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)

health

A Letter to Materialism

Dear Materialism

I don’t care much for you. Not anymore.

Oh but I used to. My goodness I was all about you. I think I may have been your biggest fan.

But, in truth, it was kind of an emotional relationship, perhaps verging on an abusive one.

I mean I constantly tried to get away from you, but there you were, lurking everywhere, telling me I wasn’t good enough without you.

On the TV, in the magazines, on social media, even in some of my friends houses.

You are so intrusive!

But I’ve left you now.

Good riddance to all the pressure you brought me.

I still see you lurking in the same old places but I call you by your other names now; fear, lack of self worth, shame. You don’t like that and it makes you shrink away a little more each day. Maybe one day you’ll vanish altogether.

Maybe.

I know that when I used to buy three outfits for a night out, only to wear something I already owned, that it wasn’t you, dear materialism, that made me do it, it was fear, it was because I didn’t think I was enough with what I already had, it was because I was worried I wasn’t good enough to just show up as me.

When I persistently bought ‘trinkets’ for my home it wasn’t you either, it was the fear that I wouldn’t be perceived as being good enough without them.

Every time I bought something I didn’t need to impress someone else, all I did was squash down the real feelings I needed to face. All I did was avoid looking at how much value I was placing on ‘things’ instead of on myself.

I see that now.

And now I value me above anything material. I value my happiness and my joy and I know that, for me anyway, that’s not found in a new pair of jeans, sofa or candle holder but in the rain hitting my face, the waves crashing against my body, the wind in my hair.

I don’t need or want you in my life to justify who I am anymore.

I love myself now and I’ve realised, finally, I’m happy just to be me.

So you can lurk wherever you want, because I don’t need you anymore.

And with my head held high, and self love in my heart, I can walk past you now, unaffected by your desire to tell me I’m not good enough.

Goodbye. I will not be shamed by you anymore.

Love, Fi xx

———

When I write these words, these letters, I personify the emotion and then I meet it and sit with it. It’s a wonderful healing tool for me. It really helps me to listen to and connect with my heart and soul.

Do you have a suggestion of what I should write to next?…comment below with suggestions (such as love, death, pain or joy) and I’ll see what I can do (I have a growing list – thank you!)

Like my words? Check out my book ‘How Long Have I Got?’ available now on Amazon WORDWIDE!

I am working on 3 more books. Join my mailing list via my website to be the first to find out when they are available www.fkmunro.com

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kindness, ovarian cancer

RAOK – Paying it Forward 

I delivered another Random Act of Kindness today. It is honestly still my favourite thing to do! This one was extra special though as it came from someone else…

Despite the fact that I am meant to be resting I needed to go and order new glasses as I broke mine teaching kids yoga. Yes I know, if I’d been resting they wouldn’t have got broken…blah blah…

Anyway…I used to work in my local opticians so I let them know I’d be popping by. One of the women that works there reads my Facebook (**waves**) and so she dropped me a message to tell me to say hi when I was in.

This I did and I’m so glad! She is without doubt one of the loveliest souls I’ve ever met. No I’m not just saying that because she will read this! She welcomed me with a warm and enthusiastic hug like no other and then surprised me by giving me a ‘random act of kindess’ envelope with money inside and asked me to ‘pass it on’.

I was so touched! I love when other people join in!

Leaving the shop I was still smiling when I went to buy some ‘jeggings’ – I hate that word but basically I need jeans with legging tops now I have a colostomy bag…anyway I’m going off topic (again!)

So I was trying them on and while doing so I could hear two friends chatting through the curtain of the cubicle next to me.

Their utter joy and laughter was infectious! From their ensthusiastic batter I gathered that one was helping the other buy a selection of clothes for various up coming events. What struck me was their passion. The one trying on the clothes was so unashamedly grateful for her friend’s help. Lsughing loudly she kept thanking her and declaring that she had ‘never looked so good’ and ‘couldn’t wait to show people’. The whole dialogue screamed LOVE!

I was really touched and knew straight away that I’d have to give them the envelope I’d just been passed moments before.

