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health

Update – things got shitter!

On Friday I woke up at 2am vomiting.

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No, not ‘feeling like I needed to vomit’.

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…I actually woke up mid vomit.

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I didn’t even think that was possible.

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An all time cancer low!

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By the afternoon if reached at all time low.

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Vomiting faeces.

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I was readmitted to hospital.

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I’m still here.

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Enough said.

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I don’t remember reading about this in the stage four cancer manual – I’d definitely have opted out 🤷‍♀️🙈🤣

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How am I today?

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I’m feeling a lot more ‘with it’ (not feeling ‘better’…I’m just more alert) after 5 bags of fluid…so not completely dehydrated and spacey now…progress!

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Not vomited again…thank fuck for that!…OFT I don’t want a repeat of that type of vomiting EVER!

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They’ve stopped my drip and syringe driver.

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I attempter sips of water and a smoothie…but struggling (a lot!) with nausea.

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No plans for going home yet but that’s ok…I know I am exactly where I need to be right now.

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I’ve stopped my pain meds – when I was admitted I asked for them not to be put in my syringe driver – because they a. make me sick and b. put my bowel to sleep…not a good combo.

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They are there in injection form if I need them – but so far I haven’t.

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I had only started them last week. I don’t normally take any pain meds at all.

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My darlings please appreciate your precious day…waking up this morning, being alive is a gift, don’t take it for granted, tell someone you love them, smile at the sun, laugh, count your blessings and find something to be grateful for…there is always something! Always!

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Today I am grateful for all that holds me, for another day, for the loves in my life, for the breath I just took…basically…just for this day and for being alive to witness it.

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Namaste lovelies xxx

health

Cancer Update – Warning: it’s a bit of a shitter

CANCER UPDATE
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I was admitted to hospital on Monday after four days of excruciating pain – taking oxycoden hourly when I don’t normally take any pain relief ever!
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By the time I was admitted I was also vomiting and unable to eat.
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I had a scan, expecting any news to ‘just’ be about my bowel…but the cancer had other plans.
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Both my lungs are partially collapsed with fluid.
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I have 8+ liver tumours – I had only 1 six weeks ago. This 1 has doubled in size and brought some pals!
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I have cancer in the lymph nodes in my abdomen and around my heart.
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My small bowel is 7cm in diameter instead of a healthy 1cm!
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Basically, in short, the cancer is having a good old knees up in my body!
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So, what are my options?
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Option 1. Do nothing except for end of life care.
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Option 2. Try paclotaxol chemo weekly starting next week. This is the super harsh chemo that I had 4 years ago – hair loss, bone ache, jaw ache, exhaustion, vomiting on myself…you know the drill…
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I’ve always said I chose quality over quantity.
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However, I have chosen to try the chemo.
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Why?
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Because I want more time with my family AND it is really important to me that I publish my random act of kindness book (the story of all of the random acts of kindness I’ve done).
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Oddly, this is not the book I submitted to HayHouse – it’s funny how death puts things into perspective!
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So my focus now is 100% on my nearest and dearest and on this book.
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Nothing more. Nothing less.
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My boundaries have just intensified! 🤣🥰
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Actually I don’t even care if the book gets published or not…but I DO want to write it for my niece and nephews.
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Legacy is how we live fever.
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How do I feel?
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Calm
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Grateful.
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Supported.
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Loved.
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Exhausted.
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Namaste xxx

