I’ve written an article for THISTALK and copied it below for you all to read.
First though, a quick update, today is my fourth dose of intensive mistletoe treatment in Aberdeen. Thank you so much for all of your continued support and donations which are enabling me to receive this treatment. I am now also exploring CBD (to reduce inflammation from my colitis NOT at a cancer treatment dose – but still costing £300+ per month) and high dose vitamin c infusions which cost £2200 and are also received in Aberdeen. The latter are a recognised alternative cancer treatment.
If you would like to support my treatment you can make a donation via GoFundMe or PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much!
You would think that living with stage four cancer would be all doom and gloom. I mean that’s what the media would have you expect and don’t even get me started on how life with cancer is portrayed in films – grey skin, no hair, weight loss, pain and suffering, a complete removal of joy.
But, in reality, it just simply isn’t like that. Not all the time anyway.
My name is Fi Munro and I have been living with stage four ‘terminal’ ovarian cancer for the past four and a half years since I was 30 years old. While there has been some definite lows (chemotherapy, multiple organ removal, time in intensive care, my lung collapsing three times, a bowel obstruction and weeks in hospital) there have been some incredible highs too.
Cancer literally saved my life and I want to tell you why and help break down the stigma around living with a ‘terminal’ condition. Oh, and I always put terminal in inverted commas because life is a terminal condition. None of us are getting out of this alive (regardless of your health status!) and that realisation is one of the most precious gifts my diagnosis gave me, because now I actually live my life. I mean really live it!
To help you understand how cancer saved my life I need to first explain what my life looked like before cancer. I was your typical ambitious 30 year old in the ever illusive pursuit of society defined success.
I had a PhD by the time I was 25. I was working as a lead researcher for the NHS and Scottish Government by the time I was 30, earning a ridiculous amount of money and commuting 4 hours a day for the privilege. I spent my evenings working out with a personal trainer and training for the London Marathon, not because I wanted to be healthy, but because I hated the person I saw in the mirror. My weekends were jam packed with social events with family and friends and I never took a second to just sit still, to just be with myself and appreciate all I had. My poor husband could hardly pin me down for a second!
On the outside I looked like I had in all. The perfect job, house and wage. A busy and active social life. Great fitness levels and an extensive list of awards and achievements. On the inside, however, I was miserable. I was constantly chasing external happiness and gratification. I always wanted more, never stopping for a second to appreciate all that I already had. I cried most days.
That all changed the day I was diagnosed. I suddenly realised that if I was going to die prematurely then this was not the life I wanted and this was certainly not how I wanted to be remembered.
Since then my life has completely changed and so have I. I left my job and retrained as a yoga teacher. I’d always wanted to be a yoga teacher and had never pursued my dream because I worried too much about what people would think if I left my academic research career for a more ‘alternative’ lifestyle choice. It turns out people are too focused on their own lives and choices to worry about what we are doing with ours. That realisation has been life changing!
I went on to launch my own yoga business and now host healing retreats across the UK. It’s been a dream come true being able to share yoga, meditation and a slower way of being with so many other women.
I have also completely changed my perception of success. For me it no longer means looking for external gratification. Instead I ask myself if what I am doing makes me happy and brings me joy (in all aspects of my life). If the answer is yes then I think I’m nailing success!
This has led me to remove all toxic relationships from my life, instead focusing only on those that bring me joy and deep connections. I’ve also really slowed down my life to a pace that enables me to take pleasure in daily rituals like long walks in the woods. Getting a dog. Paddle boarding in the sea. Reading. Researching. Writing two books (I’m currently working on my third). And, most recently, training to be a shaman.
My life now is so beautiful. It is filled with joy, love and laughter and, above all, it is filled with hope.
I may have terminal cancer. I may, at the time of writing, have tumours in my liver and lungs and around my heart, but I feel more alive and healthier and happier than I’ve ever felt before. My days are filled with joy, connection and love and that’s not despite the cancer, it’s because of it.
I spent the first 30 years of my life dead. I was driven by what society told me ‘should’ make me happy. Now, however, I focus on what actually does make me happy.
My motto, ‘live like you are dying’.
It is my firm belief that the majority of the perceived problems and worries that are going on in our heads, day in and day out, could be changed by embracing this simple motto of choosing to live like you are dying. After all, would you stay in the job you hate or the relationship that makes you miserable if you thought your life would end in the next year? Hell no! You’d be out doing things that make you happy and you certainly wouldn’t be worrying about what dress size you were either!