Reflections after Chemotherapy

by Fiona McGovern, Isle of Arran, Scotland

I have just finished 18 weeks of weekly chemotherapy treatments for metastatic breast cancer.  (My breast cancer story is also on this blog under “Breast Cancer: knowing what I know now I would definitely do things differently”.) For me this means four hours travelling, part by boat and part by car, and so it all takes a full day. I now have time off and time to reflect.

For these 18 weeks I have sat in a day ward full of other women receiving their treatment. As soon as one seat is vacated another woman fills it. In the oncology waiting room it can be standing room only and you may have to allow hours to be seen.

I have felt how pressured the medics, the receptionists and the nurses are. I have also felt the anxiety of families, the anger of many of the women, the fear in some, the denial, the hoping, and the coping on the surface and in some the complete self-pitying and identification with the illness. I also sense in some there’s the attitude that life begins after chemo…. that we can get back to how things were before cancer and chemo….. 

I have learnt so much.

For me, life will not return to how it was.

With the support of Universal Medicine I have chosen another way to be, a natural way, a deeply nurturing and self-honouring way – one where I am committed to life here and now, including the chemotherapy.  So I am me when I wait to see the oncologist and when the nurse administers the medication, and as I am me, I feel the presence of love between myself and the oncologist, the nurse, the receptionist and the other patients.

I see each treatment as a date with divinity, where I have learnt to lovingly accept what the tumour and the medicine are doing to heal the lovelessness that was in my body.  It seems to say to me “Fiona, keep going, accept nothing less than true love”.  From believing Western Medicine had no role to play in healing, I have now learnt how essential it is if used alongside the esoteric, not as a way to numb out or not take responsibility for the choices I made, but as a true support for me to truly heal. From feeling a failure for having a tumour, I now see how much I am learning and enriching my life when I embrace it as divinity at work.

I now can feel the beauty of the support Western Medicine gives me to clear the ill energy I allowed in because I was afraid to express the true me. I have been blessed by the doctors I have met. They have been amazing in their support for this healing. I have also learnt to let people in without taking on board their stuff or trying to rescue them, which in itself is a miracle.  Also I am able to truly listen to those with and around me and to accept their choices and to offer them a different reflection by expressing with and from love. Having the tumour has slowed me down, made me say no to others and yes to me, made my relationships more fun, given me time to explore sides of my expression I had never made time for. It has cleared the arrogance of beliefs and ideals I held about health and healing and allowed me to find my own natural rhythm through life. It has reconnected me to me as a woman and a self-nurturing way of life. It has shown me how many emotions I had chosen to hold on to and how damaging that was and so much more – I am constantly learning.

So that’s why I smile when I have the chemotherapy and the other women comment –  “after six years you still smile, how inspiring.”

The latest scan shows all the lesions in the liver, lungs, axillary nodes, breast and chest wall are reducing and the bones are healing. The wound on the breast is dry now and almost healed over. The oncologist’s comment was two wows!  He felt I responded so well because of the deep care I take of myself and my body and because I had no other illnesses to complicate the picture.

For me it’s not about the latest cure for cancer or getting back to normal life, but about discovering the beauty of me just being, not trying to be better or fix anything.

What has made this change possible is having the support to be me, the true me. That support has come from Serge Benhayon and all the practitioners at Universal Medicine whom I have chosen to work with, allowing me to make true choices, and also the amazing support of the doctors and nurses.

During this latest chemotherapy I had a ritual of walking in nature, often by the shore and was inspired to draw this. For me, these walks are a way to feel the joy of simply living and a reminder that although sometimes life is not easy, the truth is always simple, beauty-full and there is always stillness if we choose to feel it. Nature reflects that for me.
During this latest chemotherapy I had a ritual of walking in nature, often by the shore and was inspired to draw this. For me, these walks are a way to feel the joy of simply living and a reminder that although sometimes life is not easy, the truth is always simple, beauty-full and there is always stillness if we choose to feel it. Nature reflects that for me.

