ever say.
    Cause you’re a miracle, emotions in flames.
    You’re more than wonderful, the stars are lighting high above.
    Who can be cynical, when you’re in the world”….Michalis Hatzigiannis, More Than Beautiful, 2009..

    Love, Prayers and Best Wishes,
    Ahmad n Salima

  19. Dear Mukhiani Ma,
    We have been reading your blog, and it has been an inspiration for our whole family. With your positivity, your loving family by your side, and prayers from so many people, including us, there is no doubt you will come out on top.

    We have forwarded your blog to other cancer patients, who have found your stories immensely uplifting.

    With love and prayers,

    Zahir and Tasneem Bhanji

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback and for forwarding the blog to others. I am really focusing on what I can control and taking one day at a time. Right now my goal is to make it through successfully the 6 chemos by June 25 Thanks, Munira

  20. Ya Ali Madad Mukhiani Ma,

    I was out of country the past few weeks and am just catching up with the news. I am really really sorry to hear about all this. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers and may Allah grant you the strength and courage to fight this battle.

    I still remember a few years ago when I first moved to Toronto and came to Willowdale Khane. I barely knew anybody and I distinctly remember you were the first person to introduce yourself to me and find out who I was and make me feel welcome. You always managed to find me and say hello every time I was in Khane and I had no doubt that I would make Willowdale my home away from home. It was such a pleasure being a volunteer and a Lieutenant and working with you. You are such an inspiration to all of us.

    Whenever my parents came down to visit you always introduced yourself and spoke to them and my mum always thinks about you and they send you their best wishes and prayers from Kenya.

    Stay strong and remember whatever Allah brings you to he will bring you through it.

    Lots of Love,

    Ally & Fatima

    1. Dearest Fatima. I think you are such a star. I’ve always said that to you! And yes I totally remember your parents. All of this happened to me so unexpectedly. It’s hard to fathom. I am focusing on a day at a time. Right now it is about getting the lymphoma under control. Thank you to you and your parents for your support and prayers. With mowlas grace I will beat this and be back stronger than year by the end of the year. Munira

  21. Beautiful! Courageous! Inspirational! Compassionate! Exceptional! Generous! Brillant! Hilarious! Creative! Spiritual! (just to name a few) NONE of these AMAZING qualities that you possess have anything to do with hair!!! So take your god given fashion sense (another amazing quality) and start a new trend!!! Much LOVE! Kimberly

    1. Kimberly. People will think I have paid you for saying all these incredible things about me! Beginning to feel more comfortable with the hair. Although someone came to see me this morning, did not know about the shave and asked me to put my scarf back on! How are you doing in your new job? When I’m a bit better, can we do brunch at that restaurant on Kingston street? Hugs, hugs, hugs, Munira

  22. Munira, you and your family always know just what to do for every situation. You look absolutely beautiful in this picture, and I’m not at all surprised. No question – beauty within always shows on the outside. Hugs to everyone.

    1. Thanks Paddy Nagib took some pretty cool shots. I wll upload them shortly. I will be at princess Margaret on monday. Would you like to drop by to see me? I would love to see you. Munira

      1. That would be fantastic – just let me know what time would be good. I can’t access your blog from work, so if you want to contact me, you can call or text me on my cell phone.

      2. Patti – – Thank you for an incredible visit yesterday. I so enjoyed seeing you and spending the time with you. Thanks for the books and cookies. Have you read the books yourself? Can i return them to you once I am done? Thanks especially for the green curry chicken. I can’t believe I could taste it in spite of chemo and being on a 100 mg prednisone. But I devouvered it gratefully. So good! Please come by next chemo. And your hair looked fantastic…. Munira

  23. Dear Munira,

    It has been a while since we have connected. Julie sent along your blog and filled me in, I am so sorry to hear the news. I continue to admire your spirit and beauty which shine through the illness as brightly as ever. You have such a gift for serving and inspiring others with your life, this blog is just another example. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you journey through this time.Hugs