health

Surrendering to What Is

I did not get the Hay House deal I so craved.
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I found out today.
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I tried.
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Three times my loves.
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Three times.
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But it is not, as yet anyway, meant to be.
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Will I still write the book?
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Yes. 100% yes. I know it needs to be in the world…the means of her birth is irrelevant. All that matters is that she IS birthed.
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That is my only role.
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My calling.
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Lockdown has served my writing well.
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I have gone so deep within myself and learnt so much.
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I’ve healed things I didn’t think possible to heal.
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I’ve changed and yet remain unchanged all the same.
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Because really I have simply uncovered and rediscovered what was always there, waiting for the right moment to appear.
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All this will be woven into the words I will write.
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The resulting book will be very different because of the time I spent inside of my home and inside of myself.
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Sometimes (oftentimes) when things are hard or unexpected or disappointing I’ve learnt it is because the universe had other plans for me.
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A different path.
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A different story.
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I just need to surrender.
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To let go and to accept the path I am actually on (not the one I thought I ‘should’ be).
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Meanwhile, I am being held by the birds and the trees (and by my dear Ewan too of course!), knowing that all is working out in a divine plan and all is well.
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With love dear ones xxx

health

Thriving with ‘Terminal’ Cancer

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 f.k.munro@hotmail.com

Thank you so much!

Mistletoe treatment number four 20.05.20

Article below…

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!

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Abdominal drains 2017
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January 2020

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!

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Birthday beach adventures
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London with husband, Ewan, February 2020
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Fi and Ewan Christmas 2019
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Bodyboarding 2019

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!

original article here

health

Starting Mistletoe Therapy

Hello dear ones
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Just a quick update…this week I started mistletoe therapy at Camphill Medical Centre in Aberdeen. I have chosen to have the intensive course which will mean two IV infusions a week for three weeks, after which I will be self injecting at home.
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It’s a magical place here in Camphill Wellbeing Trust.
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The grounds are filled with alpaca, lambs and chickens!…and so many trees!
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Today’s mistletoe infusion comes from an ash tree…so I’m using my shamanic training to connect with all that ash holds and heals 👏🏻🙌🏻💫
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I am feeling so grateful for the healing power of nature, the incredible team here in Aberdeen and for my oncologist’s support.
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This feels like a very special and healing time and a step in the right direction on my healing path.
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I have made the decision to stop my chemotherapy. However, I do have the option to have the remaining two doses at a later date if I change my mind.
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I’m continuing with a range of herbs, supplements and medicinal mushrooms supported by a team of exceptional practitioners including Dr Nasha Winters (Naturopathic Oncologist), Dr Kate James (Integrative Dr) and Wendy Dooner (Dundee Herbal Clinic).
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I have also had to radically change my diet due to my bowel obstruction but I love to cook and experiment and I am definitely managing to keep my nutrition at the same level as before…seriously I should write a book about food!
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I am also working with a BodyTalk practitioner (Roberta Webber) who I have worked with on and off over the past few years and I am always blown away by the impact she has on my body and it’s healing potential.
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Of course I am continuing to do all my usual practices of meditating, journaling, yoga, long walks, infrared saunas, connection with trees, shamanic work, breathwork and, above all, enjoying life…as the video shows me on my birthday tree swing!
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And, as ever, I continue to be supported by my exceptional oncologist and incredible medical team 🙌🏻💫🥰
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I am continuing to fundraise money to support my health and healing.
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The intensive mistletoe therapy is costing around £2500 followed by around £200 per month.
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Herbs, supplements and mushrooms cost around £200-300 per month.
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BodyTalk has cost me £240 this month.
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And there is, of course, practitioner consultation fees across the board on top of this.
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My weekly food bill is through the roof as I adapt to this new diet 🙈
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There are also other options I am exploring just now and I will share these once I have done enough research to do so.
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As ever I do not recommend any of the steps I take – it’s important that you work with a professional (or, better yet, a team of professionals) and your own intuition. My cancer is not your cancer and my healing path is not your healing path. I do not believe we can offer advice to others, please refrain from doing so.
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If you would like to help support my health and healing you can donate via GoFundMe or Paypal. Thank you!
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I feel remarkably well considering how frighteningly sick I was two weeks ago when I spent a week in hospital. I feel unbelievably grateful every day I wake up. There is hope in the wake of the storm and I am feeling embraced by it.
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With love and gratitude, Fi xx
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PayPal – f.k.munro@hotmail.com
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GoFundMe – https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-fi-to-heal-from-stage-four-ovarian-cancer

health, holistic health, ovarian cancer

Carol Bareham 22.12.1972 – 01.04.2020

As many of you are already aware, my dear friend, my ‘cancer bestie’ as I liked to call her, passed away on 1st April this year.

