A Roller Coaster Ride

 The last three weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster.  First, we got the incredible news that the Lymphoma is in remission. I continue to pinch myself, savouring the news with all my heart.  I have one more chemo tomorrow (Monday) after which Dr.Tiedemann will do a bone marrow test and confirm that the Lymphoma has, in fact, completely been eradicated.  We should have the final results on July 18th.

Dr. Tiedemann shared the news of the remission with us while I was in the hospital for Febrile Neutropenia, a result of chemotherapy.  I ended up being in the hospital for 7 long days.  This time, my veins did not stand up to the test of the IVs.  After collapsing and rolling, my veins simply gave up and refused to cooperate. So I ended up getting a central line put in. A central line is a catheter inserted in a large vein in the neck and close to the heart and it is used to administer fluids and medication. Inserting the central line was easier said than done and the doctor tried 9 times before he was finally able to insert the line – my veins refused to behave.  I still have the marks on my neck to show the attempted insertions.  The central line was useful for one day and then removed. 

The next day I was scheduled to get a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter).  This line is inserted in the vein in the forearm and the line extends up to the shoulder, across the chest and the tip is positioned near the heart.  The procedure takes about 30 minutes.  Getting the PICC line was the best thing I did and, in retrospect, I wish I had done this earlier.  The PICC line will be used to get my blood work and to administer my chemo drugs on Monday.  No more painful IVs.  No more pokes and prods.  Yeah!

While in the hospital, my hemoglobin count went down to a low of 59 (normal hemoglobin is 120 – 160) and I required 3 blood transfusions.  No wonder I was so tired! Each unit of blood takes 2 hours to enter the body and I used that entire time to pray for the people who donated the exact match of blood that is keeping me alive.  Getting out of bed was tough; even going to the bathroom required effort.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  And sleep I did until my hemoglobin count went up and I could start functioning again.  Right now tiredness has become a constant companion that I am learning to accept.  I have lost strength in my legs and climbing stairs has become a real challenge. I’ve had two falls since coming home from the hospital.  Thankfully, nothing’s broken. My current goal is to be able to walk for 20 minutes around the block without help and effort.

And there are always gifts to be found in the hospital:  I met a vibrant woman, Wannietta Prescod, who was in hospital for reconstructive surgery after having beaten Breast Cancer.  Wannietta is a school bus driver and, get this,  the 3-time and reigning champion of Canada’s Search for the Fastest Knitter with a personal best of 245 stitches in 3 minutes, and 3rd fastest in the world at the ’08 Knit Out.  She presented me with a beautiful scarf!

Check out her blog here:  http://whatswanniettaknittingtoday.blogspot.ca/
(A word of warning:  the pictures are graphic).  

It is wonderful to be home again, enveloped in the love of my family.  And as I reflect on the past few weeks, I give thanks that the Lymphoma is in remission.  I give thanks to the incredible care I receive at the hospital that gives me a fighting chance to combat the cancers.  I give thanks to all of you who have sent constant messages of support and love and prayers.  Even though I haven’t been able to respond to your voice mails, emails and blog comments, I am truly humbled and grateful.  As Nagib says, “your prayers are like a tide that has lifted us in these stormy seas”.

And, finally, I give thanks for my cool PICC line!

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25 thoughts on “A Roller Coaster Ride”

  1. The whole Willowdale JK’s and Jamati MK’s prayers are with you. Great to hear about the remission and the PICC line. We pray for your good health, quick and complete recovery. We miss you at Willowdale JK. I saw Sabrina and Shayne today. I wanted to ask how you were doing and offer our prayers.

    Regards and best wishes,

    Mukhi Nazir Valani

    1. Mukhisaheb – Amen to all your prayers. They mean A lot to me and to the family. Your prayers are instrumental in helping me go through this journey with strength and hope. I too miss Willowdale and can’t wait to come back as soon as I am able. Munira

  2. I continue to marvel at your strength and gratefulness. Thinking of you constantly and praying for you and your family. Big Hugs, Cindy

    1. Thanks for the big hugs Cindy. I still owe you a phone call. I remembered you today when I went to Longos today and saw the dip you recommended – Helluva Dip. You were right. It is the best! Munira

  3. The fact that the brain is still intact, so that’s very good. Close your eyes during this wave and inshallah you will reach ashore….
    When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn – Harriet Beecer Stowe

    You honestly walk the talk as mentioned before,unlike others,Mukhiani Maa.

  4. Shukar!

    “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself”I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” Eleanor Roosevelt

    This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness every drop of the good.” Victoria Lincoln

    Salome

  5. Ya Ali Madat Mukhiani Maa,

    Praying for you and your family. Mowla be with you’s all the time to help. We are learning a lot from your blogs. Hope to see you as soon as possible with good health. We can see you survive and beat the cancer thru your journey

  6. Good Luck during your Chemo today! Always praying for you MY dear Mukhianima!

    Warm hugs,

    Rashida Kanji & Family

  7. Dear Munira,
    So many days and weeks since you have started this journey.
    I do not know for you but there was a period, as time was passing by during chemo, I was so exhausted that the idea of getting back to energy was almost difficult to believe…but you will be there SOON with new energy and so much appreciation of being able to accomplish whatever you would like to. It is right there, coming to you…I hope you can visualize it.
    Big kisses.
    Pascale

    1. Dearest Pasquale. Thank you for giving me hope. Sometimes I have difficulty visualizing the end and I think I am still holding my breath. Please keep reminding me that i can make it. There are some days when the chemo just gets me so down. Although most days my spirit is strong. Love, Munira

  8. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Your incredible courageous journey continues to be an inspiration and an education. Wedad

  9. Dear Munira
    Not a day goes by that you are not in my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes when I come to work I remember our conversation when we were at St. Anne’s Spa and I told you that I was starting a business. That was almost 13 years ago. You thought that it was a pretty brave venture. Well, my friend talk about brave, you have always been an incredibly strong person and you will beat this! I can’t wait to see where life leads you when you are strong.All of this is but a detour to new and wonderful opportunites.
    Love you,
    Maria

    1. Wow Maria. I had no idea you were reading the blogs. We have been talking about getting together for the past 15 years. Think it’s time to make it happen? Would love to see you. Thank you for your love and prayers. This thing came from nowhere and I am trying to find the meaning and blessing in iit. Thank you so much for connecting. Hugs, Munira

  10. Munira – you are an amazing individual. Thanks for sharing the details with us. We would never have understood the intricasies of all the procedures one goes through. Thank you for your honesty, your courage, your positive attitude in facing all the adversaries that you have to date. You give us courage and strength. For that thanks from the bottom of our hearts. Our prayers are always with you – there is special salwats we dedicate to you. Inshallah, the waves of positive energy sent to you will help in the healing process. Lots of love and prayers. Mahbanu and Yasmin Ratansi

    1. Mahbanu and Yasmin. You have no idea how glad I am to hear from you! Your prayers and encouragement mean the world to me. I am learning everyday as part of this journey and it has been a transformational experience. In spite of the challenges, I am finding a lot of blessings if I look deep enough. Munira

  11. Dearest Munira,

    Though experience can be interpreted simply as what happens to us, you have shown me that experience is definitely what we do with what happens to us! I am in awe of the way you have enriched your life and soared above all with great attitude, courage, and grace. I admire that whole fearless package that you are Munira. Though I wince, reading your words that paint your painful experiences at times, I am so proud of you! Just seeing your conviction of surviving these cancers makes me a true believer of your willpower. You will beat all the odds and get there Munira! Any hardships you have to endure too, shall pass away and you shall continue to inspire us!

    Love,

    Deva

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