“Here we go again!”

My Journey through cancer — the sequel.

Advertisements
At North York General Hospital.
Trying my best to be brave, at North York General Hospital.

Toronto, December 2, 2015 — I love fairy tales where everyone lives happily ever after.   Adventure stories like Star Wars inspire me where the good guys experience challenges and adversity, fight the bad guys and clinch victory from the jaws of defeat  That’s how I saw my situation with the cancers.  Lymphoma and Myeloma invaded my body nearly 4 years ago, caused havoc and pain, and almost cost me my life.  With chemotherapy, medication and a stem cell transplant, I was able to get rid of the gremlins and come out on top.  And since then, it has been a great life of renewal and rejuvenation.  Until now.

Today I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I am just so shocked that I don’t know how to respond.  Do I cry?  Do I say this can’t be happening?  Do I ignore it and hope it’s a mistaken diagnosis?

It all started last week when I found a tiny lump in my right breast.  I went to my family doctor who was surprised I found it at all because it was so minuscule and so deep.  Within a week, I had two mammograms, 3 ultrasounds, a consult with a breast specialist and a surgeon, multiple visits with my family doctor and a biopsy.  Two days later, the preliminary results of the biopsy showed that I have invasive ductal carcinoma.  Invasive because that tiny, almost-could-not-feel-it lump had the audacity to spread the cancer into two lymph nodes under my right arm.  I also learnt that this type of cancer makes up 80% of all breast cancers.

The next steps are additional tests next week that include a complete CT scan and a bone scan.  This will determine the stage of the cancer and the treatment plan.  The treatment will certainly include surgery to remove the tumour.  Depending on the results of the tests, treatment will most likely include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal interventions.

We called Dr. Tiedemann to see if it is normal for someone with my history to get breast cancer.  He said that it was highly unusual and perhaps, that I was just “unlucky”.  Dr. Tiedemann recommend that I have genetic sequencing to get a sense of whether there is a specific gene in my body that is the culprit and making me more susceptible to cancer.  I am curious about the results given that there is no history in my immediate family of breast cancer, lymphoma or myeloma (although one cousin died of myeloma, one year after diagnosis).

The hardest part was to share this news with family.  Nagib just looked shell shocked and then took my hand and said, “Here we go again”.  Shayne was in Africa, and the first thing he said upon hearing the news was, “I am so glad to be coming home in two weeks”.  Sabrina was in-between classes and could only talk for a few minutes.  She thanked us for not keeping the news from her.  My mom is worried.  My father-in-law is sad.  I am feeling badly about putting my family through this journey again.  I know that this is not the best place to put my energy, but it is how I feel at the moment.

I am dealing with this new diagnosis by taking one step at a time and learning as much as I can about this cancer.   The surgeon asked if I had any thoughts on whether I want to just remove the lump or get a mastectomy. I actually had to google mastectomy to find out what it meant and got a bit scared about the possibility — so I’m not thinking about this yet.  All in good time.

A part of me is very calm given what I have gone through in the past.  Cancer no longer has that hold over me.  A part of me is wondering what God’s plans are for me.  Is it to learn about another type of cancer so I can hopefully extend my reach in supporting more people?  I am optimistic that I will have a happy ending with this cancer given the huge advances in breast cancer treatment and the knowledge that I have been here before  But like all good fairy tales and adventure stories, it may mean that I have to slay a few more dragons and fight the bad guys along the way.

In the meantime, did I tell you that I just love Christmas ?!

I love the Christmas decorations at NYGH.
I love the Christmas decorations at NYGH.

– Munira.

50 thoughts on ““Here we go again!””

  1. Mukhiyani Munira,you are a true inspiration & with everyone’s support & prayers ….you have to fight this dragon and any other that comes in your way!
    We look at you & say what do we have to complain about? So now we have to pray harder & ask mowla to give you & your family strength,courage & wisdom to come out of this for all of us…..Ameen
    Khushyali Mubark to all of you.
    Warm Hugs & Regards
    Naz & Moyez Kamani

  2. Ah, Munira, you shining star. My heart breaks with this news, and yet I know that you and your family’s strength and love will prevail. My deepest regards to you and my love, BJ

  3. Munira – if anyone can deal with this challenge it is you. It’s hard to understand God’s plan. You have had your share. And here you are again. Yet I have to believe that you will continue to be an inspiration and turn your latest setback into something good as you always do, with such grace and humility. I think cancer is becoming afraid of you. It’s trying, but you wont let it win. You are too strong and courageous. Love, hugs and prayers to you. You are incredible.

    1. My “get up and go” Julie! You make me smile. That’s what Sabrina said – – this new cancer will not know what hit it! I am feeling way better today, ready to tackle this new challenge!