Like me, Carol lived with late stage ovarian cancer, being diagnosed just 4 months before me.

In the year leading up to her death we talked almost every day about life, death and love. In many of those chats Carol would remind me that when she died (always convinced that she would die before me and no wonder with the treatment options in Northern Ireland being far inferior to those available to me in Scotland) that I was to write ‘an epic blog post’. No pressure Carol!

However, despite writing being one of my most utilised healing tools I have found it impossible to write this post for her until now, 6 weeks after her death. The reason? Writing it means that she is actually gone. Writing it is the final goodbye, the ‘closure’ I have been avoiding. Writing it means that I really don’t get to see my friend again and that reality has just been too hard to face.
Almost every day, I find myself having conversations with her in my head,  desperately seeking the advice and guidance she offered me over the past four years of friendship, unable to believe that she is actually gone.
However, despite my avoidance, I could imagine, only too well, Carol telling me to get a grip of myself and write the bloody thing already so, here goes. Carol, this is for you. I’ll love you for always.
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Carol and I didn’t meet in ‘normal’ circumstances. In fact we first ‘met’ over the internet on 8th May 2016 . This was an auspicious date. It is World Ovarian Cancer Day and it was also the day before I had major surgery to remove multiple organs from my cancer ridden body.
Carol wrote a comment on my blog that day which read Good luck tomorrow…I had the op in January after 4 chemos too and I am pleased to report all went well and I recovered from it well. Having 2 further chemos after the op, well that is another story! I hope it is a big success and will be keeping everything crossed for you. Have just discovered your blog and have been hooked on it all day…have experienced very similar thoughts and feelings, you have a lovely way of saying what many of us cancer patients are feeling. Will be awaiting your next post now post op! Carol xxx”
People comment on my blog and send me messages and emails all the time. I mean I literally get hundreds of private messages every week and yet this one, from Carol, stood out for me and, to this day, I have no idea why but I am so glad that it did. This simple message became the start of one of my most valued friendships and just goes to show we really never know what a simple act of kindness will lead to.
Over the months that followed Carol and I would often exchange weekly messages. Over time we exchanged phone numbers and began texting each other on a more regular basis. While I had no one in Scotland who I could talk to about living with late stage ovarian cancer, I had found in Carol someone who I could share everything with. She just ‘got it’. Every thought, worry, hope, fear, anxiety, pain, horrible embarrassing experience cancer had brought me, Carol had seen and experienced too. There is nothing quite like a friendship build on the common ground of literally shitting yourself through chemotherapy!
However, despite regular messaging, it wasn’t until two years later that we first finally met in April 2018 when Carol and her family were visiting Scotland from their home in Northern Ireland. Despite having planned a lovely ‘normal’ get together my cancer had other plans and I ended up in hospital for the entire time Carol was over. Despite this she still visited me and it was pure joy to finally put a face to the name I had been messaging and sharing ‘everything’ with over the previous two years.
Then, a whole year later, in April 2019 I visited Carol in her hometown in Northern Ireland as part of my book tour for my second book‘How Long Have I Got?’
During this trip I was finally able to meet Carol’s incredible family and friends, including the group of ‘Northern Ireland Ovarian Cancer Ladies’ that she had established. I have never been made to feel so welcome and supported.
Another year of messaging passed during which Carol’s health started to decline more rapidly than my own. She had stopped chemotherapy; her body, mind and spirit having now had enough and she was now doing her best to enjoy her life as best she could despite cancer. However, it wasn’t until winter 2019/20 that I finally started to accept (as best as one can accept) that I was going to lose my dear friend.
At the time my own health was declining rapidly and so began a daily discussion, peppered with the darkest of humour and jokes that only two terminal cancer patients could share and get away with, of who was fairing worse off. This shared dark sense of humour and a willingness not to shy away from the hard times is one of the reasons I will always love Carol so much.
One of the most powerful things about going through this cancer experience together was that we were able to have completely honest and frank discussions. Neither of us ever avoided discussing the reality of either of our situations. And neither of us ever pretended things were any easier than they actually were. I didn’t pretend that Carol wasn’t getting sicker and likewise she offered me the same courtesy. This is a rare and beautiful gift, as hard as it may seem, because it meant that we were able to have conversations that may have otherwise been avoided.
For instance, once Carol had transitioned from her home to a local hospice and I had finally accepted that Carol was going to die, instead of pretending otherwise, I messaged her one day and said “I am either coming to your funeral or coming to see you now. Which would you prefer?” this was in response to her telling me repeatedly not to come and see her. I knew, however that this wasn’t because she didn’t want to see me but because, like many of us, she didn’t want to accept the love that I would be offering in the act of traveling from Scotland to Northern Ireland just for her. She replied almost instantly, “come now”. And so, I found myself sitting at my kitchen table, at 5.30am the following day making plans to go to Northern Ireland to visit her.

