Everything is different and the same

March 28, 2014 – Miami Beach, Florida.

I am writing this post from South Beach, the home of beautiful people.  Of gorgeous sun and roads lined with palm trees. I feel like I am in heaven!

My mind wanders to the last time I was in Florida. I had just completed 18 weeks of chemotherapy treatment for Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.  I was scheduled to start a new set of chemotherapy treatments and, possibly at the time, a stem cell transplant for Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma.  I was tired and sick.   Boldly, I asked Dr. Tiedemann if I could go to Florida for a week before continuing with the treatments.  I fully expected him to say No.  He said yes. And Nagib immediately booked us on a flight before Dr. Tiedemann could change his mind!

This was in July 2012.  I needed a wheelchair at the airport as I was too weak to walk. I remember being so tired all the time.  Eating was a challenge.  My suitcase was packed with medicine and medical supplies.  I had a PICC line in my right arm.  I had no hair and had to wear a big hat to protect me from the sun.  It turned out to be a wonderful trip.  Sabrina, Nagib and I savoured every moment because we realized that I would have an uphill battle once we returned home.  Here’s a picture of me from Tampa International Airport on August 1, 2012:

 

Gate F89, Tampa International Airport, Florida August 1, 2012

Now, we have returned to Florida after 20 months.  And, everything is different and it’s the same.  I walked with Nagib as we navigated our way through the airports.  I am able to eat with gusto.  I have more energy.  I have my own hair that I can actually comb and style. My chemo brain is gone and I actually feel smart again.  In 20 months, it is almost as if my world has turned upside down (or should I say, right side up).  Here’s a picture from nearly the same spot – Gate F89, Tampa International Airport, Florida — 20 months later:

2014-04-01 Florida

Everything is the same – yet, strangely, it’s all different.

Time has an interesting way of making us forget.  If I don’t think about it consciously, I can easily forget the past two years and pretend that the cancer did not happen.  In some ways this is a blessing because it allows me to move forward.  Yet, I do think that there is value in remembering and reflecting.  It keeps me honest.  It allows me not to take things for granted.  To treasure every experience.

Reflecting on the past and keeping the best of it, while moving confidently into the future, is a balancing act.  In the past two years, I have learnt the value of family and friends.  Of competent health care professionals.  Of taking care of yourself.  Of making a difference in the lives of others.  Of giving back.  Of doing work you love to do.  Of being mindful.  Of making time count. Of appreciating what you have.  Of keeping hope alive at all times.  And most importantly of the miracle of prayer – thanks to your prayers and encouragement, I’m here, in Florida.  With Nagib in meetings, I’m by myself — shopping, eating, galivanting on Lincoln Road…

2014-03-28 Florida 039 2014-03-28 Florida 045

2014-03-28 Florida 0442014-03-27 Florida 032

– Munira

29 Comments

  • Anonymous , April 8, 2014

    Hey Muni, what can I say except you are AMAZING. I always look forward to your posts. We are so fortunate & blessed to be part of your life. I’m still waiting for you to come by for ‘akni’.

    • Premji Family , April 9, 2014

      Thanks so much Yasmin! We will plan an “akni” date for sure!

  • Kermally , April 5, 2014

    Superb!!!

    • Premji Family , April 6, 2014

      Hello stranger! how have you been? really miss not chatting with you in the pool….

  • Anonymous , April 5, 2014

    I am very happy for you. God is really good! May He continues showering you with blessings. Your blog in a way has made me learn a lot. Have ensured i read each and every post in a reflective way and always said a prayer to you. Next holiday come to Kenya! Lucy

    • Premji Family , April 5, 2014

      Hi Lucy from Kenya! I have not heard from you in a long time. Thank you for writing and your continued prayers. Asante sana! Sabrina is planning to come to Kenya this summer; perhaps I will join her.

  • Anonymous , April 4, 2014

    Munira, I am so happy to see you victoriously return to Miami! I, too, celebrate your good health. 🙂 Much love, Patti.