350 thoughts on “Reflections after Chemotherapy

  1. This is so healing to read. I am especially inspired by, ‘I see each treatment as a date with divinity, where I have learnt to lovingly accept what the tumour and the medicine are doing to heal the lovelessness that was in my body.’ I know there are things I need to address in my life and rather than see them as impediments – like the attitude that I’ve just got to get on and return to life as I want it to be – come to them with love and the healing I can allow to unfold.

  2. ‘It has cleared the arrogance of beliefs and ideals I held about health and healing and allowed me to find my own natural rhythm through life.’ Recently I’ve been ill a few times and have to have some work done on my teeth. It’s helped me see how arrogant and judgemental I have been about illness and helped me connect with the fact that we are all equal no matter who we are or what our health is. Being unwell has been very humbling.

  3. ‘I have learnt so much.’ The utter humility, openness and simplicity of these words blows me away. You inspire me always Fiona in how you lived and embraced all that your cancer presented.

  4. A great point here made by Fiona ‘I have also learnt to let people in without taking on board their stuff or trying to rescue them, which in itself is a miracle.’ Not taking on other people’s stuff, and learning to watch and observe what is going on is a really freeing experience, allowing others to be where they are without wanting to change their choices for them, and accepting the choices they have made.

  5. A beautiful inspiring sharing Fiona, one that many will be grateful for . That you share so much that is positive in your attitude and the experience you have been through.

  6. God knows we have developed a habitual ability to make life complicated, but when you break that down and look beneath the surface, it is truly simple at heart to me. And what becomes clear is it is absolutely up to us which direction we want to go. And one thing is for sure, as this beautiful blog shows, our body will continually let us know the quality our choices. This is something to be hugely grateful for.

  7. I LOVED re-reading this and feeling the blessing that pours from this blog. When i read that ‘I see each treatment as a date with divinity’, that’s when I felt the depth of inspiration of true responsibility, the surrender that is possible, the embracing that is always available and how we are only victims of disease when it strikes because of our choice. Illness offers a stop moment for us to realise we are so much more than human and at the same time, divinely confined in the realms of being fleshy and human — how much respect have we truly shown for our tender, physical and human bodies? Disease is not our enemy, and life is not a rollercoaster where we go on wayward ways unscathed. We are here to evolve, and return and disease is part of that journey to awaken us to the truth – of who we truly are.

  8. ‘I see each treatment as a date with divinity, where I have learnt to lovingly accept what the tumour and the medicine are doing to heal the lovelessness that was in my body.’ A date with divinity – what a stunningly beautiful expression, and understanding. There is a majesty in the process of the body healing that is far from appreciated. We all tend to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of our diseases and conditions with no understanding of the bigger picture. This is not to dismiss the human difficulties and pain we encounter along the way but there is definitely more to the process than meets the eye

    1. I loved that expression too Victoria. Seeing each treatment unpleasant as it surely was as a date with divinity is such a beautiful approach and the opposite of what we all tend to do. Very inspiring.

  9. ‘I now can feel the beauty of the support Western Medicine gives me to clear the ill energy I allowed in because I was afraid to express the true me.’ Many people become disenchanted with western medicine because of its focus on the functional aspects of our body without considering our being-ness. But turning our backs on it is far from helpful. Acting in concert, western and esoteric medicine is a ‘best of both worlds’ offering, with western medicine providing the practical support, and esoteric medicine the understanding of what is taking place and why.

  10. i love how you have embraced this opportunity to the fullest. its wonderful to see a cancer story like yours which is imbued with the knowing that this is not about recovery, but about how much you embraced all that occurred for its own majesty, and then it makes sense to me that after 6 years you were still smiling.

  11. “So I am me when I wait to see the oncologist and when the nurse administers the medication, and as I am me, I feel the presence of love between myself and the oncologist, the nurse, the receptionist and the other patients.”
    So the illness has blessed you and all around you? How gorgeous!

