5 years later…

…and we are finally going on that long-awaited Mediterranean Cruise next week!

Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary, My Love, and…

Thank you, Shayne, for making it all possible!


The Journey Beyond Cancer

April 24, 2017 – After 8 pokes to search for a working vein, nurses at North York General Hospital infused Munira with her final Herceptin treatment, successfully closing the chapter on her battle against breast cancer.

Munira always says:  “Put it out to the Universe, and let it work its magic”. The Universe has come through again.

Dr. Robson confirmed that Munira’s latest mammogram results were negative.  Dr. Tiedemann confirmed that all bloodwork for her multiple myeloma (m-proteins, free light chains, etc.) are within the normal range. And her Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been out of sight and out of mind for the past few years.

So on this, the 25th day of April, 2017, I’m putting it out to the Universe:

The Journey Through Cancer is over.  Now, the Journey Beyond Cancer begins.

Thank you to everyone for your support and prayers over the last 5+ years, and especially since December 2015, when Munira was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’m writing this post because Munira is way too busy living her life beyond cancer.  Every day, she finds a way to make an impact on those around her – whether it’s providing support to others afflicted with cancer, or raising funds for cancer research at the Princess Margaret, or lending her name to the Munira Bra (to raise funds for North York General Hospital’s BMO Breast Cancer Centre), or volunteering for a major community project, or bursting into a room with her energy and exuding happiness and warmth, and … (I can’t keep up with her!)

So, thank you, and God bless everyone.

The Journey Beyond Cancer begins…



Happy Birthday Munira Version 2.0

With a CTL-ALT-DEL and a stem cell transplant, Munira Version 2.0 was born on February 15, 2013. On this, her first birthday, we are pleased to share “Munira’s Journey”, a documentary on Munira’s Journey through Cancer, as told through her eyes.

Munira V2.0

With a CTL-ALT-DEL and an autologous stem cell transplant, Munira Version 2.0 was born on February 15, 2013.  

On this, her first birthday, we are pleased to share Munira’s Journeya documentary on Munira’s Journey through Cancer, as told through her eyes:

Munira’s Journey came from a desire to share her story with family and friends, and to reflect on her journey with cancer — a journey that has been wrought with losses, and with many blessings.  The concept is based on Oprah’s “Master Class”, an hour-long interview with a famous personality, which is split into several segments, and each segment focuses on a specific lesson.

Please click here to read about the making of this film:  Munira’s Journey, A Special Premiere.

Below is a link to a playlist on YouTube which contains the film, the video of the premiere at Cineplex Odeon Silvercity Fairview Mall Cinema in Toronto, as well as separate segments containing a specific lesson:



With gratitude,
The Premji Family

Munira’s Story featured on UHN Website for World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day
is February 4th

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is celebrating World Cancer Day by sharing stories of courage.  Munira’s story is featured today: Continue reading “Munira’s Story featured on UHN Website for World Cancer Day”

The Value of Slowing Down

Photo by Chris A. Hughes

Yesterday, the media was buzzing with news about the long-awaited launch of the new Blackberry.  Last year, Blackberry-maker RIM made a strategic decision not to rush into market with an incomplete product, but to slow down.  Slow down, and make sure the final product would work well and last a long time.  They were criticized for delaying the launch, but they were resolute in their decision.

Monday’s Globe and Mail Editorial applauded them for this: 

In a world where customers and stock markets are relentless in their demand for constant innovation, RIM has done something strikingly original: It has taken its time.

In a similar vein, I was thinking that our experience in the last few months has been similar to that of Blackberry’s.  Since Munira was diagnosed with multiple myeloma almost a year ago (Feb. 3rd, 2012 to be exact), we have been focused on fixing her (with chemotherapy and stem cell transplants) and relaunching the brand new, cancer-free… Munira, version 2.0.

Originally, the plan was to have her complete her chemotherapy and stem cell transplants within six months.  However, due to the additional diagnosis of lymphoma, that plan had to be set aside until the lymphoma was put into remission, which it was in July.  So, it was with great anticipation that we came back from a much-needed one week vacation to Florida to begin treatments for the multiple myeloma.

Except, there were further delays.  The stem cell collection process did not work completely, despite nine days of daily trips to the hospital, and numerous neupogen injections.  Thankfully, Mozibil, Sanofi’s wonder drug, came to the rescue and, on December 10th and 11th, 2012, we were able to collect enough stem cells for multiple transplants, if necessary.  Now, the waiting game began.

The stem cell transplant unit at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre was extremely busy, and patients who were expected to be discharged over the Christmas holidays became sick, and the waiting list grew.  We were told the wait was anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks.  Munira’s weekly chemotherapy treatments were restarted on January 12th as her oncologist, Dr. Rodger Tiedemann, did not want her to go without treatment while she waited for a transplant bed to become available. 

Since that time, however, we started to notice that some of the symptoms of the lymphoma (such as night sweats) were coming back.  Out of caution, a CT scan was done of all the lymph nodes.  We were told earlier this week that the results were negative for any lymphoma (whew!).

So, yesterday, with anticipation (again!), we sat down with Dr. Tiedemann and waited for him to say, “pack your bags, you are all set to be admitted for the stem cell transplant ”.  Instead, he expressed concern over the night sweats and asked if we would consider delaying the transplant (again!) until we definitively ruled out any recurrence of lymphoma.  This necessitated yet another bone marrow aspiration and biopsy yesterday (the seventh one in one year!) and a two week wait for the results.

On the one hand, we had waited so long.   Munira had been through too many painful biopsies – and we were so close to the transplant.  We just wanted to get it over with and, you know, get on with life.

On the other hand, like Blackberry’s stakeholders, we had to make the tough decision to take the time and do it right.  Dr. Tiedemann left it up to us to make the decision.  After thinking about it for a few minutes, we agreed that an additional two or three week delay in the transplant process was, in the scheme of things, a relatively short period of time.  We decided to slow down and do it right.

So, over the next two weeks, Munira has decided to live life even more fully (her weekly chemotherapy will continue).  Last week, we went to 5th Elementt, an Indian fusion restaurant on Queen St. West for her birthday.   The food was so delicious (try the lamb shank!) that she invited the Chief Culinary Officer (i.e. the Chef) home to teach her how to cook new Indian dishes.  We have also both joined GoodLife Fitness, to keep physically fit and strong for the three-week long hospital stay and the two to three month long recovery period at home which will follow the transplant.

Toronto-20130130-PMH Myeloma ClinicIn keeping with the Blackberry theme, since she will have lots of time on her hands over the next few months, I’ve reserved for her the new Blackberry Z10, which goes on sale on Tuesday, February 5th.  (We are # 42 on the Rogers list !).   Munira is an iPad and iPod junkie (see picture on the right from the hospital yesterday), so it will be interesting to see if her alliances change with the new Blackberry Z10.

– Nagib