health, ovarian cancer, yoga

Raw Food for Post Cancer Holistic Health – Day One

Hello and happy Tuesday!
I’ve been thinking over my health lately and realised that it’s not quite where I want it to be…it’s been nearly 18months since I was diagnosed with stage four cancer and after months of being sugar free, vegan (except for occasional fish) and not eating processed food (plus 8 years of being gluten free) I still feel my diet isn’t optimal.

This weekend I went away with my family and found myself slipping easily into old habits of sugar and processed food. Not where I want to be at all!

The result? Today I woke feeling sluggish, tired and all in all a bit ‘meh’. And my skin has broken out again too! Eeek!

So what to do?

Well, after months of researching I’ve decided to embrace a raw food diet under the belief that live food is best for our health.

Now, let’s get one things clear, I’m not doing this for weight loss! I am a happy and healthy size 10/12 and I walk/practice yoga/run ever day. This is about achieving optimal health and helping my body to heal from the inside out.

So, today begins my journey with raw food. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy but hey, it can’t be as bad as high dose chemotherapy and major surgery can it?

I’m a complete novice so I’ve decided to share my story with you all in a ‘video diary’. If you have any advice or tips please let me know!

Here goes!

Love and light, Fi xx
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⭐️VOTING IS NOW OPEN!⭐️

I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

You don’t need to provide any details (not even your name!), you just have to tick a box!

The winner receives a prize of £600 and if I win then I pledge to use it all for my random act of kindness to help spread more joy and raise awareness for ovarian cancer!
With your help I can reach more people and help to spread awareness of ovarian cancer; living with stage four cancer; invisible disabilities and so much more! 💜💜💜

New to my page? In Jan 2016 , at the age of just 30, I was diagnosed with non-genetic, stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. Since then I’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in the hope that my diagnosis will help save lives. I have been handing out random acts of kindness to strangers as envelopes containing £20 and a card with the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I do this in the hope of spreading kindness and joy whilst also helping to get people to take about ovarian cancer! 💜⭐️🌈

In August 2017 I published a book entitled “Love, Light and Mermaid Tails” about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer. Get it here.

ovarian cancer

Reaching the Other Side of the Doors

Today I approached a set of automatic doors that I’ve passed through many times before. As I strode through their entrance I was greeted with mental images of the woman I had been before, weak and afraid as she made her way to her first chemo; I saw the woman I became, weaker still with no hair, her body frail from muscle loss; I felt the memory of the ambulance gurney, hard beneath my body as I was wheeled through those doors only months ago; I felt the memory of every time these doors had opened before me; I felt the changes I’d been through, some physical and some emotional and, with a smile, I acknowledged the many friendships I’d made on the other side of those doors.I suddenly realised how much I had changed. I’d had the honour and blessing of being reborn and, in that moment, none of those previous moments mattered anymore because today I was striding, my head was held high, my back was straight and I felt incredible, healthy and happy.

I don’t know how long my new life will be but I do know that I intend to cherish every single moment with gratitude for the people on the other side of those doors for their support, kindness and care 💜💕

How lucky I am to be here. Thank you 🙏🏻⭐️🌈

Love and light, Fi xx

Please vote here. You don’t need to provide any details, just a few clicks.

ovarian cancer

Chase Your Dreams 

I could have missed my run today. I could have looked at the bad weather and thought ‘nah I’ll stay in tonight’.

But instead I remembered the old me, the me lying in a hospital bed after surgery to remove half my organs. The me with stage four cancer fighting for her life. The me that would have given anything to be able to walk across the room unaided.

So I got into my running gear and I went for a run.

Was it tough? Absolutely!

But was it worth it realising how incredible my body is, how wonderfully well it has healed and how powerful it is to not only recover from cancer but to be able to run in the rain? Hell yeah!

I used to run to burn calories. I used to run to lose weight. I used to run to beat my personal best. Now I run for the old me. I run for my fellow warriors to show them that anything is possible. I run for health. I run for my future self! I run so that when I next see my oncologist I can tell her how amazing I feel!

I don’t know how far I ran. I don’t know how fast I ran. I don’t know how many calories I burnt. And I don’t care! What I do know is that I did something I once thought I’d never be able to do and that is the best feeling in the world!

Tonight I will be celebrating with a curry at a friend’s house – not because I ‘earned it’ but because life is too short to worry how many calories you eat as long as you are eating the right food! The main word being ‘food’ – not highly processed or ‘low fat’ bullsh*t!

Have a great weekend everyone! Go and do something you once only dreamed of!

