gratitude, health, holistic health, kindness, ovarian cancer, positivity

Today I Rise Again

Today is a new day.

I rose today having felt what I was meant to feel, having seen what I was meant to see, having said what I was meant to say.

So many people ‘advised’ that I stop writing and that I focus on me. I know they meant this with the deepest kindness but writing ’is’ me focusing on me. It is my therapy, my release, my way of processing and feeling everything that is there to be felt.

I do not write for anyone else but myself – although, admittedly, it brings me so much joy to realise how my words have helped so many others.

I can’t help but wonder how different our world would be if someone had told Anne Frank to stop writing. I’m not suggesting I am anything like Anne Frank, a courageous young girl whom I have admired since first discovering her words when I myself too was only young, but I am suggesting that our stories are important, healing and essential. We must share our stories. We simply must.

I feel in a good place today, like I am emerging from something, like I am shedding an old version of myself and stepping forward into something new.

I sense change ahead, yes, but change isn’t necessarily bad and I find myself feeling a sense of excitement at this new adventure I find myself on.

I’ve been in worst places in the past four years since my diagnosis than I find myself in just now. There is, of course, one significant difference now. Now I don’t see chemotherapy as an option for me when the trial completely stops working (which it hasn’t, yet).

As I’ve written many times before, chemotherapy (and any treatment) is a very personal choice and I do not advocate for or against any options. But I do know that chemotherapy is not the right option for me. Not again. Not after 4 years ago. This is my inner guidance and I trust it profusely. Nothing and no one will ever change my mind.

So what are my options?

Just now, medically, it is to stay on the trial. It is to keep breathing in the gratitude that this wonderful cocktail of significantly less toxic drugs is doing something to slow down this disease (even if they can’t stop it completely).

But that is just the medical picture and, if I’ve learnt nothing else on this journey it is that the picture is bigger than what can and can’t be done in a hospital. There is so much more that can be done for my mind, body, spirit and soul.

So, yes, it is accurate when I say I am excited because I find myself wondering ‘what if there is another way?’

And that’s exactly what I intend to spend the next 16 weeks finding out.

Why 16 weeks? Because that is the length of time someone with ovarian cancer is on chemotherapy for…AND, more importantly, because 16 weeks today I plan to get my adventurous soul onto a plane to Bali where I plan to spend 4 weeks healing with my gorgeous husband…something that will only be possible if my lungs stay stable…so I’m excited…I have a focus, I have an aim and I have a shit load of passion.

It ain’t over and, as ever, I ain’t dead yet (motherf*ckers)

ovarian cancer

My Book is Now Available to Buy

It’s been an exciting week! I’ve finally achieved my life long dream of becoming an author and published my first book!

It is currently available to buy on Amazon in the UK, USA and Europe!

‘Using her values as a compass Fi shares a message of hope, not fear, about how you can heal your life even if you can’t be cured. A powerful message for us all.’ Lesley Howells, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Centre Head, Maggie’s

I’m giving away a free signed book over the weekend 🌈🦄💕🙏🏻 Please just visit my Facebook page for more info 🦄

Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done this without you!

I hope you enjoy the book!

Love and light, Fi xxx

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“Fi Munro was diagnosed with non-genetic stage four ovarian cancer. In that moment, after months of pain, tests and assurances that it was ‘nothing to worry about’, her instincts were proved right and her worst fears were realised.

In the months that followed, understanding her diagnosis, recovery and health became her full time job.

Using her expertise as a researcher she dedicated her time to understanding everything she could about her diagnosis and subsequent prognosis.

In this honest, open and often tear-jerking account of her journey back to wholeness, Fi openly shares her story from diagnosis with stage four ‘terminal’ cancer to living an incredible, healthy life full of joy and laughter.

This book is a guide for anyone, not just those with cancer, who wants to embrace a happier, healthier and more caring approach to their life.

May it bring you peace, courage and, above all, hope.”

“Fi Munro (PhD) is a multi award winning researcher, author and public speaker recognised internationally for her presentations and articles on her journey and holistic health. She has been featured in two BBC documentaries, in TV and radio shows, and in newspaper and magazine articles across the globe.”

ovarian cancer

#LifeWithCancer

In January 2016 I was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. I was just 30 years old.

Overnight my whole world changed as words like ‘incurable’, ‘advanced’ and ‘aggressive’ filled my life.

I though that was it. I thought my life was over.

It turns out that I was wrong.

You see, positivity comes from within and life is what you make it…

As for #LifeWithCancer, it’s been pretty awesome!

I’ve done some incredible things since I was diagnosed. I’ve set up my own Bliss yoga business for kids and adults, I’m about to publish a book to help other people facing adversity, I’ve been in two BBC documentaries, I’ve swum with sharks, been on a cruise, been to award ceremonies (and even won some award!), walked at the top of a mountain, most importantly I’ve started truly LIVING!

You see #LifeWithCancer doesn’t have to be the end…it can be the beginning of something wonderful. So go out and grab life. Claim it, live it and love every second of it because at the end of the day life is for living and having fun each and every day!

