In January 2016, at the age of 30, I 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', my instincts were proved right and my worst fears were realised.
In the months that followed, understanding my diagnosis, recovery and health became my full time job. Using my expertise as a researcher I dedicated my time to understanding everything I could about my diagnosis and subsequent prognosis.
During this time I wanted to hear inspirational stories of hope, love and possibility from fellow late stage cancer warriors. As I searched, however, I found that most of the inspirational stories of positivity following a cancer diagnosis are from those with an early, curable diagnosis. Of course they are positive; they knew they were going to live! 'Where were all the warriors in a similar situation to me?' I wondered. 'Why is no one writing positive experiences about life with incurable cancer?'
It was in that moment that I realised I wanted to share my story more publicly. I realised that I had the opportunity to spread a message of hope, not one of fear. I had the chance to challenge the media driven perception that cancer should happen behind closed doors and that cancer patients lose their lives the moment they are diagnosed. I wanted to show people that I was still living. I wanted to show them that there is still life after a cancer diagnosis and, as it happens, it can be a great life.
The media would have you believe that us late stage cancer warriors are all too sick to be living positive lives and that cancer, having consumed our body, is now consuming our lives and that we are simply waiting to die.
I wanted to break down this perception. I wanted people to see that not only can you live with cancer but that your life can be amazing! So, I did what I do best and started to share my story online in unfiltered, often tear-jerking detail. The response was incredible! Within the first month of 'going public' with my approach to late stage cancer I was receiving hundreds of messages each day from people all over the world sharing their own stories of hope. I was no longer alone. I had found my tribe!
Off the back of this, and as a result of regular requests(!), I wrote a book about my journey back to wholeness. In this honest, open and often tear-jerking account, I openly share my story from diagnosis with stage four 'terminal' cancer to living an incredible, healthy life full of joy and laughter in which I run my own yoga business for children and adults.
"The Difference Between Being Healed and Being Cured
Many cancer warriors, in particular those with late stage or incurable cancer, spend precious time in desperate search of the 'cure'; the perfect protocol that will make their cancer disappear. I can, of course, relate to this desperation. However, I have also found great peace in letting it go. I now raise the question 'what if it is more important that we seek to be healed rather than cured?' Now, you may be asking 'what is the difference?' Well, in my opinion, the difference is huge.
To be healed is to return to wholeness. It is to look deeply at every aspect of our lives and see where dis-ease lingers. It is to ask what environmental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual imbalances led to an accumulation of this dis-ease manifesting as cancer (or any other modern illness) within our physical body.
To be cured, on the other hand, is to remove the cancer from our body and hope that it doesn't return. Of course a cure would be wonderful but not at the expense of healing. All too often cancer warriors (and other patients) can get caught up on being cured without using it as a platform to explore and improve their lives.
I don't know if embracing an integrated approach to health will ever cure my cancer but one thing is for sure; it healed my fear of cancer and taught me how to live again. Perhaps that is more important."
© fkmunro 2016-2017 | all rights reserved
The above is an extract from my new book "Love, Light and Mermaid Tails; One Woman's Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer".
I'm super excited to say that 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! 🌈