Love and light, Fi xx

—-

You can now buy my new book on Amazon – “Love, Light and Mermaid Tails”

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

—-

“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, yoga

Follow Your Bliss

Today I achieved one of my life long dreams I couldn’t be more proud.


As many of you know, in May 2016 I underwent major surgery for stage four ovarian cancer during which I had multiple organs removed. The recovery was tough and involved a week in a high dependency unit and almost two months in hospital whilst I regained enough strength to walk, recovered from sepsis in my liver and adjusted to life with a colostomy bag.


At the time I was told it could be several months before I was even able to walk up stairs or bend down and my husband moved our bedroom downstairs into our dinning room in preparation for my return home.

Not one to be defeated I, perhaps crazily, decided this was the time to pursue my dream of becoming a yoga teaching and so, with the support of my oncologist, I approached a yoga training school.

Just weeks later I was sat in a cafe having an interview with the course leader. I was convinced she would be put off by my medical situation and turn me away however, miraculously, she took a chance on me and in early September 2016 I started a 12 month training course. 

I had a PhD by the age of 26 so I am not shy of a little hard work but what followed was, at times, the hardest education journey of my life. Physically weak from surgery, emotionally and mentally drained from chemo, I constantly struggled to keep up with my wonderful classmates. Each month we would have coursework to complete, postures and adjustments to learn and, of course, hours of yoga practice. We not only studied yoga but also pranayama (breathing), chakras, meditation, nutrition, yoga philosophy and so much more! 

Each weekend of training left me exhausted and requiring often days to recover but I loved every single second. My monthly yoga training weekends became key milestones for me. Getting through two days of training reminded me how alive I was and how incredibly well I was doing despite everything my body had been through.


My physical, emotional and spiritual health responded and my holistically health drastically improved as a result. Now, a war after finishing chemo my cancer markers are low and stable and I have never felt more alive.

Today after what could have been the worst year of my life I completed my yoga training and received my full qualification.

I have never been more proud of myself and hope that my story will inspire others to never give up on their dreams because if you just believe in yourself and you keep taking tiny steps in the right direction then anything is possible!

If I can train as a yoga instructor whilst living with and being treated for stage four ovarian cancer then just think what you can achieve.

Follow your bliss and magic happens!


With special thanks to the wonderful, inspiring and supportive people who trained alongside me; to the course leaders and trainers who took a chance on me and to everyone who has supported my yoga business. You have all played a massive part in making my dreams come true and I am forever grateful.

Love and light, Fi xxx

Find Fi on Facebook.

ovarian cancer

“Everybody Poos…”

but not every body poos in the same way…

This is probably my hardest post to write so far…but it might also be my most important…

I feel I have a responsibility to other warriors to break down barriers by sharing my story…

Ovarian cancer. Surgery. Chemotherapy. Hair loss. Wheelchair. Intensive care. Terminal. Incurable. Remission.

So many words and phrases have entered my world this year. Some have been easier to deal with than others. But one word stands out because I’d never beard it before.

Colostomy.

I didn’t even know what a colostomy was… No one in my life had ever mentioned this word before.

After some questioning and research I discovered ‘colostomy’ meant life changing surgery. One end of my colon (large intestine) was going to be diverted through an opening in my tummy. This new opening is called a stoma and would be covered by a removable bag that is disposed of when full…but more on this later.

I was so confused. Why would I need this surgery?

I didn’t have bowel cancer. I had ovarian cancer…

Turns out however that ovarian cancer doesn’t much like to hang around in just the ovaries. It likes to spread to other organs and, in my case, it was now sitting on the surface of my bowel and would need cut away.

In the days that followed my approval for this surgery I had many appointments seeing stoma nurses. I was handed leaflets I couldn’t bring myself to read. I had conversations I didn’t listen to. My abdomen was marked for the ‘exit site’. I was in complete denial. This couldn’t be happening. Hadn’t cancer already done enough?

In the days following surgery I faced an 18 inch scar. Drain sites. Drips. Syringe drivers AND a stoma…another alien addition to my ever changing body.


As the days turned to weeks slowly these additions deminished. The drains were removed. The scars started to heal. The drips were wheeled away. But one thing remained. The colostomy wasn’t going anywhere. It was a permanent feature.

It was hard to come to terms with. It felt like the final shred of dignity I had left had been removed. I no longer had control over my bodily functions. In a ‘normal’ body you are able to control when you poo using the muscles in your anus. Your colon, however, doesn’t have muscles that you can consciously control. So if you have a stoma your body excretes waste whenever it wants. Any time. Any place. No warning. No control. Great!