The earliest I could go was two weeks later due to a number of hospital appointments that I already had scheduled. During these two weeks our connection and friendship grew stronger. She knew that I was dropping everything that I could to come and see her and she accepted that love and connection. Similarly, I knew how important this time was for her and her loved ones, and I accepted the love and deep honour it was to be a part of this precious time. And I mean honour. So many of us shy away from facing the hardest moments in life like tragedy, grief and death but, I’ve found through my own personal experiences, that it’s in these moments that the greatest opportunity for connection truly lies and that is an honour, and a gift.

During this time some of my other friends would message me to ask how Carol was doing. Many would reflect on how sad it must be for her to be dying. I knew a different truth, however. Carol wasn’t sad. She was ready. Over the previous few months she and I had discussed frequently how she was done with the suffering her illness was causing her. She had taken time to connect with and love her family and friends and she was now ready to release the pain. It was because of this that I didn’t feel sadness about her dying. I felt loss yes and I felt pain, deep pain, but they were my pain, my loss, my imminent suffering, they weren’t Carol’s.

Her messages during this time and, indeed, her conversations when I visited her were all about how happy she felt about the life she had lived and how calm she felt about the death she now faced. I remember having a similar experience with my friend Ali before she died from the same disease. Our final conversations weren’t filled with fear, they were filled with love and acceptance. This, I’ve realised is a gift that the dying can offer the living; to show peace in the face of death. In exchange and recognition of this, the living can offer the dying a gift too. We can choose to show up at this time. To be there, in whatever way they need us. To express love and gratitude for the time we shared together. And, above all, to not avoid their death and our grief because it is too hard for us but, instead, to recognise that grief is often an unavoidable expression of love.

I’ll never forget the journey across to Northern Ireland to see Carol. The weather was wild to say the least. The boat rolled from side to side and up and down as many of the passengers took to lying down in a desperate attempt to avoid sea sickness. I have never been so grateful for a childhood brought up on boats in the Channel Islands!

When we arrived, after a stop for some much-needed food, Ewan drove me straight to the hospice. I wanted to see Carol straight away. I’d waited two weeks and I wasn’t waiting a minute longer. He dropped me off at the door, driving away to check into our hotel. This is what I’d asked for. I wanted to see her on my own first. I wanted time for the two of us to connect. Part of this was about my needs, but part of this was also about protecting Ewan. Carol’s diagnosis is the same as mine and, as a result, our stories have often mirrored one another’s. Ewan knows this and I could see the fear in his eyes about what her now being in a hospice meant for me and, ultimately, what it meant for him. Despite the open honesty in our household about my death and, indeed, about everyone’s certain death, I still wanted to protect him from it being so tangible. It turns out, however, there was no need. When death is faced with love, in the way Carol taught us both to do, it can actually be a really beautiful thing.