  12. Very inspiring Fiona thank you, true healing affects everyone involved, from those you sat with in the waiting area, to those who formed part of the healing process, to those who read your story and know you in life.

  13. There is a rawness and surrender to the truth of life and love that I find absolutely inspiring in this blog, we all know our truth, but we bury it beneath stuff we accumulate. Sometimes this imbalance in the body needs to be cleared, and in so doing we potentially have access to a deeper level of connection with ourselves and the universe, I’ll health or clearing,very different approaches.

  14. Not being present and fighting illness and disease I have found creates further problems. When we accept in full and completely surrender to the body we actually begin the process of healing. Very often when we are ill we are thinking about the future, thinking about finding ways to quickly fix the illness so that we can get back to how it was before we went ill instead of truly asking ourselves ‘what is the illness showing us and what can we learn from it?’

  15. Fiona, these blogs you left behind for us to read and reread and for people to find in the future are pure gold. Amongst all the angst and misery around cancer, they offer us a different reflection and a new perspective on cancer and how to live with it and be with it. Cancer is the healing is a great teaching to grasp and to realise that the cancer was caused by how we were living and therefore to want to simply return to the same lifestyle that caused the cancer is choosing not to take the evolution that one is being offered.

  16. The words written here touch powerfully on healing, illness and the state of us all as a human race. But most of all what Fiona has shared makes me super aware of the power of stopping and reflecting. Perhaps it’s not so surprising that our lives these days are jam packed full of tasks and events. For if we allowed ourselves the space to stop, just what would we feel? It makes me pause and consider that our true illness is driven by our flight from feeling and seeing we are driven by our spirit at the complete detriment to other people, our relationships and our body.

  17. A really beautiful sharing on how to be truly empowered through chemotherapy. To really take the responsibility that is required when going through such a process. One also that can leave you feeling very vulnerable and lacking in confidence. But your story has none of that at all.

    1. Beautiful Caroline. It’s easy to resist or dismiss those parts of our lives we don’t ‘like’ but to surrender and accept it all in totality and seek to understand its lessons makes life purposeful.

  18. Every day we all face new ‘issues’, troubling circumstances and difficulties. But one thing is constant amidst all this – we always have a choice to be Love. To choose understanding, to be caring with ourselves and other people, to feel how life is, but not to buy into the drama. Fiona’s story shows there is nothing that can stop us from living with power, except the unloving energy we choose to let in.

  19. This is a powerful message you share Fiona of surrendering to the simplicity of Love. As regardless of what is happening around us or how far away we have walk from ourselves, our Love remains solid within us, an eternal guide for us to return to being the Love we naturally are in essence and to heal what is not of this Love.

  20. This article brings healing to a whole new level, whole being the optimal word. It brings in a framework or a guide of how to heal and where to heal. So often we get caught in healing the part that is hurt, broken or diseased without taking care and seeing how the rest of us fits into the healing. There is a whole approach here that doesn’t necessarily have a consistent outcome but more there is a dedication to an overall healing. What’s more it is showing that this approach is actually bringing with it many results, with respect this is what is there for all of us, a healing on many levels if we are opened to it.

  21. Beautiful Caroline. It’s easy to resist or dismiss those parts of our lives we don’t ‘like’ but to surrender and accept it all in totality and seek to understand its lessons makes life purposeful.

  22. Throughout you connected to your essence, divinity and love and brought these qualities to those everyone you met: other women, doctors, nurses and practitioners. You were not a victim of cancer, but a student learning and evolving through the gift of illness.

  23. There is a way to approach illness and disease that is nothing less than glorious. It is simply when we allow ourselves to consider that the disease is not a curse or misfortune but part of the wider healing that we need in order to return to Soul. When we make life about just this one life and the desires and set-ups we have created in this life, and the illness and disease comes along to shatter it, we shatter ourselves in the process. But if we let ourselves come back to the fact that this Life is one of many we have had and will have, as we continue to unravel ourselves back to our Soul, we let the illness expedite the process. The discomfort and the pain, and the onset of dying itself takes on a whole new perspective, one that is in harmony with our being and indeed nothing less than glorious lived.

