I Rang the Bell!

Princess Margaret Hospital has a wonderful tradition that once a patient has completed the full course of chemotherapy treatments, they get to ring”The Bravery Bell”.  Today, after my sixth R-CHOP chemotherapy treatment ended, I rang that bell with gusto – so loud that I am sure it could be heard all the way to Alaska!  

Watch me ring the bell – and turn the volume up!

For my family and me, it was a culmination of the past four months of chemo treatments.  It was a symbol of courage, of hope and of new beginnings.  Nagib made this a celebratory event and brought cupcakes from Prairie Girl Bakery for all the nurses.  The ringing of the bell and the cupcake celebration was a defining moment in the journey and I feel like dancing!

Of course, the journey wouldn’t be the same without the many volunteers at PMH who supplied us with juices, snacks and newspapers to read, not to mention a shoulder to cry on. 

Volunteers serve juice, snacks and newspapers

 At PMH, as with any hospital, nurses are the cogs that make the wheel go round.  Manuel Martinez is one such nurse.  Manny is a bit of a legend at PMH Chemotherapy Day Care.  I first heard about Manny from a colleague whose husband was treated for cancer at PMH.  I heard about him again on my first day of chemo when a nurse said that Manny had the magic touch and would be able to find my elusive vein for chemo if necessary.  I heard about him in the chemo waiting area where patients were hoping that Manny would be assigned to them.  I did not meet Manny until my second chemo.  He was my nurse for a brief period and made the experience of being in the hospital fun, Actually!  

Manny comes by his reputation honestly.  He has worked at PMH for about 20 years.  In 2010, he was nominated by a patient for the Nightingale Award, which is the equivalent of the Grammy’s or Emmy’s for nurses.  He has also been nominated for the hospital’s Kirsch Award, 8 out of 10 times.  What strikes me most about Manny is his quick wit, wicked sense of humor and ability to tell wonderful stories.  He is so completely patient focused that when he is your nurse, you can leave all your anxieties behind with the knowledge that you are in competent hands.  His gift is his ability to see you as a person, as opposed to a patient.  Manny is engaged to a former cancer patient who is in remission.  Manny is one of many nurses who support the Chemo Ward at PMH.  There are 15 to 18 nurses that look after approximately 655 patients per week.

Today was my last chemo for the lymphoma and it was only fitting that Manny was my nurse!  

 

This chemo was the easiest I have experienced because there was no long search for uncooperative veins, no pokes for blood, no IV’s.  I was so relaxed that I slept through the entire chemo treatment.  Why did I not get the PICC line earlier?

Now the Premji Family enters the next phase of our journey where the attention will be on dealing with the Multiple Myleoma.  We are curious about what Dr. Tiedemann has in mind about the treatment plan and we will find out in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for details!

57 Comments

  • Lyndsy , July 13, 2012

    Yay for ringing the bell – and for teh cupcakes!! I loved watching that video. I think of you often Munira, and Isabelle sent me your blog and I am so happy to be able to follow your progress. What a wonderful way to track your journey through this process. I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers Munira. Your spirt is an inspiration!!! I can’t wait to work together again. Big kisses and hugs. Lyndsy xx

    • Premji Family , July 14, 2012

      I am so thrilled to hear from you Lyndsy! Hope all is well in your world. You are so right. The blog is a wonderful way to keep track of the journey. I find now that when I go back to the first blogs I am surprised at what we wrote. I would not have remembered a lot of it today. Take care my friend, Munira

  • Rosie, Mebs and Zoe , July 4, 2012

    I too did hear the Bell, here on University Ave.

  • Barbara , July 2, 2012

    Munira – this was the best sound ever (and the best news of the day)! I loved seeing the video clip of you. Going out with a bang (and a cupcake here and there) is what you do best : )

    Barbara

    • Premji Family , July 14, 2012

      Hi Barbara! I like going out with a bang! Are you all settled in your new place? Is work a little less hectic? I miss you? Munira

      • Barbara , July 17, 2012

        Munira I miss you too! Yes we are settled in. Works going well. In a new role now. I’ll have you update sometime soon.