I walked into Carol’s room with no idea what to expect. We hadn’t seen each other face to face for a year and for at least half of that time she hadn’t allowed any photos. But I needn’t have worried. I was greeted by the same smiling and vivacious woman I loved and remembered. Without a second’s hesitation she had wrapped her arms around me in a hug, despite her pain and multiple medical attachments, and was asking me to get into bed beside her for a proper chat. I, of course, obliged.

As I lay there with her laughing and sharing stories with one of her other friends who was also there, sitting in a chair beside her bed, I began to reflect on the beauty of this connection. Here we were, three women, all of us living with a terminal diagnosis of ovarian cancer, two of us currently receiving chemotherapy and one of us dying from the disease and yet there was not one ounce of sadness in that room. There was only joy. How often could I say the same of other encounters in my life?

While in Northern Ireland I’d spent my mornings with Ewan walking our dog Ozzy, before spending the afternoons and early evenings with Carol at the hospice. We spent most of our time together sharing stories and laughing. Carol had even managed to plan a short 80s themed party in her honour at which all of the people in her life were able to come along to; many of them to say their final farewells. It wasn’t a sad affair, however. Instead it was one filled with music, food, celebration and fancy dress. Above all, it was filled with love. This wasn’t a woman mourning her premature death, it was a woman celebrating her incredible life. As I stood back and observed all of these people coming to see her, dressed in full 80s fashion no less, I couldn’t help but think of my own death and how what I was witnessing would be exactly what I wanted for myself – love, laughter, music and, of course, fancy dress.

The following day I knew I would have to say my own goodbye to Carol. We didn’t have the 80s costumes, or the party to hide behind. We were having to face this head on, in full recognition of the fact that we would never see each other again. I spent the afternoon with her, as I had done over the previous days. We were joined by one of her best friends, whom had welcomed my presence with such warmth despite it, undoubtably, encroaching on their precious time together. During this time we recorded a podcast together. This was something that Carol wanted to do to not only dispel some of the fears around being in a hospice, but also to share some of the lessons she had learnt about life and death. Unsurprisingly, most of what she talked about was love.

We both put off the moment when I would have to leave. “Just ten more minutes” became a frequent and then desperate phrase until, eventually, there was no choice but to say goodbye knowing that we would never see each other again.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

As I drove away, my heart broken, tears streaming down my face, I reflected on how often I take for granted that I will see someone again. You see, while I knew I wouldn’t see Carol again, I never know I ‘will’ see anyone else in my life again. I reflected on myself saying goodbye in a rush to those I love; dashing away, not always lingering to hear my loved one’s words, to hold them a little longer, to entwine our fingers, to kiss their cheek, to hold them close for just one more second. All these things I did with Carol instinctively as I fought back the inevitable, love filled, tears from cascading down my cheeks until I left the room, not wanting her last image of me to be one of sadness but, instead, one of love and joy.

In one of the last messages I sent to Carol after I had returned back to Scotland, I asked her “but how will I do any of this without you?” “Simple,” she replied, “You will love harder like I have taught you just as you make every day good like Ali (my other friend who died from ovarian cancer) taught you and you will keep living your life every single day as best you can for as long as you can.”

As I reflected on this and the legacies that her and Ali had gifted me through our friendships, I wanted to know what my own legacy would be. What message would I leave for the people I left behind and those that came after me? I realised then that there was no better phrase than “never at the expense of joy”. If I were to leave any kind of impression on the hearts of those I love and who love me then please let it be that.

This brings me to the final and lasting lesson and legacy that Carol left me and all those who love her: LOVE HARDER.

Perhaps it’s that simple. Perhaps it’s not about always thinking that you may never see a loved one again. After all, that does feel more than a little depressing. Perhaps, instead, it’s just about loving them harder.

What does loving harder look like?