As I left I slipped the envelope into one of their hands and was met with the usual look of confusion and a mumbled ‘thankyou’ which, when combined, always translates  as ‘who the f*ck is this crazy woman handing me an envelope’.

As ever, it gave me so much joy and I hope the ladies got as much out of it as I did. I just love being able to pass on acts of kindness in this way.

So, tell your friends you love them;  be unashamedly you; and scatter kindness around wherever you go!

Oh and always remember you are beautiful!

Love and light, Fi xxx

ovarian cancer

Random Acts of Kindness – Number One

When my loved ones raised £500 for my husband and I to treat ourselves following my operation we made the decision to use the money to do random acts of kindness for complete strangers…

We didn’t want to profit from my diagnosis and the idea of sharing the love and kindness given to us filled me with so much more happiness than spending it on something ever could.


So today I did my first random act of kindness and it was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be!

Let me tell you about it…

I ventured out of the house on my own for the first time since my operation. First time driving and everything! Whoop whoop!

I went and got my nails done because I wanted a pick me up and to feel a bit more ‘me’ – look how sparkly they are! 

Feeling completely liberated by the notion of being out and about doing normal stuff I phoned my husband and asked if he wanted to meet for lunch in town during his work break. Something we’ve not done for ages(!) and a nice change from ‘picnics’ in the hospital!

We went to a local burger place who amazingly do gluten free. It was lovely sitting there doing normal couple stuff, not talking about cancer and treatment or how I’m feeling – that shit gets old and boring pretty quick when you live with it every day.

I became aware of two ladies sitting near us. They had so much joy and laughter. Everyone else in the place was eating relatively quietly, not really talking much to the person they were with and sometime just looking at their phone instead (Why do people do that?! It’s so annoying!)

But these two ladies were really happy and enjoying life and bouncing off of each other in good spirits and I thought to myself ‘you know what, why not make there day even better’.

So I put £20 in an envelope and wrote ‘Random Act of Kindness’ on it and as we were leaving I went to their table, excused myself and gave them the enevelop. Then I left.

And you know what?

It was the most amazing feeling ever! I have never had such instant gratification and pleasure from passing over £20 before. Ever!

Joy really is found in giving.

It’s made me buzz with happiness.

I can’t wait to share more love in this way.

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

ovarian cancer

Early Hospital Admission (video)

Wednesday (my birthday) I received multiple phone calls from the two hospitals involved in my care to let me know that my platelets are low and I need to go into hospital two days early to have a transfusion before my surgery next week.

I was absolutely devastated! I have big plans for spending Saturday with my entire family before coming to the hospital on Sunday but this news meant I’d be spending the time in a ward – which is not quite the same!

We chatted about the possibility of me having a transfusion in my local hospital as a day patient so I could have Saturday at home but it just wasn’t to be so instead I spent last night running around my house getting ready for my admission in one evening, rather than over the next few days as I’d planned!

This involved, packing, cleaning, getting the pets off to our lovely neighbour (💖) and driving the two hours to the hospital I’m having surgery in. We have rented a flat near that hospital for my husband to use whilst I’m in hospital so at least we were able to stay there last night so we could be in hospital for 9am this morning saving the need to leave at 6am! I’m exhausted enough as it is!

However as it transpires when the hospital took my blood tests this morning things weren’t as they expected…

My platelets are back to normal. Hurray! So I don’t need a transfusion after all. My white blood cells are low though, too low for surgery in fact, so I had to have an injection in my tummy to stimulate my bone marrow. The jag was fine to get just a bit like a bee sting to the tummy. This should get my white blood cells back up again for next week. 

All this means I get to go home tonight after all! I have to come back in early on Sunday for preparations for my op on Monday but at least I get my day with my family tomorrow!

The trip wasn’t wasted though – I got to meet my surgeon again and the stoma nurses came to explain the possibility of waking up with a colostomy bag and marked me for the bag should this occur. I’d already had chats in my local hospital about this so no surprises!

