health

I Didn’t Know Before

I’m sorry…I didn’t know before what it was like….

To love someone and watch them be diagnosed with incurable cancer.

I have, of course, felt the pain of being diagnosed myself.

I’ve managed the emotions of others as I tell them good news and bad…the highs and the lows…always underpinned by the fact that I’ll never be cured…that my cancer is terminal…that treatment is just ‘buying us precious time together’.

I often suspected it was worse for them than it was for me….the ones who were watching…the ones who love me…the ones who would be left behind…afterwards…

When I felt pain; when I was sick; when I couldn’t get out of bed; when I was in a wheelchair; when I was kept alive by a drip…at least I knew how I felt, at least I knew what I needed…they, however, just had to watch…they just had to hope that their words were enough while they lived with the fact that they could never take it away from me; the pain; the illness; the suffering…no matter how much they wanted to.

For the past 3.5 years it is mainly those who love someone with cancer that message me…asking for advice, for hope, for answers, for anything I can suggest that they can do to help the person they love with cancer…

Reflecting on this, and reflecting on my own loved ones, I often thought it must be harder to watch someone you love have cancer than to have it yourself…

I often thought…

But now I know…

Now I know it’s harder.

Now I have to hold the hand of someone I love…

Now I have to be the one who would do anything to take away the pain; to make it all better; to fix them…

Now I know for sure…

I preferred it when it was just a thought…

To everyone who loves someone with cancer…now I see you…truly see you…because now I am your sister too…now I am no longer just a woman who stands with her fellow cancer warriors…now I stand with you too; now I am one of you; now I know for sure that the pain you face is harder.

I love you, Fi xx

Note: I will not be disclosing who has been diagnosed, just that I love them – it’s their story to share, not mine.

But it’s not my Ewan 🥰

Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Cuddling Ewan on our sofa.

Reflecting on everything I’m learning through this crazy journey of life.

Decluttering our home and creating more space for love.

Reading ‘when the body says no’…a great book about stress!

health

How You Spend Your Time Is How You Spend Your Life

Your time is the most precious thing you have – far more precious than money because once spent it can never be re-earned.

Yet, so often, we waste time we don’t have doing things we don’t want to do trying to impress people we don’t even like!

If you want to live your best life, chose how you spend your time carefully…don’t waste it doing things you don’t want to do, that don’t bring you joy.

Spend it doing things that make your heart sing and your soul happy.

Don’t waste it with people who bring you down, who drain you or who are toxic.

Spend it with people who lift you up, who bring out your best qualities and who energise you.

Don’t spend it doing things that are mediocre or meaningless to you.

Spend it doing things that make you feel grateful to be alive.

Above all, spend it doing things that make you want to scream ‘this is so f*cking awesome’.

Because, at the end of the day, you don’t get the day back to relive again.

Today I am feeling so grateful for relationships that bring me joy and laughter, that lift me up, that challenge me to be the best version of myself and who says ‘Fi you’ll love this [insert adventure]’ and are always sooo right!

I welcome more of this into my life…more joy, more love, more adventure and more moments when I can say…thank you thank you thank you for my health for enabling me to have all of this amazing fun while spending my precious time.

I spend my time doing things that make me happy with people that I love…do you?

Love, Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Listening to the kettle boiling.

Looking forward to some focused book writing this week.

Grateful for time with people I love.

Loving the smell of fresh flowers on my kitchen table.

Excited for Secret Cinema in London next weekend.

health

Our Pain Does Not Take Away From Our Beauty

Walking through the woods recently I spotted a brilliant tree (well, let’s be honest, aren’t they all brilliant) with wood worm eating away at one of its branches.

What struck me in that moment was that the woodworm ‘damage’ did not take away from the greatness of the tree; it did not dampen its beauty; nor reduce its strength; it did not change its power; or alter its ability to grow roots and share oxygen; it did not stop the tree from housing birds; from offering shelter; from basking in the mid afternoon sun.

No. The tree remained beautiful, powerful and able to do all that it was here to do.

The same too can be said of our bodies and our minds too.

When they, to the untrained eye, appear ‘damaged’ they are still able to do so much, they still hold so much beauty and so much strength.

We’d do ourselves, and all of humanity, a favour if we were to learn what the trees have to teach us, for they know so much about growth, renewal and life.

What ‘damage’ or ‘trauma’ in your life has led you to become more beautiful, strong and unique?

Love, Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Listening to Xavier Rudd on Spotify.

Looking forward to a mug of herbal tea in the garden.

Grateful for today.