  • Anonymous , June 30, 2012

    made me choke with a mixture of happiness, tears, and joy, deep breath for the next phase, hope Manny can start it for you, love you loads. take care

  • Anonymous , June 29, 2012

    Munira, I have been so looking forward to you ringing that bell – I’m glad you videotaped it, it was great to see! What a victory! Love, Patti

  • salome , June 28, 2012

    feeling vulnerable as your mentioned reminds you of Allah so put it that way, he wants you to remember him even more,,
    we tend to forget that, atleast myself ,… dont we? when we dont have adversities?

    so its very normal Mukhiani maa, you are blessed, he is holding you now and has always been holding you and us but we dont realize that all the time and feel vulnerable sometimes…
    be around positive people and keep talking or writing if you can, it will make you feel occupied ,happy, energetic instead of feeling vulberable…and fearful

    (i am not sure if that makes sense?)

  • Pascale , June 28, 2012

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Great news Munira! I am so happy for you.
    Pascale

  • mylegacytoyou , June 27, 2012

    You owned that bell big time Munira! You are oozing with your bubbly energy and so impatient to have a go at it in the Video clip! It made me laugh and cry… You are beautiful and I love you loads. I am so glad that you have completed the first half with bells, cupcakes, and flying colors! Second half beware… here comes Munira!

    Deva

    • Premji Family , June 27, 2012

      I knew that you would see all the intricacies and impatience Deva! Can we plan on a long, delicious get together soon? Or at least a phone conversation? I am learning a little bit more about the second half and it will be an interesting journey. Different from what I am going through now, and a bit daunting. But I think I am ready. Hugs, Munira

  • Anonymous , June 27, 2012

    Hey Mukhianima! not only did I hear the bell but was lucky enough to see your beautiful self in person yesterday! For a minute i didn’t realize it was you “san” the signature earings and with the longer hair style; wondered who the two very happy young women in the line up at Sunnys waving at us were, then of course, the bright smiling face gave you away…….. so thrilled with your progress!

    Filoza

    • Premji Family , June 27, 2012

      I was so thrilled to see you too! Somedays I feel so lonely at home and miss the joy of being with people I know and love. Glad you liked my long hair. Today I am wearing big earrings and no wig. Changing it up a bit! Munira

  • Zebeen Rhemtulla , June 27, 2012

    And what a brave & courageous journey you’ve had…we were saddened to hear of your plight on our return from overseas…but know that we are praying that you are showered with abundant blessings, continued recovery and good health, inner peace and fullfilment. Luv & hugs Amin & Zebeen Rhemtulla (from old Willowdale JK)

    • Premji Family , June 27, 2012

      Thanks so much for the love and hugs. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of blessings and prayers. Munira

  • salome , June 26, 2012

    Wow, what a big bell? I am sure people who are hard of hearing must have heard THAT TOO.
    Hospitals normally dont allow cell phones either and they allowed you to ring the bell?
    (just joking!)
    Ha oxo xox
    Mukhiani maa this bell was celebration, but if you really think about it, you have given us countless number of bells i.e. through your willingness to help others.., Your duas, your advice, your willingness to listen and share your expertise ,and give a hand toe others willingly with enthusiams were all bells in itself! No matter how long the line, or busy you were, you had time for every one and everyone was treated special just like that nurse gave you special treatment.
    I will end by quotation “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength bu by preseverance!” – by JACKSON BROWN

    Salome

    • Premji Family , June 27, 2012

      Your comments touched me so much Salome. I am a bit speechless and humbled by what you said. And I agree that perseverance is just so important, particularly when you are feeling vulnerable. Munira

  • Begum Janmohamed , June 26, 2012

    Mukhiani Maa,

    Ya Ali Madat,

    That was a really a good BELL RINGING. It shows you had some strength to ring the bell and pray for your faster recovery. The bell was heard as far as Scarborough J.K. Once again thanks for keeping us updated about the journey. Hope your family are doing well too. I speak to your Mom when I meet her at Willowdale J.K.

    Love

    Begum Janmohamed

    • Premji Family , June 27, 2012

      Thanks Begum for acknowledging how strongly I rang that bell! I am also hoping for a fast recovery. The support from my family is awesome. Munira

  • Julie , June 26, 2012

    Yay!!!!!!!!!

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Yay back!!!!!!!!! Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Absolutely wonderful news!! The bell was ringing in Chicago!
    Lots of love
    Annette

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Annette – Hi! Love that you could hear the bell in Chicago! From an OD perspective, what really struck me was the power of symbolism and metaphor. Ringing that bell meant something significant. Really great to hear from you. Munira

  • Rashida Kanji , June 26, 2012

    CONGRATULATIONS MUKHIANIMA……………..Way to go!!!! So happy for you! Better days ahead! Everybody heard the bell At BRIDLETOWNE CIRCLE!!
    Love & Hugs

    KANJI FAMILY

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Woo! Hoo! Bridletowne Circle! Thanks for your unwavering support Rashida! Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Dear Muni & Nagib,

    I think we heard the bell in Tanzania, wishing you and your family all the best from here. Take care. Allah Bless you all as a family buddy.