For me it’s about looking someone in the eye when they speak to me, rather than looking at my phone. It’s about always valuing my time together with loved ones as sacred, fleeting and precious. It’s about listening when they talk. It’s about asking about the things that matter to them and caring about the response. It’s about making memories, laughing and experiencing joy but also about being there in times of need and support. It’s about not being afraid to show your vulnerability when times are tough and also not being afraid to show your awesomeness when times are great.

I don’t always get it right. Far from it. I’ll sometimes sit scrolling through my phone replying to messages rather than cuddling into Ewan on the sofa. Or I’ll get distracted when someone I love is talking and miss the important part of their story. But I catch myself now and I call myself out for it. I’ll pause and ask myself “Is this how I want to live my life? Is this how I want to be remembered? Is that what Carol would have done” And then I’ll make different choices the next time. Ultimately that’s all any of us can do; take little steps, day by day to love harder, to connect more deeply and to choose to spend our time with those that matter most to us. Anything else, over time, ultimately costs us our joy.

This is what Carol taught me above all else and it’s the lesson I will carry in my heart until the day I take my own last breath. May this lesson be a gift to you too, even if you never had the honour of meeting Carol for yourself.
With love for Carol and all those who love her always, Fi xx
I’m sorry Carol. This post isn’t as ‘epic’ as you might have hoped because how can I put into words what you truly mean to me, the lessons you taught me or the fact that I will always carry you in my heart every single day that I am alive and able to do so.
I may not have known you through your school years, never had the opportunity to work with you, to go to the pub with you, to have adventures or holidays or build wild and fun memories together but what we had was something entirely different from these types of friendships. What we had was a deep understanding of each other’s pains and fears, of our daily struggles and what it feels like to live with late stage cancer every single day year in and year out knowing that one day it will cause so much inevitable pain to those that we love.
What you gave me, dear Carol, is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. You gave me true, unconditional love and friendship that enabled me to be seen in all of my darkness as well as my light, without fear of judgment.
I am so grateful that cancer brought us together and so sad that it tore us apart. While this blog post may not have been what you hoped for (it’s a lot of pressure writing for a dead person you know!) I want you to know that when I publish my next book it will be dedicated to you my lovely so that everyone will know what an incredible woman you were and continue to be in the hearts of those who love you.
May your name and all that you stood for continue to shine bright for many years to come and, in your memory, may we all remember to tell the women in our lives to be hyper aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I know that you, like me, had only one wish following your diagnosis – if we can’t be saved then at least let our diagnosis save the lives of other women.
So please, dear readers, share the following symptoms with the women in your lives. There is no screening test for ovarian cancer (no, smear tests do not test for it!) The only way to find out if you have it is to know the symptoms and see your GP if you have two or more of them for two or more weeks.
Please do not ignore any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer is curable…only late stage diagnosis is not.
THINK TEAL
T – toilet habit changes
E – energy levels dropping
A – abdominal pain and/or swelling
L – loss of appetite and/or weight
Carol and I also both experienced shoulder pain prior to diagnosis and I always start to get migraines when my cancer is spreading.
Know your body.
Don’t be embarrassed.
See your GP.
If you don’t do it for you or for me then, please, do it in loving memory of Carol Barenham.
With love and gratitude always, Fi Munro xxx
health

Turning 35 – What a Gift

On Monday it’s my birthday (and also Star Wars day!). I’ll be 35 years old and I couldn’t be more grateful to be alive.

There were many days over the past 4.5 years since my diagnosis where I didn’t think I’d make today…and yet here I am!…despite stage four cancer, multiple organ removal, my lung collapsing three times, a recent bowel obstruction, plural effusions (fluid on my lung), tumours in my lung, liver, abdomen, around my heart, multiple operations, my heart stopping in theatre, internal bleeding, sepsis, multiple blood transfusions, countless weeks/months in hospital…have I missed anything?! 🙈 …I’m still here!