Loving the deep and precious friendships I’ve made over the past few years.

Excited for all of the opportunities coming to me.

health

A Life Of Peace – Scan Results

This cancer ‘journey’ can be full of twists and turns and highs and lows.

Most of all, it can be full of surprises.

Recently I had the surprising news that my abdominal tumours had resolved and it ‘appeared’ that the only remaining tumours were two in my right lung. This opened up the potential for unexpected treatment options including lung surgery or SABR radiotherapy. It was exciting and terrifying and, to be honest, I wasn’t overly keen on either….I mean, my previous experience of cancer surgery was hardly ‘simple’.

However, before these treatment options could be confirmed as viable I had to have a PET scan.

Previously I had only ever had CT scans. During these you are injected with a contrast dye that is great at showing abnormalities in the body (such as tumours), but they don’t always show up everything and they also don’t show how ‘active’ the abnormalities are.

PET scans, however, work in a different way. For a PET scan you are injected with a radioactive glucose mixture. Beforehand you fast for 6 hours so that your ‘normal’ cells are forced to use other energy sources such as your fat. Cancer cells aren’t able to use other energy sources (they need glucose) and so when the mixture is injected it goes straight to any active cancer cells in the body. The radioactive part of the mixture then makes these cells ‘glow’ on the scan. It’s amazing eh?! This was helpfully explained to me by the radiographer doing the scan.

So I had my first PET scan a couple of weeks ago and then I waited, not so patiently.

Today I got the results.

I must admit, as soon as I was told I was getting the results I knew they were not going to be good news. I had this deep sinking feeling in my stomach that I’ve never had before.

‘You just want to get straight to the results don’t you?’ My oncologist asked, knowing me so well after 3.5 years of caring for me. I should highlight, again, that she is incredible. I mean I have never met another consultant so focused on person-centred care. She really is a joy and I feel so lucky. I know this isn’t the case for every cancer patient in the world.

Sorry…’just get to the point’…I’m sure you are muttering.

So the scan confirmed that yes the two lesions in my right lung are very active and growing…nothing surprising about that.

It also showed that the lesion above my heart that had been visible on the previous two CT scans is in fact active and not ‘dead’ as we had hoped. This means no lung surgery for me as it would be far too risky.

Also, it showed some activity in my lymph nodes including one under my right armpit and one in my upper abdomen. This is not good. Everyone with cancer knows that it being in your lymphatic system is more than a little shite.

And yet, still, I find myself oddly calm and at peace and here’s why…

Stay with me, things might get a little ‘woohoo’ for some…

When I bought my 1996 VW T4 Campervan recently (if you missed that news flash I have no idea how as I have posted a billion photos!…well at leats 4 or 5 haha) I wanted to give it a name.

While Ewan and I were on our test drive the name Alfonzo came to me. It sounded kinda cool and I thought to myself ‘OK, this is what the van wants to be called‘. Then, when I got home I looked up the meaning of Alfonzo and was surprised to discover that it means ‘ready for battle’.

Even better,’ I thought, ‘The perfect name for a warrior’s van.’

But then something weird happened when I was driving the van yesterday.

As you may already know I am training to be a shaman. This means that I work with the spirit of things, energy and intuition (amongst other ‘stuff’ I’ll save for a future post).

So, it wasn’t unusual for me that when I drove the van to hospital for my treatment yesterday that I got a sense that the van wanted to be called Winifred, not Alfonzo. Yes, you read that right, the van wanted it.

‘Winifred doesn’t sound anywhere near as cool as Alfonzo‘ I thought, ‘So that’s not happening.’

Well, when I left hospital the van wouldn’t start for me. I sat in that car park for over an hour trying to start it, only to have Ewan rescue me and it start first time.

OK, maybe you can be called Winifred‘ I thought.

So, here’s where it gets freaky – yes that wasn’t the freaky stuff.

When I looked up the meaning of ‘Winifred’ I was amazed to discover that it means ‘joy, peace and reconciliation’ – the exact opposite of what Alfonzo means! Crazy eh?!

Now, here’s the thing. I now think this was some kind of crazy, insight, instinct, message from the universe (call it what you will) that I just need to let go, slow down, be at peace and reconcile any pain, trauma or grief that I’ve been carrying around with me.

And that, my dear lovelies, is exactly what I’m going to do, because firstly, what is the alternative? I wallow and mope and waste the fact that, right now, I still feel surprisingly well (compared to most other stage four cancer patients, not compared to healthy people I hasten to add) and secondly, my precious instinct has served me well up until this point so who am I to ignore her wisdom now.