Love and light, Fi xxx

#LifeWithCancer

ovarian cancer

What if there was a stage five to cancer?…and it was positive…

I havn’t been blogging recently, instead I’ve been focusing on writing my book and so I’ve been saving my updates to just my Facebook page. However, whilst away in Europe just now I had an experience that I had to share with you all…Hubby and I had booked a last minute train journey from Scotland to London and then on to Paris. Instead of micro planning the trip like we would have previously, we just booked return tickets and our first two nights in Parirs. After that, we decided to leave our holiday to chance by arriving in Gare De Loyn (Paris’s international train station) and booking on to the next train….with no plans of where we would end up, no accommodation booked, a true adventure to say the least.

Anyway, I’m digressing, as usual. On our first day in Paris we stumbled upon one of those beautiful serinipidous moments that I hope you will enjoy hearing about. At the very least, I hope I do it justice in my writing because, for me, it was utterly magical.
We had spent the day wondering the city. I’d been telling hubby that Paula Cohelo (my favourite author) frequently mentions in his books that to ‘know’ a city is not to do all the tourist attractions but to ‘get lost and discover it for yourslef’. With this in mind we hadn’t joined the crazy long queues to climb the Eifle Tower, instead we had marvelled at it from the ground below before wondering through the streets, lanes and local parks. In fact we wondered so far that by the end of the day a background app on my phone recorded 5.5 miles – the furthest I’ve walked in one day since my diagnosis.

Walking through a park whilst searching for somewhere for dinner I was struck that everyone around us was busy taking ‘selfies’ and not enjoying the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, those who know me know I’m guilty of more than a few selfies so no judgement from me, I was just struck that it was what everyone was doing. No one was actually talking to one another – so busy where they trying to capture the perfect moment that they were forgetting to actually live it. I recalled a conversation I’d had with one of the documentary makers last year. They’d explained that there had been a study done that you remember experiences differently if you look at them through your phone taking photos of videos. In short they were saying to live the moment rather than capture it to show an ‘airbrushed’ version of your life on social media.

Again I’m digressing, but it is relevant I promise…

As we were walking, surrounded by people on their phones, something caught my eye. Just past everyone else there stood a very smartly dressed man standing away from the crowd feeding the birds. As I watched I noticed a large animal near his feet. “Is that an otter?” I asked my hubby. “Where?” He declared, no doubt confused by my random question about a water mammal whilst in the middle of a busy city. However, I pointed and managed to convince him that we needed to explore further.

So, we made our way over to the man, who appeared embarrassed by our presence, giving the sense that we were intruding on a private event. What we witnessed was beautiful and I feel both blessed and humbled to have been a part of it.

The man had a large bag of bread from which he was feeding a range of birds, including two groups of newly hatched ducklings. However, he was also taking his time to carefully peel and slice pieces of carrot to hand feed a large water vole. By large I mean the size of an adult Tom cat. The interaction between them was awe inspiring. This man, in his no doubt designer suit was not just feeding these animals but he was doing so with love and care. These were his pets, his friends, his family. Each time he fed the water vole, just a rodent to many, he knelt down and whispered to it in French before it gently took the carrot from his hands. Standing close to the man, I also had the pleasure of this beautiful wild animal coming up to me.

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“Do you speak English?” I asked the man in French.

“A little,” he shyly replied.

“Do you come every day?”

The excitement was evident in his reply, “oh yes, every day, I live just there, ” he pointed nearby.

We continued to watch the interaction and I’m glad we did because the magic increased. The man bent down again and handed the water vole a large piece of bread. Taking it with the same care it had the carrot it wondered to the water edge where it placed the bread in the water. Confused we watched as a group of large fish came to the surface to eat the bread.

“Did it just intentionally feed the fish?” Hubby and I asked one another. ‘That can’t be.”

However, as we watched the man carefully cut another piece of carrot for the water vole which it again accepted with care and ate in front of the man. Next the man gave him another piece of bread and, amazingly, again it carried it to the water edge to feed the fish.

Isn’t that incredible?

With love, care and daily patience this man had created a bond so strong with this wild animal that they were now working together to feed other animals. In harmony their kindness was creating ripples.

Two things struck me in that moment: The first, of course was the beautiful connection that can come between the love of a human and an animal. It’s something I’ve experienced many times myself with pets and wild animals alike and it is always a privilege and a joy. The love this man was expressing was a pleasure to witness and the joy it gave him was evident – I am sure he would have many stories to share over a coffee.

The second realisation was that not one other person in the park that day had noticed this interaction. Too busy taking selfies alongside tourist attractions like thousands of people before them, they hadn’t experienced the magic and wonder in that very place that you wouldn’t find in any tourist guides. I finally understood what Paulo had meant in his books. 