To say it’s a miracle…or multiple miracles…that I am not only still alive but that I am as well as I am would be a massive understatement!

While so many people worry about getting old I feel immense gratitude…bring on the wrinkles and old age…what a gift and an honour they will be if I am privileged enough to earn them!

But, right now I am coming to the end of my NHS treatment and, with multiple tumours still in my lung, liver and around my heart AND a bowel obstruction, I am having to do everything I can to support my body to keep living!

To do this I am working with an incredible, multidisciplinary team including;

My NHS oncologist and medical team
A naturopathic oncologist – Dr Nasha Winters
A medicinal herbalist – Wendy Dooner
An integrative oncologist – Dr Kate James

A body talk practitioner
An EMDR therapist

I take A LOT of herbs and supplements and medicinal mushrooms. Note: I don’t recommend or detail my regime to others as all of our bodies are different and it’s important you seek guidance from a professional (not from me and certainly not from Dr Google either!)

I am also in the process of starting mistletoe therapy with Dr Geider (all going well)…which is being supported and reviewed by two private drs, as well as by my oncologist as it’s really important that this is done safely and with my blood work being monitored closely.

I am a HUGE believer in working with a wide team and also in my team working together. I am so lucky that I have such an incredible and skilled team with literally over 100 years collective experience in working with people with cancer! They are amazing!

It is my belief that sickness and dis-ease aren’t caused by a single agent and neither are they repaired by just one. I work with many aspects of my health…it’s a full time job but one I’m willing to do so that I can stay alive and continue to share my story with you fabulous people who support me each and every day. Thank you!

I want to show that there is another way to living with a ‘terminal’ medical condition and it doesn’t have to all be doom and gloom…it can be absolutely incredible and filled with hope too!

In addition I, of course, do a lot of spiritual work through my shamanic and yoga training and experience and I exercise daily. Oh, and I use an infrared sauna blanket every day…it’s bliss! I believe the sauna blanket (and yoga and meditation) are the reason I never need to take any pain relief, not even paracetamol. Except when I’m in hospital…where the pump me full of opiates (you know when my posts get ‘really! Interesting! 🤭) and then I spend the next week or so detoxing then stuff!

Food and nutrition is fundamental to me too and, I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard with three food allergies (gluten, dairy and soya) AND now a bowel obstruction meaning I am restricted to a liquid/low residue diet…but I am on a mission to keep my body full of what goodness I can!..it’s a new learning curve for me and one I am using lock down to embrace fully…there is A LOT of experimental cooking happening in our house but I am feeling well nourished…I’m beginning to wonder if I’m meant to write a cookery book afterall?! 🤔

I continue to fundraise for money to support the payment of all of my treatment options. The money is mainly used on herbs, supplements and dr/practitioner fees and, most recently, will be used on mistletoe therapy 🤞🏻💫

I am so grateful for all of your donations and support. Without you my options would be so much more limited. Thank you for helping to keep me alive. Seriously! 🥳

Anyway…I’ve made the decision that for the month of May I am going to restrict how much I am online. I want to embrace lock down as much as I can – I’m a big believer in surrendering to any given situation and looking for the lesson and the blessing! I believe this is an important time for me to go inward and really focus on my healing so that I can come back stronger and healthier.

I will be spending my time meditating, connecting with nature, starting my mistletoe treatments, allowing my body to rest and recover, detoxing, finishing my chemotherapy, finding the joy, healing AND, of course, making some fabulous memories with my smashing hubby Ewan.

Undoubtably I will be writing lots too!

In the meantime I am sending you all lots of love and gratitude.

Stay safe and I will be back in June with new stories, insights and adventures.