As I move forward through the uncertainty of living (yes LIVING) with stage four cancer, I will not fight it, I will not desperately look for ‘the magic cure’, I will not read book after book in search for the answer that may have been missed elsewhere and I will not be angry that this is happening to me (most of the time – sometimes I will shout ‘f*ck this‘ at whoever happens to be listening or in earshot).

No, instead I will use it as a catalyst to live my life, and what a beautiful life it is, filled with love and joy and adventure!…and now I will work at bringing peace and reconciliation into my life too…because it’s needed, boy o boy, is it needed!

Above all I will strive to live like I am dying, to practice what I preach and to find the good and the gratitude in each and every day because isn’t that all any of us can do in our pursuit of happiness and fulfilment; to live a life to it’s fullest and to focus on what we have rather on what we have lost?

My cancer may never my cured, but it is certainly the tool through which I am healing my life. And that feels pretty good to be honest. It’s certainly better than living the life I lived before, filled with drama, anger, stress and unfulfilment. No thank you! Life is too short for that nonsense!

Now, on a much more serious note, what on Earth am I going to name my campervan?

With love in my heart for you all for reading my words and sharing my story.

Thank you, Fi xx

Read more in my books

Visit me at one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Stay on one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Loving my precious life.

Feeling grateful to still be alive.

Sitting on our sofa wrapped in a blanket after a lovely afternoon on the beach with Ozzy.

 Waiting for Ewan to come home with a takeaway because who would cook on scan result day?

health

5 Things I Learnt After I Was Told I Was ‘Terminal’ That Can Help You To Live

You would be excused for thinking that finding out you have a ‘terminal’ medical condition would be all doom and gloom. I certainly would have believed that before I received my own diagnosis in January 2016.
But, in reality, it is a massive and joyful wake up call to start LIVING your precious life!
Recently ‘Life Death Whatever’ asked me to write #FiveThings for their online campaign that is getting people talking about life and death (and everything in between) in new and exciting ways.
These are such important life lessons that I wanted to share them with you all here too:
Write them down, print them off, read them every day and live your f*cking amazing life!

1. You can have a terminal diagnosis and still look and feel fabulous.

2. I am more alive now since my terminal diagnosis than I ever was in the 30 years before it.

3. I am a ‘Live Like You Are Dying’ enthusiast, encouraging everyone* to live each day as if it were their last and to embrace their precious life. *regardless of their current health status.

4. We are all terminal. None of us are getting out of this alive.

5. If you are still alive then there is more right with you than wrong with you.

My favourite, and the most important message of all, is number 4 – ‘we are all terminal’.

It is this message that I strive to get across when I encourage people to ‘live like you are dying.’

Because today…this precious and beautiful day…is the first day of the rest of your life…and it, quite simply, could also be your last…

So, what would you change today if you thought you might die tomorrow?

Make a change today (even a small one) and start experiencing the life changing magic of living like you are dying!

Comment with your dreams and what changes you are going to make – let’s make magic happen!

Love, Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Listening to my dog Ozzy chewing his squeaky toy (just as well I love him!)

Looking forward to a week away with Ewan next week!

Grateful for life and love and my precious breath.

Loving working on my latest book.

Excited to be spending today doing shamanic case studies as I work towards my graduation in March 2020.

health

Start Living Your Life

The great Louise Hay of Hay House was famous for her words ‘you can heal your life’ and she was so right!…but…so many people just aren’t prepared or willing to do the work…

In my spiritual work with my clients, and the work I do on myself, I see it all the time…the desperation to ‘get better’ without the willingness to learn from adversity, dis-ease, illness…

In some cases people are so desperate to hold on to the security blanket that their situation gives them that they will do anything NOT to make changes to heal aspects of themselves and their lives.

However, when you are gifted adversity (yes, gifted!) you are being called to go deeper, to uncover your true self, to find your soul calling, to embrace the spirits and to finally hear what your heart is calling out and longing for.

That shit ain’t easy but fuck me it’s so worth it!

You CAN heal your life…yes YOU! But you gotta get out there and start living it first!

You gotta listen to your heart’s song; you gotta hear what she calls out for. What is she begging you to do? What relationships need to end? What lifestyle choices need to change? What have you wanted but denied yourself of? What do you long for? What would you do today if you truly thought you would die tomorrow?

Answer these questions and you will begin to uncover how you can heal your life and, with it, your dis-ease.

Answer these questions and you will begin to hear the whispers of your heart and you will be able to finally sing her song.