    Donna

    1. Donna Jolliffe. A voice from the past! How great to hear from you? Where the heck are you now? Would love to get reconnected. The last time we say each other was about 8 years ago when our daughters were playing for the Scarborough sharks. I’m in the hospital today getting chemo. Doing remarkably well so far. Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers. Munira

  24. I love this picture!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are so beautiful!!!!!

    So sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
    My prayers are with you and your family during this time.
    May Mowla give you and your family strength and courage to get through this difficult time.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    1. Thank you for being part of this journey Karima. I am beginning to get used to the new look. Today I shaved my hair completely aka Mr. Clean! Thank you for your good wishes. Munira

  25. Dear Mukhianimaa,
    I read your blogs everyday. Our prayers are always with you. It is your beautiful inside that is shining a light and making you glow. who needs the hair!!
    lots of love,
    Farida and Mohamed Manji

  26. Hi Munira.
    Saw this link on Facebook today. Facebook campaign inspires Mattel to produce bald Barbie – Fashionist – http://www.fashionist.ca
    Bald And Really Beautiful Is Extraordinary
    Isn’t that AWESOME?

    And what an Extraordinary person you are!! Now people will focus on the warmth coming through those big brown beautiful eyes.
    Big hugs,
    Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy. I saw the barbie blog. Very cool. I will put it on one of my blogs. I also got your linked in message. May I call you on Monday? Love, Munira. You know it’s funny. I always tell my son that he has big, brown, beautiful eyes! Munira

      1. Would love to speak with you on Monday Munira. I will be home any time after noon.
        Love Cindy

  27. Munira Ya Ali Madad!

    I have been following your blog and must say that you are a real fighter! keep your faith strong and keep moving forward! you will make it 100%, inshallah!

  28. Dear Munira,
    I felt every words of the post. I was exactly at the same place last year, same date. Seeing myself without hair was like meeting my soul. The funniest thing is that now I am looking back at the pictures and find myself a lot more attractive than in my souvenirs. Sincerely, truly you look absolutely beautiful.
    God speed dear Munira
    Pascale

    1. I can see that this is bringing back a lot of memories for you pascale. Today I went to Niagara Falls bald because I felt ready to expose my soul. It was tough to see the stares and I lost my nerve a bit. I put on a wig and felt more comfortable. So I am working through this. Yes, I also taking pictures as a momento. Munira

  29. Munira,
    You say that you did not recognize yourself – I say the opposite – I would recognize you anywhere with your glowing skin and eyes full of strength and wisdom – you look to me exactly like the Munira with the office down the hall! Miss you! Jo

    1. Hey you! I miss you! I am coming to the office at 1pm this Thursday. Will you be around?i I need my Jo fix!!! So much to talk about. How are you doing? I particularly miss our conversations. Much love, Munira

  30. Reading it through oh I was touched, and quite happy for your courage. I love your realism oh you are an Inspirational. May God bless you and family and Grace follow you. He will grant your prayer, He sure will. He has told us to have Faith, enjoy each day and that is what you are doing according to His Will although as you indicate difficult to do. Each day at a time-

    Lucy

  31. ‘Nice piece, Munira. And, I’m really glad you’re supported by such an amazing family. Life is beautiful; and the beauty stays in our hearts…and in those we share our hearts with.

    Never worry, OK? Be good to yourself.

    You’ve got this covered, OK?

    (I worked as an Oncology doctor for a month’s posting as a first-year physician in Lagos in 2009. Also, I got a chance to meet Sabrina, your daughter, when she visited Milan in February this year.)

  32. My goodness Munira….you look so elegant and stylish in that picture!! I can’t think of who you remind me of there but, the look works!! You make it work!! You always do!! I look forward to getting together with you again.

  33. Your husband is right, you are indeed beautiful bald! Keep fighting hard Munira, you are a beautiful person, inside & out & while I don’t know you well I recognized right away within you your beauty & strength. Peace & love to you & your family.

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