So I learned that I’d now need to carry spare ‘colostomy bags’ with me wherever I went so that if my bag filled I could change it. I’d also have to carry wipes and bags to dispose the waste in. No more small handbag for me!


I was given a special card stating that I had a medical condition that allowed me to access any toilet anywhere – one small perk.


And also a special ‘radar key’ that allowed me to unlock any public toilet 24 hours a day 7 days a week – OK another small perk.


I was taught that I could no longer wear button up jeans as they cut off the bag and prevent it from working and would instead have to wear high wasted jeans or jeggings. I also couldn’t wear tight fitting dresses. Wait, you mean I have an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe. No questions asked. Things were starting to look up!


Whilst it was hard to come to terms with at first, I began to realise that this was a result of life enhancing surgery. Would I, if given the chance, turn back time and say ‘no wait actually could you just leave that cancer in my bowel I’d rather not have a stoma’? Hell no!

Of course there are still hard times!

Like when I go to use a disabled toilet and I’m judged by observers because I don’t ‘look’ disabled.

Or when I use a toilet and there is no bin. No one wants a bag of poo left on the toilet floor!

Having an upset tummy is the worst! Usually when you have an upset tummy you give you enough time (hopefully) to get to a toilet. Not with a stoma. With no warning – that waste is making an exit whether you like it or not! If your bag sticks in place great. If not then all hell is breaking loose wherever you are! I’m not going to lie – I’ve had to bin a few outfits as a result of what one of my nurses affectionally refers to as a ‘code 20’. I’ve learned that having a dark sense of humour helps.

What also helps is people sharing their story about their colostomies. Did you know 1 in 500 people in the UK have a colostomy. And not just because of cancer. Sometimes because of Crohn’s disease or even from child birth!

With this in mind I’m pretty sure you know someone else with a colostomy bag! But there is still so much stigma attached to  discussing ‘poo’.

So what can we do?

We can celebrate the differences in our bodies.

We can stop being embarrassed by our bodies and what they do.

We can stop body shaming.

And, most importantly, we can stop taking everything so seriously…after all everybody poos just some of us are lucky enough to be able to do it ‘on the go’. See, I told you a sense of humour helps.


Love and light, Fi xx

ovarian cancer

A Day in the Life of – 1 week post surgery

Whilst recovering in hospital from my operation I kept myself busy by keeping a note of what was happening each day. This enabled me to record my progress and for my confidence to grow in my ability and recovery.

Whilst I did this for my own benefit, I’ve decided to share a record of what I was managing just one week after my operation in case it may offer help/comfort for someone awaiting a similarly major operation.

Questions more than welcome.

Love and light, Fi xxx


15th May 2016

2.30am

  • 1 water
  • Pain relief (breakthrough)
  • Anti-clotting jag dressing on leg leaking & replaced – blood over sheets (1).
  • Sheets changed.
  • Threw up

6.50am

  • 1 water
  • Pain relief (breakthrough)
  • Anti-sickness tablet (breakthrough)
  • Medicated mouth wash
  • Anti-clotting jag dressing on leg leaking & replaced – blood over sheets (2).
  • Sheets changed again.

    7.30am

    • Half an ice lolly
    • Anti-sickness tablet (breakthrough)
    • Told IV cannula needs replaced.

    8.00am

    • 1 water
    • 2 morphine tablets

      9.20am

      • Re-placement for IV cannula

      9.30am

      • 1 water
      • 1 GF Biscuit
      • Liquid paracetamol
      • Omeprazol
      • Ibuprofen
      • Antibiotic tablets
      • Anti Sickness
      • Nystan – throat dropper

      9.45am

      • Husband visit
      • Consultant visit to discuss eating
      • Re-placement for IV cannula removed

      10.00am

      • GF cereal with almond milk
      • 1 water

      10.30am

      • 1 mint tea

      11.15am

      • Dressing over staples removed
      • Shower unaided
      • Brushed teeth unaided
      • 1 water

      12.20pm

      • Chicken salad (ate one third)
      • 1 ‘bio green’ water
      • Nystan – throat dropper

      12.45pm

      • Re-placement for IV cannula fitted
      • 1 water

      1.00pm

      • Family visit
      • 2 water
      • Cookie
      • Handful Pom bear crisps
      • Tablet paracetamol
      • Antibiotic tablets
      • Ibuprofen
      • Anti-clotting dressing on leg leaking & replaced (3).

      3.20pm

      • Medicated mouthwash
      • Antibiotic through IV

      4.05pm

      • Fluids with potassium through IV
      • Sheets changed.