  4. Saira Says! Munira you are a fighter! and you will overcome this too. Wishing you all the bests tons of hugs! Khusyali Mubarak

  5. Munira, you are one of the bravest people I know. I am so sorry to hear this news, and can only imagine how devastated you and your family must feel. Do you need any direct help? A lift to appointments? A friendly visitor? Company while in hospital waiting rooms? Please do let me know if these would be helpful or appreciated, I am very sincere in this offer. And may the next news you hear on this be positive and hopeful. I send a big xoxo.

    1. Elizabeth – – Thank you so much my friend. I has been way too long since we met. Can we get together and talk about vidalia onions and other valuable stuff! I miss your stories! I will call you.

      1. Munira, YES, I would love to get together and talk about Vidalia onions… :-). Please do call me, and I hope to see you soon xo — EL

  6. Dear Munira,
    You are so in my thoughts. You will get through this . This too will pass. I honestly don’t know what to write. I am speechless. My heart goes a out to you. I will write again soon. Be brave.
    Lynda

    Sent from Lynda’s iPad

    >

  7. Munira if anyone can deal with this, it is you!! I could pass along my sadness and shock but what I really want to do is share my faith that God will watch over you and provide you and your family with the strength and courage to get through this – yet again. Praying for you dear friend.

  8. Dear Munira, I have been following your story since day 1 and I’m very sad to hear this news. I have learned so much from your journey and I have also gotten to know you through your journey. Your optimism and your positive energy are an inspiration to me and my family (my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over four years ago). I think if anyone can conquer this cancer, it would be you. I wish all the best to you and your family. May there be many more Christmas for you and your family to celebrate together.

  9. Mukhianimaa, remember you are an invincible woman and don’t let this dragon defeat you.You are always in our prayers and Mowla is always on your side.
    Love you
    Somani Family

  10. Why is there only a “like” button when the only reply is “unlike”. This is very surprising news as you look so healthy and full of energy since conquering the previous cancers. It means that you have more stamina and energy to slay this dragon as well. Prayers and love to you.

  11. Dearest Munira,
    You have the gift of connecting with the “brightest” of you through the “darkest” of experiences. Though I am deeply saddened and speechless, I truly believe that you will overcome anything sent your way with your brave heart.
    “This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival… Be grateful for whatever comes. Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~Rumi

    With all my love, Deva

  12. Munira, I’m so so sorry. I don’t know if this will make you feel any better or not but I was diagnosed with lung cancer almost 20 years ago. They gave me six months to live, did surgery, took out two thirds of my lungs, and said there was nothing they could do. So I said I’ll come back when I’m sick again. years later I was feeling funny, drove myself to the hospital and had open heart surgery – bypass surgery. Six years ago I started bleeding like a pig, I had not been to a gynecologist in over 10 years, and I had a very bad cervical cancer The tumor was too big for surgery so they decided to shrink it with chemo and radiation and do the surgery afterwards. Before starting the chemo they decided to check everything else out. And they found a breast cancer so they said let’s treat the cervical cancer and then we will treat the breast cancer. So finally after the chemo and radiation they did shrink the tumor and I did not need surgery. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation for the breast cancer and now I am cancer free. There is no cancer in my family. So the doctor did want to do a test to see if I have a genetic predisposition to cancer and a predisposition to actually react really well to the treatments. So strange. I don’t know if this makes you feel any better – it is hard. I know you have the right attitude and will fight this. I am so so sorry. Thinking of you! Ania

  13. Munira, sorry you had to get this news. It’s time to start thinking of slaying a new more demons, just in time for the Star Wars move next week.
    Sending positive thoughts and energies your way!

  14. Munira, I am so sorry to hear this news. I think of you often and join so many others who pray for you and send positive thoughts to you and your wonderful family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Love, Patti.

  15. Dearest Mukhianima Munira,

    I am just reading your blog now and I must tell you, my heart just sank as soon as I read the title. My insides knew it wasn’t good news. You certainly don’t deserve this but I have complete faith that, as usual, you will tackle this dragon with all your might. My sincere prayers are with you and your family.
    I am guilty of not not sending my comments frequently, but I do keep in touch through your blogs – and I just love you. Please let me know if Zul or I can be of any help at all.

    My love and prayers for you,

    Shamim

    1. Thank you my dearest Safia. Sooo great to hear from me. I’m doing okay and feeling buoyed with such incredible support. Still a bit worried but mostly feeling good. Khushiali Mubarak to you!