I also got to see the High Dependency Ward that I’ll wake up in post surgery. This was very reassuring as it meant I could meet the nurses and get a sense of all the machinery I’ll be hooked up to. My imagination (as usual) was much worse than reality!

 

But I can’t tell you how happy I was to get out of the hospital and come home! 


After thinking I wasn’t going to see my home for a few weeks it was amazing just how satisfying walking through our front door was. A bath has never felt so good, a bed never been so comfortable and a home cooked meal so tasty!

And as for seeing my pets again?!…heaven!

It never ceases to amaze me how often we take these simple delights for granted. What a blessing it was to be reminded how lovely and fulfilling my life is and how many simple pleasures there are every day…walks with my dog, my garden, time with family, cooking a healthy meal (hospital food is never that great is it?), cuddles on the sofa with my husband, listening to music in the bath and sleeping in my own bed. Wonderful!

And best of all, tomorrow I get to see all of my family before my surgery next week!

Love and light, Fi xx

Uncategorized

First Day of Chemo…

“Every journey begins with a small step, every race has a starting line, keep on reaching out for your goal, don’t give up, just give it time.”

12695828_10153931360028343_889761601_n.jpg

Well today I start chemo…just 16 days after I received the news I have ovarian cancer and I’m feeling great about starting my journey to being me again 💖💖💖

However, whilst I’m always positive about my cancer diagnosis – because really there is no other way to be in life – cancer is not an easy journey and so today I’d like to share the darker side that I usually hide because I think it’s really important that people talk about what cancer does to patients physically and give it the awareness it deserves….
….so here goes.

This is not a moan…I feel as positive as ever…but this is a journey that not everyone can take so positivity and that sadly thousands go through every single day xxxx

I’m told every day that I ‘look so well’…this is thanks to firstly an expensive skin and makeup regime!
Secondly it’s thanks to three different anti-sickness drugs that allow me to manage small mouthfuls of food (but never a full meal) without throwing them up.
Thirdly it’s thanks to two kinds of morphine – a tablet I take twice a day and a fast acting liquid I take when I just can’t take the pain….which is most days.

  • I can’t walk more than 5-10 minutes without needing to sit down – over the weekend
  • I had to go to hospital because I fainted trying to walk around the block.
  • I can’t get through a day without sleeping.
  • I’ve had over 35 blood tests in the last two weeks – I stopped counting at 35!
  • I had a drip 10 days ago when I couldn’t eat or drink anything at all and got too dehydrated.
  • That week I also had fluid drained from one of my lungs without any pain relief – holy cow I thought I would collapse from the pain!
  • Last week I had 4.5 ltrs of cancerous fluid drained from my abdomen (this was following 5ltrs one week before my diagnosis).
  • The next day I had a very painful tumour biopsy taken from my abdomen – I had to be sedated (although awake) because the pain was too much. My tummy still feels like it has a knife in it.
  • In the last 8 hours I have taken 20 steroid tablets in preparation for chemo today – 10 at midnight last night and 10 at 7am this morning.
  • I’ve lost 1.5 stone in fat and muscle in the last 6 weeks due to an inability to eat properly.

This is just a brief insight into ‘the medical side’ of my first two weeks with cancer.
I feel that whilst every day has to be full of medication, pain, tests, Drs and nurses I can get through it by understanding that I choose what else it is filled with . And I choose love, hope, positivity, family, friends and laughter.

So my first two weeks have also been filled with some of the best experiences and making some of the best decisions of my life! 💖 for instance – I never would have donated my hair before but I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I’d never realised how loved Ewan and I are – but we we must be the richest couple in the world because we are surrounded by love and hope and every day we receive over a hundred messages offering support for every step of our journey 💖

Without this I don’t think I’d find the strength I need – so thank you all a million times for your love and support xxxxx

12644866_10208073645057206_3951477712065967210_n.jpgCancer is a painful journey and it is a challenge every single day but by taking it a day at a time it is an achievable challenge. I promised I would do a marathon one day and I guess this is my version of an epic marathon.

love and light, Fi xx