      4.40pm

      • Anti-sickness tablet (breakthrough)

      6.00pm

      • Second family visit
      • Roast chicken and veg (very little managed)
      • 1 water
      • Liquid Paracetamol
      • Nystan – throat dropper

      8.00pm

      • 1 water
      • Half an ice lolly
      • Medicated mouth wash
      • 2 morphine tablets
      • Potassium fluids finish (told I need 2 more IV bags tomorrow)
      • Anti-clotting jag dressing on leg leaking & replaced (4). Told I’m not getting this evening’s jag. Bloods to be checked tomorrow.

      9.15pm

      • Napping

      10.30pm

      • Cookie
      • 2 water
      • Liquid paracetamol
      • Omeprazol
      • Ibuprofen
      • Antibiotic
      • Anti Sickness
      • Nystan – throat dropper
      • Auxiliary nurse sat with me for hour chatting about weddings and babies while I took medication. No nausea on anxiety.

      11.30pm

      • Bed
      ovarian cancer

      Home is where the fur babies are…(video)

      Well I got home late Thursday afternoon and it’s just been amazing!

      I am feeling much better that I did the last time I was discharged from hospital. This, of course, is helped by the lovely greeting I got from our fur babies who I had missed so much!


      I’m still by no means recovered but I’m definitely in a better place both emotionally and physically than I was two weeks ago.

      It was so lovely to see our animals and sit in our garden with my husband and just relax. I realised that for the past five weeks I’ve not been alone. I’ve had constant monitoring and tests, day and night. This meant that just simply sitting in the garden alone with our rescue dog was an incredibly magical moment. I’m thankful once again for being reminded to enjoy the little things in life and not take them for granted.


      I’m not going to lie, there has of course been tough moments. Moments where I was too tired to move and just went for naps on the floor because it was the only place that felt comfortable. But, even having the option to do that, rather than being confined to a hospital bed, made these tough moments bearable. I know that may sound crazy but after five weeks of being directed in where I could go and what I could do, just wanting to rest on the floor and then actually being able to do so is strangely empowering.


      I’ve still got a long way to go in my recovery but I’ve made great progress so far so I’m hopeful for the next few weeks. I restart chemo in just 10 days so, in preparation, I need to gain as much weight and strength as possible – after loosing two stone in hospital along with a lot of muscle wastage too. So that’s where my focus is – cooking organic meals, eating little and often and resting as much as I can while also trying to regain strength through gentle walking in the garden.

      The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter every day.

      Love and light, Fi xxx 

      Uncategorized

      Making Progress with Baby Steps

      Since my post about feeling broken I’ve come on so far in my journey to recovery.

      After breaking down over the needles on Saturday the medical team worked together to make things more comfortable for me. In fact their response and speed was second to none and what a difference they made! Within an hour they had made the decision that I didn’t need to receive fluids anymore as my blood tests showed that my levels were stable. They also switched all but one of my antibiotics to oral tablets. This meant that I instantly went from being attacked to an IV drip 24/7 to needing it only 3 hours twice daily. This meant that in the afternoons I was now able to be drip free! After so long this felt like a massive step in the right direction!

      More importantly, this meant that I was now free to leave the hospital between lunch and dinner – if aided by my husband.

      Instantly I went from a sobbing lost soul to my old self. That afternoon my husband brought my rescue dog to visit me and I’m not sure who was more pleased to see one another!

      Pets really are an instant mood changer!

      Together we went for a slow(!) walk in the woodlands on the hospital grounds.

      It was magical! I felt so free. I was me again, walking my dog with the man I love. I still had my syringe driver and drain attached, I was still weak, I was still in pain, but I was happy and really, when it comes down to it, what more can we really ask for from life?
      The following day (Sunday) my husband took me to the local Botanic Gardens in a wheelchair. 

      Oh the buzz I got from being in nature again was just indescribable. The grass never greener. The flowers never more fragment. The sky never bluer. Slowly my soul was healing. Isn’t nature so powerful and wonderful.

      Monday brought more positivity. I was visited by my consultant; a wonderful woman, who treats me rather than my diagnosis. She agreed that I would heal faster at home and that our focus needed to be to get me detached from all the machines/equipment. First step was to speak to the lab about the samples of sepsis taken from my body and what antibiotics would best treat it. Their response enabled me to be switched to just one antibiotic – rather than four! Best of all it was an oral antibiotic! I was disconnected from the drip completely and the painful venflon removed from my arm! Cue mini celebration!!!