      Sent from my iPhone

  16. Our prayers are with you always Mukhianima. You have inspired so many people (including me!) with your courage and optimism! Lots of Love. xox

  17. I am on a mini vacation in Cuba and I just read this post. I don’t even know how to feel about it. Tears are escaping from my eyes and I’m thinking that God is yet again testing Muni’s faith in him. I am feeling helpless because while I can pray for her and offer her my support in any way she needs, it is a journey only she can navigate through with courage and strength. I am thinking about how precious life is and how Muni in the 30 plus years I have known her, epitomizes for me the joy of life. She not only lives life, she does life! She Is blessed with the perseverance gene. I want her to know how she continually inspires me and how much she means to me and to so many others. I want her to know that we are all symbolically putting on our boxing gloves and fighting for her and alongside her as her champions. God bless you always and forever Muni. With much love, Anny

    1. Dearest, dearest Anny. No tears. Only joy for living each day to the fullest. I am so glad to know you for 30 plus years. I have loved and admired you for that long. I am going to remember the boxing analogy as I’m going through the treatment. It is a strong, powerful imagery. Thank you for taking the time to write.

  18. For some reason, when I saw a blog from you in my in box, my heart sank. Usually, I look forward to your uplifting, cheerful, interesting blogs. But this time, I had a premonition – that it would hold bad news.

    Early detection is very important and it looks like you may have caught it early. That is a huge positive.

    The powers that be have decided to put you and your family through their paces once again. But they don’t know the strength of this family. They don’t know what they are up against! You will slay some more dragons and go on to write that book that we talked about a few days ago.

    We are depending on you (and praying our hardest) to keep the faith and battle on. Together we will show cancer who is the boss!

    Much love and prayers 😍

    Parin

  19. Sending you my love and prayers, Munira! Your honesty and ability to articulate this journey is amazing!

    With love,

    Faiza Venzant

  20. Mukhianima Munira,

    We are sorry hear this news. God is just testing you. We are confident that with your positive attitude you will be able to overcome this small obstacle that has come your way.
    Our prayers are with you and your family and if there is anything we can do, we are just a phone call away.

    Yasmin & Amin

  21. Munira – Words are few after reading this post. Thoughts, prayers and love are being sent your way and to your family. You are the brightest light I know and I am certain your joy, exuberance and love of life will help you on this journey. Love, Nancy

  22. Dear Munira,

    We are so sorry to read about your recent diagnosis of breast cancer. This is now the third time for you, facing cancer. We truly hope that all your care and treatments will be most effective, and you recover very well. Most importantly, you are surrounded by wonderful love from your family and your very many friends. We also extend our love to you.

    You, with Nagib and your family, have been so inspirational to us in the myeloma community, in sharing your experiences, and in offering sincere hope to others going through a cancer journey. Thank you all tremendously for that. We now wish to return that same spirit of hope back to all of you.

    Warmest wishes,
    Dave and Erika

  23. Dearest Mukhianimaa, It just broke my heart to read your blog today. You will fight this too!! My prayers are with you and your family!! Sending you love and hugs, Nasreen

  24. Ya Ali Madad, Mukhianimaa,
    Our deep prayers for a fast and full recovery to good health, and for strength and fortitude for you and your family . May Allah grant you all good health, mushkil asaan, happiness, spiritual enlightenment, unity, and immense Barakah, Ameen. Khushiali Mubarak to you all.

  25. Never lose hope just be strong and leave everything (100%) without a doubt to God and then you will see the miracles Ameen.

  26. Hi Munira,
    You are truly blessed to have such wonderful and loving family and friends. We all need such support when experiencing an illness, let alone when told of another cancer diagnosis. Your positive attitude will help you with your war against the bad guys. May your visualization and your support team help conquer your challenges. May the force be with you. We send our love and hugs. Erika and family

  27. Muni, I’m speechless with this news. You are the most beautiful lady and the ultimate warrior. I am confident that you will win this battle too, with the support of your wonderful family.
    Keep up the faith, stay strong and know that we are praying for you and your family.
    Love you always.

  28. Munira, I am just getting caught up on your news. You have beaten cancer several times and since history has a tendency of repeating itself, you will beat it again. I simply love your ‘can do’ attitude. Keep on loving Christmas, your family, and your life’s purpose. You are truly gifted in bringing hope and a positive attitude to survivors. You are a cancer warrior. The world needs more Munira! God bless!

  29. Many have articulated much better than I can what we pray and wish for you , i.e. Strength and grace in the face of this beast and our faith that you possess both those in spades. May you know that we walk alongside you in this battle and every day there many many prayers and positive vibes for your continued well being.

  30. Hey MY Mukhiani
    What comes to mind are two things:
    One is shock and the other is your tenacity.
    I say the way you have handled yourself, Everest would be in awe of your strength.
    We will pray for your recovery and continued bravery.
    You are truly my Hero!
    Sulaiman

  31. Munira, I was so saddened to read about this. So out of the blue. But slay those dragons and overcome them you will. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You have had the ferocious determination and courage to face challenges before. May Almighty be with you all the way in this new fight. Hugs and love to you and to your family.

    “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” -Emory Austin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s