Lots of love, Fi xx

Ps. If you would like to donate to my GoFundMe you can do so here, thank you:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-fi-to-heal-from-stage-four-ovarian-cancer

Or you can make a donation via PayPal using f.k.munro@hotmail.com

Thank you! Not a penny goes to waste!xxx

health

Cancer Update – Blood Results

I got some cancer news last week…
.
I got my cancer marker (CA125) results back via email today.
.
They only decreased by 6.4%.
.
This is the worst response to chemo I’ve had between cycles…ever!
.
Interesting that it’s during exactly the same time I’ve been in lock down and disconnected from everyone and in a state of inevitably higher stress/anxiety. The later being a known factor to exacerbate cancer growth.
.
I am upset about results. Chemo makes me feel like shit and I only do it for it to have an effect on my cancer….which these results show it isn’t really.
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While it is showing ‘some’ effect it is very little and I am concerned it is indicating my cancer is becoming none responsive to chemo. This would be shit as there are no other options…and I only have two more doses left available to me. Shit all round 😔
.
We will only have to wait and see what the next results are in three weeks time.
.
But I am sad and disheartened.
.
I’ll focus on how I feel though…which is relatively well, considering how many tumours I have and where they are…right lung, liver, around heart and next to right kidney…
.
For that I’m grateful (not for the tumours 🙈 I mean for how well I feel considering the tumours… 🙌🏻).
.
I’ve shared a graph of my cancer markers results from 6 weeks pre diagnosis until now…for the visually minded. Below 30 is ‘healthy range’. I’m sitting 100 above that just now.
.
A common misconception in ovarian cancer is that the higher the number the worst the amount of cancer…this is not true…the actual indicator is how quickly the number rises (cancer growth) and falls (cancer shrinkage). You can be stage one and have a number over 1000 and stage four and have a number below 300 for instance.
.
I continue to explore other options, however, given the current global situation many of these are ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’…if this is something you are able and willing to support please donate. Thank you.xx
.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-fi-to-heal-from-stage-four-ovarian-cancer

health

The Little Things

My brother in law is one of the amazing people working front line. Today he is also delivering us essential supplies as we are social shielding (I’m on chemo for late stage cancer, high dose steroids and no spleen).

I had chemo a few days ago and I’m feeling slightly worse for wear (understatement!) so it was the loveliest surprise that today he brought my niece with him and we had a quick hello through the widow!

I could cry from joy! 💜💙💜

It’s the little things in life that matter!…love, connection, joy, family, friends….all those things I certainly thought would always be there without question…now I’m 3 weeks into lock down and a minimum of 12 weeks to go…these stollen moments are what keep me going.

I’m so grateful for today and so hopeful for the day I can open my arms and have my niece (and her three crazy brothers!) run into them again.

If this situation teaches me nothing else, I hope I never take those moments for granted again.

This is what I live for.

Stays safe my lovelies 🥰😍🥰

health

Be Thankful

Be thankful

If you are worried about how many arguments you and your partner will have over the tv remote (or any other mundane ‘discussion’).

Be thankful

There are many people suddenly finding themselves confided to a house with an abusive partner.

If you are worried about entertaining your children 24/7.

Be thankful

Our education system was doing a fantastic and often thankless job before.

If you are worried about not having enough food.

Be thankful

There are people around the world literally starving this very second.

If you are worried about not seeing your friends or loved ones.

Be thankful

Thousands of old and vulnerable people in our country have lived in isolation for years, while we are being asked to do it for mere weeks.

If you are suddenly worried about your health.

Be thankful

Many people in our country live in fear of their terminal or life limiting condition every day.

Be thankful.

For this day.

For the time with your loved ones.

For the time to slow down.

For the time to connect.

For the stillness.

For the quiet.

For the contemplation.

Yes we have all suddenly been plunged into uncertainty, into a situation we have never faced before, but there is so much to be thankful for.

While many people in our world have faced wars, starvation, extreme poverty, homelessness, abuse and more, we are being asked to spend time at home with our loved ones (who we chose to live with).

We have an abundance of technology that connects us.

We have books, music, film and games.

We have nature.

We have love.

We have food.

We have shelter.

We have each other.

We have life.

Be thankful.

Be thankful.

Be thankful.