      Tuesday I was sent for an ultrasound scan to see if my drain could be removed. This would be dependent on all the sepsis having drained. I was so anxious. So desperate for good news, knowing that this would determine how much longer I needed to remain in hospital.

      The scan, of course, was painless but they could see that a small (15ml) pocket of fluid remained. I was disheartened but I remained positive. I reminded myself that this was a tiny amount. I reminded myself how far I’d come. And I was right to, because the ward made the decision to remove the drain! They also made the decision to remove my syringe driver and try me back on oral pain relief and to stop my anti sickness medication. It was a lot of fast changes but it was positive. I was making progress. I was moving onwards in my journey and, more importantly, in the right direction.

      My drain wasn’t removed until this morning but wow what a feeling! Suddenly I was free from attachments. I felt able to straighten my aching body again. Able to move more freely. I’d regained a sense of self. Today when I showered I wasn’t coordinating my usual juggling act of medical equipment. It was just me, standing under the healing water. Oh what bliss. The little things in life we take for granted really are all that matter in the bigger picture. They are wherein lies the joy.

      As I write this I am dressed, no longer living in my pjs. I am free from equipment and my scars and bruises are fading. The cancer patient I faced in the mirror just days ago is fading. My sense of self is returning. This was only possible because of an exceptional medical team treating the person and understanding that health care goes beyond pharmaceutical drugs. This is person centred care. I am so grateful.

      I’m not going home yet. But soon. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright. I’ve made it through another phase in my journey. It was tough. Tougher than tough. I saw darkness​, I felt pain, I faced fear, but it didn’t break me. I feel stronger for knowing the experiences I faced. Better for the people I’ve met. Inspired and encouraged by the human spirit and the love and care in the world.

      I write this because I know many other beautiful souls will go to the dark places I went to in their own journeys. Please remember that where there is darkness there comes light. There is a way through. Never give up, least of all on yourself. You have the power to do this. You are enough.

      Love and light, a very happy Fi xxx

      Uncategorized

      Going Home

      After my trip to the beach on Friday I had a really rough weekend. I mean REALLY rough. I didn’t think it was possible to feel that much pain. Saturday was fairly manageable but Sunday?…holy hell…I felt what it’s like to be on the brink of giving up or going on. I didn’t know it was possible to feel suffering like that. However, with the help and support of an incredible medical team and a husband that I now swear is a superhero, I got through it.

      In fact, not only did I get through it, but, 16 days after my admission, my surgeon agreed that I’d settle more quickly out of a hospital environment and agreed to let me return home. Oh my goodness what a feeling! I’m not usually the sappy type, and would never have labelled myself a ‘home bird’, instead always loving to travel, but I have never been so grateful to see my house, sleep in my bed, stroke my pets, walk through my garden. Life felt good again.

      I on the other hand felt knackered and so went to bed soon after I arrived, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

      The next day was hard. Whilst still over the moon to be at home, I had completely underestimated the pain the two hour journey would cause my body. I’d also completely underestimated how little I would be able to do and how much I would have to rely on my husband. I mean, literally, he suddenly had to take on the role of an entire medical team, including administering nearly 30 tablets a day, whilst simultaneously looking after the house and our ‘zoo’ of pets. He is my hero!

      Just hours into our first day I was lying on the floor screaming in pain, unable to cope with the reality of the situation either physically or emotionally. In too much pain to move I was unable to take the breakthrough morphine I’d been provided for this situation and instead lay surrounded in cushions on our kitchen floor until I found the strength. Again I faced that choice – the choice of quit of continue. This one felt harder than whilst I’d been in hospital. I saw the pain in my husband’s eyes and knew I was the cause. I also knew there would be more days like this. More pain to come. But I saw something else. I saw the love in his eyes behind his pain and helplessness. Together we made it through to the sofa. I managed the tablets and I slept.

      The following two days showed gradual improvement: although I woke several times through the night in pain, I took breakthrough morphine as soon as I needed it; I was still being sick sometimes but I was also managing to eat small mouthfuls; district nurses were making daily visits; and suddenly the light at the end of the recovery tunnel began to shine a little brighter. On one of these days my wonderful GP came round and upped my daily morphine dose. She agreed the dose was tiny and the reason for my sleepless nights and screaming. I felt supported and listened to – it’s made a huge difference to me that she has cared for me since before ‘cancer’ and still talks of my personality and approach rather than my condition.

      Things were hard yes, but things were also beginning to look up. For the first time since my operation, I began to feel that things could truely slowly improve, bit by bit, day by day.

      Love and light, Fi xx