  24. We often see cancer as something that needs to be fixed, to be got rid of, yet it is truly an opportunity to change our choices, and make life simply about loving ourselves and making more loving choices everyday.

  25. I spent one day a week for over a year visiting my Mum in an oncology unit in Surrey. It could be depressing, feel like a waiting room for those who were about to die, or the stress of either the staff or the patients. But at the same time I made some beautiful connections – with my Mum and siblings, with the other patients and the staff. It was in fact a very rich time as we all had plenty of space and there was a willingness to go there and talk about real things that mattered. It was a very interesting time and opened my eyes to the fact that we all have so much sweet fragility inside to share.

  26. The simplicity is always there no matter how we may be feeling or what hardships we may face. The willingness to be open and bring understanding and no judgement to every moment is the difference between healing rather than harming our inner essence.

  27. To see chemotherapy as a support and approach it with grace allows the body to be at ease rather than in reaction or tension, and this can only help with recovery.

  28. Beautiful to take the time to discover that there is a beauty all around us, all we need to do is stop and appreciate what nature brings us, it is often not until we are ill that we take the time to stop and appreciate what has always been there.

  29. Life is significant and important in a universal way – but we tend to let it drift by without asking why or understanding what we see. The perspective and appreciation this blog describes is very beautiful to read, because it’s clear there’s a true value to every moment we are alive. It’s up to us to honour this and not focus on the minuscule niggling stuff. If given attention it eats away at our joy and space.

  30. I love the way you describe life and how much you learnt Fiona. I met a lady yesterday who had trouble moving and she said that because she moved so slowly she noticed so much more than other people, all the little details, from how people felt to little marks no one else noticed, most people in that position would be complaining about their body rather than noticing the blessings, I was very touched and inspired by her. Our circumstances need not deter us from what we can learn and how enriching life can be.

  31. It is inspiring to know that so much beauty and evolution can be learnt and embodied from something that most would view as a negative. Life can be gorgeous and full of wonder and lessons no matter the hardship… and when lived and embraced like you have, the reflection this then offers others to support changing their perception or offering inspiration is just stunning.

  32. Wow what an amazing transformation for the love and care you are choosing to have and live in your body – and as you say you can feel everything from every other patient in the room -so what if they felt not coping or denial or anger from you, but love – What an amazing reflection that provides.

  33. I read to here and was given the moment to pause and ponder just what it means.
    “As soon as one seat is vacated another woman fills it.”
    What is going on that so many people require the services of such intense medical therapy?
    I feel this question needs to be asked, as until we begin to address the why, the only thing that will happen is that more medical services will be required, in a reality where they cannot keep up with the present demand. Does this not bring us to a stop, a moment to consider what is our personal part to play in where we find our worlds health?

  34. Simplicity. When I let simplicity guide me through the challenges that come my way I find a deeper stillness and joy sitting inside busting to be lived from. And this deepening, in my experience has no end.

  35. ‘I have learnt so much. For me, life will not return to how it was.’ These words are so humble, and they speak volumes and offer us so much. Commitment to life is in everything, even in chemotherapy, and Fiona shows us this in spades. Wow, and yet it’s absolute simplicity.

  36. The abundancy and richness of life seems to make us take it for granted. Like a farmer who wakes up each day to the most glorious view of fields of golden flowers but just focuses on the couple of bugs that are there, we tend to see what we think is wrong instead of the true beauty that is there. There is something comforting and familiar about the struggle so many of us are in, and if we participate in this it feels like we are together again. But none of this is actually true. We don’t have to wait till serious illness pops our bubble to see, that when we appreciate our true divinity we show others they can too. Appreciating our true beauty is the greatest medicine currently known to man.

  37. What you describe here so beautifully Fiona is an approach to life, one of self care and self love which allows a simplicity to embrace what is needed to truly heal.

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