Because healing your illness, your dis-ease, is meaningless if you haven’t healed your life.

What are you waiting for? You’ve got a whole life to live!

Love, Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Listening to the wind blowing through the trees and the soft chirping of birds through an open window.

Looking forward to recording some podcasts with some inspiring people late today.

Grateful for the gift of health for keeping me alive.

Loving the opportunity to connect with so many amazing people. 

Excited to meet a friend’s new baby girl over lunch today.

health

It’s Not Your Fault

“Your cancer* is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. Do not ever blame yourself or waste a single second of your beautiful life feeling guilty.”

*or any other kind of dis-ease or trauma in your life or body.

This is an important message for everyone reading this post, not just those with cancer.

One of the biggest issues with trauma recovery is self blame, hate or guilt.

So, for those moments when you feel the weight of the guilty, the blame and even the shame (and yes I’ve been there too!) please read through these important statements:

IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

YOU ARE PERFECT.

YOU ARE HEALING.

YOU GOT THIS.

I AM RIGHT HERE

BESIDE YOU, HOLDING YOUR HAND, EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

YOU ARE A MOTHERF*CKING BADASS. NEVER FORGET THAT!

Wishing you an epic day of healing and self-love.

Love, Fi xxx

—–

Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:*

Listening to a bee buzz around my head as I type this post while sitting on the decking outside our kitchen doors, soaking up the Scottish sunshine.

Looking forward to a walk on St Andrew’s beach this afternoon with my gorgeous dog Ozzy.

Grateful for this beautiful day and for the connections I made at Trew Fields Festival at the start of the month.

Loving my amazing husband.

Excited to be spending Saturday evening with one of my favourite humans.

*this idea was taken with gratitude from Slow Your Home. Check it out.

health

I’m Dancing With Cancer While Others Chose to Fight It

I have always been the maverick…the one challenging the ‘norm’ and asking all the annoying questions….you know the one…

Getting cancer certainly didn’t change that!

So, as I became increasingly aware of the media driven concept of ‘fighting’ cancer I started to ask ‘but why?’

Why would I fight my body (after all, cancer is created by my very own cells)? Why would I send hate to my body? Why would I ‘go to battle’ rather than look at the causes, the healing potential or the learning?

So if I’m not ‘fighting’ my cancer then what am I doing?

I toyed with words like ‘living’, ‘thriving’ and ‘surviving’ but they weren’t quite right…they seemed to mask the ups and downs, the ebb and flow of what it’s like to live with a terminal condition. They hid a life with cancer in a cloak of positivity and while I am indeed a positive person by nature I do not hide from the reality of my life or my emotions.

Recently I was having breakfast with a friend and she mentioned in passing about someone ‘dancing with cancer’…and there it was, the word I’d been searching for.

I could picture it so clearly, my cancer and I dancing around a large room (picture the Beauty and the Beast ballroom)…sometimes the dance was slow, sometimes it was hip hop, sometimes cancer tipped me to far back I thought I’d snap in two, only to be lifted back up and twirled in the air at the last breath, sometimes I was leading and sometimes it was spinning me endlessly. It was a beautiful symphony of two energies intwining as one to create a story of a full spectrum of emotions and experiences.

In dance there is no winner just as in life with cancer there is no winner…if I die from cancer, my cancer dies with me…it does not win.

I prefer not to fight my cancer…not because I don’t want a life without it but because I want a life without a constant battle or negativity. Instead I want a life of hope, joy, positivity, ebbs and flows

So I’m dancing with cancer while others chose to fight it…will I see you on the dance floor?

Love, Fi xx

To find out more, read my books.

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health

Our Bodies Hold Powerful Healing Potential

When we have a virus or injure ourselves we don’t, for one single second, believe that this will be our permanent state. We don’t, for example, get a cold and think ‘oh fuck, that’s it I’m going to have a cold FOREVER.’

Similarly we don’t cut our finger and think we are going to have an open wound FOREVER…can you imagine if when I had multiple organs removed I’d been like, ‘well this is it, I’m just gonna have to learn to live with an open 18 inch wound in my abdomen forever now and man I’ll have to be careful my intestines don’t fall out in the supermarket’…eh no!