I said at the start of this blog post that I hoped I could do this encounter justice and I doubt that I have. In reality I think this moment had a profound meaning on my life so deep that I wouldn’t be able to express it through the simple action of documenting words. You see it relates to a conversation I had recently with someone I care about. They had explained to me that they had stopped following my public Facebook page because it was too focused on cancer. “That’s just not you.” They’d declared.

It had left me thinking….what was me?

Yes in March my Facebook page had, admittedly, taken a huge focus on cancer in recognition of ‘Ovarian Cnacer Awareness Month’. However, it was also the month that my health had suffered most since the end of treatment with my magnesium levels dropping radidly again. Coincidence? I think not. I am a strong believing in attracting what you think about. I mean I am the girl who I for no genetic reason had convinced herself that she’d be diagnosis with ovarian cancer at the age of 30 and lo and behold look what happened…

Their simple words had touched me deeply and I realised they were right, I am not about cancer. Whilst I like to raise awareness I do not ‘suffer’ from my diagnosis. I am not a ‘victim’ and don’t even get me started on ‘fighting cancer’ – I loath that term!

“So, what am I about?” I was left wondering.

This encounter gave me my answer, It reminded me exactly what makes my heart sing.

I am about love. I am about light. I am about healing. I am about joy. I am about LIVING – truly, madly, deeply!

What if cancer has a stage five after stage four? What if Stage Five is finding out what you are about. What if Stage Five is about LIVING?

My wish for you…enjoy the moment. Get lost and discover the hidden joys in your life – trust me they are everywhere when you start to look! Above all, if you have a late stage cancer diagnosis, may you embrace stage five and start to LIVE with the same love and care as the man I met in Paris.

Love and light always, Fi xx 

ovarian cancer

A new chapter

The timing couldn’t have been more ironic. I’d just landed my dream job. I was about to take on the role of ‘User Research Lead’ within the Scottish Government, working with an incredible team who, like me, were driven by a passion to make Scotland better. Life, however, had other plans.

On my first day I was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and I never made it through the front door.

📷 author’s own

Over the following year I was provided with incredible support, from my colleagues, the organisation and, above all, my line manager.

Through regular meetings and conversations I was constantly inspired by their incredible passion and care for people. I’d finally found my ‘tribe’.

As time went on and my health started to improve, I had many conversations with my medical team about my return to work. These, however, were always met with a look of concern…concern that I wouldn’t manage the two hour commute, concern that I wouldn’t manage the stress, concern that my brain function wasn’t what it used to be, concern that my health would suffer…concern that I wasn’t making the right choice.

I struggled with this. My fierce independence and stubbornness often led me to believe that I had to prove that I was still capable and that, one day, I’d be walking through the doors and starting my career as a civil servant. 

As time passed, however, I started to appreciate these concerns and understand that I was no longer the same person who had applied for the role. Not only had the capacity of my body and mind completely changed but so had my spirit and, with it, my priorities.

I had a few more heartening and honest discussions and then I made a final decision – the decision to leave my job.

This was not an easy choice by any means. Not only was I leaving a career path I’d dedicated my life to but, on a more practical level, I’d been the higher earner in our household and now we would be shifting to life on one wage.

However, my instinct guided me to this decision and, surprisingly, I felt no worry or concern about the outcome. It just felt right.

It’s odd to me really. I mean, I’d spent my whole career chasing the illusive societal view of ‘success’. I had a PhD by the young age of 26 – an endeavour that cost me the freedom of my 20s!  Following this I took on several national research roles, each requiring hours of daily commuting and limited time with my husband. As for a social life, it was practically non existent! I was far too busy expanding my knowledge with extra courses in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and so on! To say I was driven would be an understatement!

Yet, when I was making the choice about my job I realised that my priorities had changed. My decision was in no way swayed by status or money or what people would think. Instead I was overwhelmed by the realisation that, above all, I wanted to spend the rest of my life improving the lives of others in whatever capacity that might be.

I also began to recognise and accept a life long desire to write a book and I realised that, were I to have died my biggest regret would have been not becoming an author.

This realisation was key in my decision to challenge this societal standard that suggests ‘success’ means employment and instead to prepare myself for the unknown (and possibly terrifying) path of un/self employment.

A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect…it is about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others ~ unknown

At first I thought I might be ‘wasting’ my education and PhD but then I began to recognise that this skill, alongside my personal experience as a cancer survivor, could only serve my future endeavours.

It is for this reason that I have decided to utilise my personal and professional experience to write a book that (hopefully) inspires others – not just those with cancer, but also those supporting a loved one with cancer to seek a deeper, more fulfilling and healthy life!

I also want to embrace my passion of public speaking and supporting others on a one to one basis.

Today is officially my last day of employment. Tomorrow I start a new chapter.

I don’t know what 2017 has in store for me but I do know that wherever it takes me I will embrace it with all of my heart and spirit.

I’m ready for the next adventure. I hope Life is ready for me!

Bring it on!

Love and light, Fi xx

You can read more about Fi Munro on her website and public Facebook page.

She is also on twitter, instagram and youtube.

© FKMunro.com 2017