    Love,
    Karim Dossa.

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Karim. I must have rung that bell really, really hard! Thanks so much for connecting. Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Munira,

    So happy for you! inshallah second phase will go as smooth as the first one, our prayers are always with you and your family Amen! Saira Nasirdin.

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Saira. Thank you for your continued prayers. You can see that it is making a huge difference in my recovery. Munira

  • IMMI HIRANI , June 26, 2012

    We heard the bell loud and clear in Calgary ,we always knew how strong you are -congratulations to you , the Premji and Kurji family -we are so proud of all of you.I am sure Mamdumama is up there beaming and so proud of you .Now one more to knockout “champ”.We all in Calgary miss and love you all,our prayers are with you always and you are in our heart and thoughts.Love from the Hirani family.

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      I chocked a bit when you remembered my dad. Thank you Immy. I am feeling strong today and so positive about the future. Hope to come to Calgary to visitwhen I am fully recoverd. I have to do this if you heard the bell in Calgary! Muni

  • Lynda Cavanagh , June 26, 2012

    We could hear the bell in Brockville.
    Thank goodness that part is over. You and your family are an inspiration.
    With love and prayers,
    Lynda and Dave

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Lynda. After 15 years I still ask the question, what would Lynda do? You have always been my inspiration. Thank you so much for your cards. I love receiving them! Munira

  • Dilshad Nathoo , June 26, 2012

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I thought I heard something ringing in my ears yesterday in Pickering!!! Way to go! We knew you could do it!
    Lots of love,
    Nathoos

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Love that you heard the bell in Pickering! It felt so special to ring that bell! Love you and miss you. Munira

  • Jo , June 26, 2012

    Tears of happiness as I read this – I’m so glad for your success (but not surprized – I always knew you were stronger than Lymphoma!) I hope I can see you soon.

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      I miss you so much Jo! Want to get together for fish and chips this Friday for lunch at my home? Or let me know what day works for you this week, at lunch or after work. Next week, based on experience, I will go into a dip for about 10 days and may not be so well. Let me know? Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Munira and family…
    This is terrific news! I am so happy for you Munira. I told you that Manny is an amazing nurse in all aspects. PMH is the best! Take care and wishing you all the best in your next steps.
    Mary DiPlacito

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Yes you were right. Manny is amazing. He flies from patiiemt to patient giving great care with his irreverent sense of humour. Thanks for connecting Mary. Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Way to go Munira!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Caroline

  • Linda , June 26, 2012

    Munira, Munira, Munira,
    You are the owner of that bell!! Yoou’ve ALWAYS been one of the most courageous people I know. You’re also one of the most loving and caring and wonderful so its truly fitting that a nurse like Manny would come your way! Congrats on completing this part of the journey! You Go Girl! We’re all with you!

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      I felt like the owner of the bell. I have seen people ring the bell very quietly and tentatively in the past and I was not going to have any of it! I can’t believe what a powerful symbol that bell was. So great to hear from you my friiend. Munira

  • Yasmin jiwani , June 26, 2012

    YAM Munira. Yay! we’re happy for you and continue to pray for your speedy recovery. Thank you for writing about your journey – we’re humbled and inspired.
    good wishes and prayers.

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Thank you so much for your wishes and prayers Yasmin They mean a lot. Munira

  • Wannietta , June 26, 2012

    It’s a wonderful rite of passage – congratulations!!!

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      I’m loving the scarf! Hope you are doiimg well? Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    I wondered what that bell was! Congratulations on getting through this phase. We are here still praying and laughing and incredibly grateful to be included in this journey. Sending love and energy to you and your family, Munira. BJ

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Thanks BJ! I love hearing from you! When are we going to meet in person? Any chance of you coming to Toronto? Munira

  • Anonymous , June 26, 2012

    Praying for you always and Love the determination. Keep going

    L

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      I plan to keep going with determination…Munira

  • Fatima Khemani , June 26, 2012

    So that’s what I heard today.=D

  • shainur , June 26, 2012

    I’m pretty sure I heard that bell from Calgary… 🙂

    • Premji Family , June 26, 2012

      Love your comment! Munira

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