In January 2016, aged just 30 years old, I was diagnosed with non-genetic stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. At the time of diagnosis my cancer was terminal.
Suddenly, everything I had identified as ‘me’ came to a stand still. In one moment, after months of pain, tests and assurances that it was “nothing to worry about”, my instinct had proved right and my worst fears had been realised.
Yet, just seven months later I was in remission, and healthier than I’d ever been before.
Life before cancer had seen me working as an award winning researcher specialising in health and healthcare. So, using my expertise as a researcher I dedicated my time to understanding everything I could about my diagnosis and subsequent prognosis. I was not prepared to be a statistic. I was not prepared to die. I was going to be the change.
In the months that followed, understanding my diagnosis, recovery and health became my full time job. The more I researched, the more I uncovered about the possible causes of cancer. I began to realise that whilst I appeared ‘healthy’ there was still much repairing to be done to remove the life-sucking ‘crap’ I’d accumulated over the years…a previous abusive relationship; personal traumas; a stressful job; societal pressure; excessive and damaging exercise routines…the list goes on…
So, knowing I needed to do some deep inner work, I gave myself permission to dedicate my time to my health and recovery.
Not a single stone was left unturned as I examined every aspect of my life and, guided by my instinct, I began to make changes.
And do you know what? Wonderful things started to happen.
Just 12 weeks after being told my cancer was inoperable because, not only had it spread throughout the organs in my abdominal cavity but also into my chest cavity, I was approved for surgery. Cancer was no longer evident on my lungs. In fact, the scans weren’t showing any visible signs of cancer anywhere in my body. Amazing huh?!
So, in May 2016 I underwent a 12-hour operation during which they removed my cervix, womb, tubes, ovaries, appendix, spleen, ommentum, part of my liver, part of my bowel (I now have a colostomy bag), part of my pancreas and part of my diaphragm. It was the most radical operation the surgical team had ever performed in one sitting on a patient with stage four cancer.
I’m not going to lie, the weeks that followed were torture. However, just eight weeks after my operation I was on no painkillers, walking 2 miles a day and loving life!
My incredible healing didn’t stop there. Just twelve weeks after this major surgery I began training as a yoga instructor and went on to launch my own yoga business and I knew I was different. I knew something magical was happening inside of my body that was allowing me to live a full and happy life despite my diagnosis.
In August 2016 I was told that my cancer was in remission. Just seven months after being told I had stage four, inoperable cancer I was completely free of the disease. I wasn’t living with cancer anymore. I was surviving and I was THRIVING!
I knew then that I had to share with others what I had done to change my life, the wonderful lessons cancer had brought me and why I am grateful and give thanks for my diagnosis every single day that I’m alive to tell my story.
Since then my cancer has recurred (December 2017). This time it caused a collapsed lung. I was told that without further chemo that my lung woul keep filling with fluid and I would, inevitably, die. However, I was emotionally and mentally stronger than I had been when I was first diagnosed and I was more in tune with my body and what it needed. So, despite advise, I turned down having my lung filled with talc to ‘help it’ and I turned down chemotherapy.
Instead I took the time I needed to recover, heal and become whole again with the support of a range of alternative therapies. I also used western medicine in the form of a privately sourced drug called Avastin – this cost over £2000 per month and was only possible through generous donations from friends, family and my amazing readers. Thank you!
I had been served another life lesson and I was paying attention. I stood by my values and beliefs and did what felt right for ‘me’. The universe supported this and my disease stabilised. My cancer markers even dropped 70% ….without any chemo!
From July until September 2018 I was given another ‘curve ball’ when I had months of constant vomiting. Various tests (including a frightening brain scan) could not find the cause as I grew increasingly weak. I lost two stone in weight from my already small frame and spent a week in hospital kept alive by a drip, unable to even stomach water.
Then miraculously…literally over night…the vomiting stopped after I saw an energy healer who told me they had removed a ‘wayward spirit’ from my body.
During this time I became the first U.K. patient to start a drug trial* for recurrent non BRCA ovarian cancer. I continue to be on this trial supported by acupuncture, reiki, body stress release therapy, shamanism, energy healing, yoga, nature, massage, swimming, diet…and so much helps more!
My journey isn’t easy but I wouldn’t change a single moment of the bad because it not only makes me value the good but it has made me into the person I am and I love the person cancer made me – she’s a mother fucking warrior!
We all face adversity. Each and every day brings new challenges and sometime despair. But life is a gift and an adventure waiting to be embraced and enjoyed. It is possible to live a fulfilling and grateful life through adversity. At any given moment we can decide ‘this is not how my story ends’ and begin to rewrite our story.
Cancer taught me how to live a deep and fulfilling life. Rather that making me fear death, it taught me how to love life and how to live each day full of joy and laughter. I want to share with you how cancer has healed my life; the wonderful lessons it has brought me; and why I am grateful and give thanks for my diagnosis every single day that I’m alive to tell my story.
My book and articles are a guide for everyone, not just those with cancer, who wants to embrace a healthier and self-caring approach to their life. Let them guide you to explore how you too can embrace a life with complete physical, mental and emotional health. May my words bring you hope, peace and, above all, joy.
Love and light to all xxx
* I started the Mediola Phase I/II Study immunotherapy trail on 4.9.18. The drugs I currently take are :- Durvalumab through IV every 4 weeks; Avastin through IV every 2 weeks; and Olaparib as tablets twice daily. Please note, I am not able to put you in touch with the study leads under any circumstances. Instead please speak directly with your own oncologist. Thank you. I wish you all healing.
Copyright © 2016-2018 Fi Munro PhD. All Rights Reserved.