What actually happened was I thought ‘How fucking amazing is it that my body can heal and recover from having multiple organs removed, still function and repair a massive 18 inch incision!’ – talk about being badass, if I do say so myself…

Incase you somehow managed to miss my moaning, I had a cold this week….honestly it’s hard to believe I live with stage four cancer on a daily basis without complaint because when I have a cold I am the worst patient ever! anyway…

In amongst having a cold I also slipped in our bathroom and hit my head on our sink which resulted in a rather spectacular egg shaped lump and a splitting headache. BUT all of this was BRILLIANT because it made me reflect on something rather magical…

When I had my cold I thought ‘this sucks, but after a few days of resting I’ll be feeling fine again’. And when I hit my head I thought the same…

So, my lovelies, I am pondering this…why do we view cancer any differently? Why do we hear the C word and suddenly doubt our bodies inate ability to heal?

It kinda seems like bullshit to me so, call me crazy but I am choosing to focus on the fact that so far my body has managed to heal from a lot of crazy shit…including breaking my nose twice, having multiple organs removed, being knocked down by a car, having both my hands trapped in a sander and needing skin grafts, numerous concussions, an ectopic pregnancy, my heart stopping and my lung collapsing (twice)…to name a few.

After surviving all of this, healing from cancer seems kinda easy…right?

What do you think?

Love, Fi xxx

health

90 Days of Discipline: How I’m Serving You By Serving Me

I’m taking a leaf out of Courtney Carver’s book (if you don’t know who she is then you gotta check her out!) and setting myself a 90 days of discipline ‘challenge’.

I put challenge in inverted commas because it’s not really a challenge…it’s a lifestyle choice and a very timely one at that.

I recently (today!) got the news that my lung lesions are growing…the wee bastards!…I mean how dare they, right? So I face a decision…do I A. Stick with an immunotherapy trial that has worked AMAZINGLY on the rest of my tumours but seems to have no affect on my lung mets? ; B. Have radiotherapy on my lungs ; C. Have surgery…another major operation ; or D. Hide in a magic cave and hope the cancer goes away…I can dream right?

So, just now, I’m right in the middle of ‘decision making mode’ and I will be until I have all the facts when I meet my amazing oncologist next week. But, one thing I know for sure is that something has gotta change in my life while I process this and while I support my body to heal…in whatever capacity that means.

I read Courtney’s blog post about this ‘challenge’ and I was instantly like “give me some of that!” and so I wrote myself a new plan…and this is it…

Remember this is for 90 days…starting on Monday 1st July 2019 and finishing Saturday 28th September 2019….eek!

1. Stick to a simple, clean diet (no sugar or processed foods):

I’ve advocated this type of diet since I was diagnosed but over the past few months this has lapsed…I have no idea why but it’s time for this sista to start practicing what she preaches again!

2. Consistent 2-3 hour morning routine including:

• writing

• walking

• yoga

• meditating

I already do this ‘most’ days but this will be an ‘every’ day approach…when I’m at festivals, when I’m on book tours, when I’m on holiday…

3. More exercise:

In addition to my morning walk and yoga, I’m adding 2-3 hours of high intensity (heart pumping) exercise each week.

This is a big change for me. While I do a lot of yoga and walking now I used to be super into long distance running and weight lifting prior to my diagnosis.

My body misses the cardio and high intensity training and I am so excited to see what I can achieve…but, I also know I have to be mindful of not pushing myself too far as I am super competitive(!!) and so I’m restricting it to 3 hours max per week.

4. Dedicated, work hours:

Being self employed often means I work around the clock. This needs to stop. My body, my mind and my spirit all need a rest. So, using Courtney’s structure I plan to approach my days in the following way (this will hopefully see me finish off my next book too!)

  • 2 hour a day of book writing
  • 1 hour a day of email/social media
  • 3 hours per day of one of the following:
  • more in-depth book writing
  • – creating (mostly blog writing or my new podcast – ‘Live Like You Are Dying’)
  • – learning (research, reading)
  • – my shaman training coursework.
  • social media (planning/creating/replying)
  • – extra self-care (getting a massage)
  • AND this I will only be doing 4 days a week. The other 3 will be blissful days off. Completely free. With no social media.

    I’m curious to see if this works for me. I have a definite ‘love-hate’ relationship with social media and I want to see if being really structure with my time helps me to show up in a way that best serves me while also best serving you!

    What I hope to achieve over the 90 days:

    • A completed manuscript of my new book all about my random acts of kindness!

    • Better cardio fitness.

    • Less distraction.

    • More creativity.

    • More clarity about my health and healing approach.

    • A better structure for serving you while still serving me.

    Over the 90 days I’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening and how the process is working out for me. If you are going to do your own 90 days then I’d love to hear from you too!

    I wish you all a fabulous weekend. The adventure starts on Monday!

    Lots of love, Fi xxx