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Hi Patti! Happy spring and start of the baseball season! How are you enjoying your new office? We need to get together to celebrate! Miss you lots!

      • Anonymous , April 5, 2014

        Munira, I LOVE my new office – LOVE the underground! Can’t wait to get together with you!

      • Premji Family , April 5, 2014

        I will let you know when I come downtown and then we will paint the town red!

  • Lynda and Dave Cavanagh , April 4, 2014

    Munira, what a wonderful story. I have forwarded it to a very close friend who has been given four to six months to live if she does not take chemotherapy. She has decided o take the first three weeks and then decide. I know your story will give her hope. Thank you so much and please keep well and enjoy every day. You might have met my friend Sue. She managed the Same type of library that I managed it Scotiabank, but she was with the Royal Bank. We really hope that you and Nagib will be able to visit us here in Brockville soon. Lynda

    Sent from Dave’s iPad

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      I’m so sorry to hear about Sue. I remember her. We all went to the unique lives event together, many years ago. I so hope she makes the right decision for herself and I will keep her in my prayers for good health. We would live to visit, or have you visit us. I think of you so often Lynda. Love you very much. Munira

  • shahnaz suteria , April 4, 2014

    amazing! You look Amazing Munira. Job well done!

    Be well, blessed and less stressed Shahnaz Suteria, M.O.M.Sc., R.M.T., Dip. H.R. Classical Osteopath 416-830-2022 “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” – Rumi

    “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”- Henry J. Kaiser

    Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 20:04:34 +0000 To: anaturalchoicermt@hotmail.com

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Your encouragement keeps me going Shahnaz!

  • Yasmin , April 4, 2014

    Muni

    You look beautiful. May Mowla keep you healthy and give you lots of barakat.

    Yasmin

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Thank you Yasmin! Really, really appreciate your encouragement and welcome your prayers! Don’t know if we can make it to LA soon. Please come visit us!

  • Anonymous , April 4, 2014

    Saira says”” Looking Hot !!!!!!!!!!! so good to see you – take care and make your next trip to seattle:)

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      “Saira says” — you know how much I love hearing from you?! When you respond, I feel complete! How are you doing? We really need to meet in person. You have been a good friend over the past two years. Thank you!

      • Anonymous , April 7, 2014

        I love reading your posts and following your progress!!! Yes, we are ready to meet in person, I am planning to visit Canada sometime in June, are you in Toronto???
        Would be great to meet you:) take care dear!!!

      • Premji Family , April 7, 2014

        Yes – I’m in Toronto. Would love to meet you in person. Thanks so much for keeping in touch!

      • Anonymous , April 9, 2014

        Hey Muni ( Saira says)!!! I have to always put this because I get lost in your huge fan mail:) please email me your address in Toronto! I will try and come see you, would love to:) I will be in the scarborough area.

  • Nailla , April 4, 2014

    Bravo. You’ve done it. Congratulations

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      And I am so proud of you too! Look at how well you are doing Nailla. My prayers are always with you.

  • Carmela , April 4, 2014

    You look absolutely amazing!!! I will be there in three weeks. Wish we could have gone shopping together!!! Shoes absolutely!!! Enjoy

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Dearest Carmela. Enjoy your vacation – half the fun is in the anticipation! Yes I would love to go shopping with you. Let’s plan something when you are back. Enjoy life and continue to live fearlessly my friend!

  • Lyndsy Evenden , April 4, 2014

    Munira – you look so fantastic!!! Now that is my kind of vacation!! Big hugs – Lyndsy

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Hi there Lyndsy – how wonderful to hear from you! Big hugs right back at you!

  • Gulzar Surani , April 4, 2014

    Thanks for sharing; what a TRANSFORMATION; you must be feeling glowingly beautiful.Gulzar.

    Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 20:04:34 +0000 To: gulzarsurani@hotmail.com

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Just feeling incredibly blessed to have people like you in my life. Thank you!

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