Munira, Version 2.0

Today, February 15, is my new birthday.  From a clinical perspective, today is Day 0, when my stem cells were transplanted into my body.  It is a terrifying and exciting venture, all at once.

The transplant process was really cool!  Two very professional individuals in white coats ( “the stem cell technicians”), brought a rolling vault, that looked like a beer keg, which contained 6 bags of my stem cells.  The stem cells were in a flat bag, frozen and encased in a metal case (kinda looked like a metal book).  Each “book” was removed from the keg and checked and re-checked against my records to ensure that the stem cells were indeed my own.  Then, the case was opened, and voila, what looked like a package of frozen lean veal lay before the technician.  He then removed the package and put it into a steaming pot of 37 degrees Celsius water.  To speed up the process, he even “stirred the pot” to help liquify the cells faster.  A few minutes later, a warm bag of red-coloured liquid (containing mainly white blood cells and the core stem cells) was delivered to my nurse, Aylene, under strict chain of custody rules.  Aylene took each thawed bag, checked and rechecked it to my arm band, and hung it on the pole and hooked it up to my Hickman line. 

The process of infusing 6 bags took about one hour, within the comfort of my room.  It was a nice interplay of science and art, with a little bit of espionage and drama!  As we expected, the transplant had me smelling like corn (because of the preservative used to store the stem cells), with a touch of garlic!  I have been told that the smell will go away in a couple of days.

Here are a few pictures of the process:

Munira Stem Cell
The “Keg”
Munira Stem Cell 005
The stem cell transplant team
Munira Stem Cell 006
The steaming pot of boiling water
Munira Stem Cell 009a
Checking the metallic book containing the stem cells against my records
Munira Stem Cell 008
The thawed bag containing white blood cells and core stem cells
Munira Stem Cell 007
Incredible mom-to-be, Aylene, following the protocol.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time, and now that it is here, I don’t know what to think or say.  I spent the entire night in prayers thanking God for not leaving my side, and for making the transplant possible. 

According to my attending physician this weekend, Dr. Donna Reece, the director of the Molly and David Bloom Chair for Multiple Myeloma Research at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the stem cells are like puzzle pieces.  When transplanted, they spread around my blood stream looking for matching recepticles to attach themselves to.  The recepticles are mainly found in the big bones of the body, such as the neck, upper and lower back, the pelvis and the upper thighs.  Once attached, they start reproducing and generating new, hopefully cancer-free, cells.

So, since my transplant, I have been talking to my stem cells, welcoming them back to my body, asking them to make themselves at home, motivating them to attach to my bones, and regenerate and produce healthy cells.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I feel like I have been re-born today….as Munira, version 2.0.

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57 thoughts on “Munira, Version 2.0”

  1. Shukhran, Shukhran…by this example & many more, let us check our devices & download the 2.0 & reboot accordingly. All of us need to stick together & be a positive force of love that we all deserve.

    1. I love your idea of checking our devices, downloading the new version and rebooting! I think we should do this monthly. Yes, and what better force than sticking together. Good words of wisdom, Anonymous!

    1. Ya Ali Salim and Yasmin — I hear that you love the Duncan Mills restaurant. Perhaps we can go together as a family in the next few weeks? Amen to your prayers, Munira

  2. you finally made it !!!!

    congratulations, shukar, and just like you walked across those days last year, soon you will be over with 2013 and roller coasting?? no not again, this time better watch out ,no more roller coasting, but scuba diving!

  3. Welcome back!!! Inshallah everything will work out exactly the way you want it!! Then you will have ample opportunity to complete the wish list!!!

  4. May this rebirth be the first step toward a long, abundant, healthy and adventurous new journey! Lots of love from the Nassers!

  5. Shukar Munira 2.0
    Mowla has and will always be with you
    May the new bring health and happiness
    Our prayers are with you and the family
    Love Waljees

  6. Shukhar Munira….may Mowla’s blessings be with you and may the new stem cells multiply and bring you abundant health – and may all your wishes and desires be fulfilled….amen

    Best wishes,
    Yasmin

  7. Happy Birthday Munira 2.0. Please save some original Munira in your new version. I, myself being a bit old fashioned, quite liked the old version as well. So cheers to a re-birth, a new beginning and to growing again with health, strength, style, pizzaz, and determination for many, many, many, many more years to come!!!

    Lots of love,
    Dilshad

    1. Hi Dilshad — Thank you for reminding that the old version was not half bad! I like pizzazz! How about some of your delicious mango shake to celebrate? Much love Munira

  8. Yam Munira…I am so Happy today..Today it is our 35th Anniversary Feb 18th and on this day all I am wishing to the Almighty Allah is to have your stem cells do the best in your body and fulfill your wishes..May mowla always be with you..Happy Birthday Munira….

  9. You are such an inspiration full of courage and positivity. My prayers for you and the family and blessing to get healthy with this new beginning. Shainaaz Gulamani

  10. May God takes you to greater heights as you receive the renewal! And the Bible says – ACTS 1:4, “Wait for the gift my Father promised.” Have a blessed time. Lots of Luv

  11. Updated Munira version 2.0. Happy New Birthday to you and waiting to meet the version 2.0. Hang in there for the last roller coaster, all will be well,
    Meenal

  12. Munira – we just got back after the long weekend to see this wonderful post. We are so happy for you and are all sending our love and prayers your way. God Bless you and good luck from Karen, Kathy and Alan, and everyone else here at Insights!

  13. Welcome Munira 2.0, hope some of the original functionality is still present as our users are most comfortable however some new features will definately increase productivity and interest for user ready to venture ahead. – very proud of you, Munira! Shukhar.

  14. shukar Munira v2.0 enhanced and more powerful then ever before. all our prayers are with you and praying for complete healing

  15. Munira, I am so grateful for the recent good results you have had in your treatment and finally for this stem cell transplant. I can’t wait to see Munira 2.0 when you are well enough to receive visitors. Love, Patti.

  16. Africa :The Serengeti
    “http://www.youtube.com/embed/H73sFDwen2k”

    Mukhiani maa ,
    you may like watching this

    Hope you are doing good

    Salome

  17. I look forward to reading your BLOG;I pull it up almost every day. Sometimes I think of a response to something you posted while going through my day but I just don’t take the time to go back and leave a comment. I’ll work on that! Have a great weekend. Love, Vera

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