In 2016 Fiona Munro was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sadly, in 2020 she passed away from the disease. Five years ago, she decided to share her experience of chemotherapy. We are so grateful for the incredible dedication Fi shared, helping to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and her beautiful words will continue to be an inspiration to many.
“One day you’ll just be a memory for some people. Make sure you’re a good one. So, my message to you… don’t wait until tomorrow to love, to laugh, to follow your dreams. Do it today”Fiona
When I was diagnosed with cancer I had long blonde hair, so the prospect of losing it was a bit of a shock.
However I decided to embrace it wholeheartedly and take my usual ‘when life gives you lemons…’ approach. I cut off my hair to donate to the Little Princesses Trust and dyed my new short hair hot pink to raise money for Macmillan nurses.
And you know what?!… I loved my new hair! Much more than I ever did my long blonde hair.
But then I started chemotherapy. After my first dose my hair was still in tact but after my second dose it started to fall out in clumps in the shower.
I thought that I would find this much more distressing than I actually did. Perhaps by the time your hair starts falling out you have dealt with so much that it pales in comparison, but honestly it’s not as bad as you think. There’s actually something quite fascinating about pulling out your own hair in clumps.
After a couple of weeks I took the plunge and got a buzz cut. Watching my hair fall to the ground in clumps felt liberating – I was taking back control! It was me making the decision to lose my hair, not cancer or chemotherapy.
When I finally looked in the mirror I felt like a warrior. Who was this strong woman looking back at me?! It was empowering. I think that day I felt the strongest I’ve ever felt - like even cancer didn’t stand a chance.
I didn’t like wearing a wig so I started to play around with headscarves and headbands. After trying several combinations, I favour wearing a cheap, plain cotton neck scarf to cover my head and then a patterned 'Seasalt handyband' over the top to give some bulk and interest.
The best part about wearing headscarves is you have a whole new accessory to coordinate with your outfits. Having hair is so boring by comparison!
Following my fourth dose of chemo my hair started to fall out much more drastically. Overnight I felt like I’d gone from a warrior to Gollum! Not so liberating when you have to greet that look in the mirror each morning…
Once again I embraced a new hairdo and clean shaved my head. I then took it one step further and went out with my bald head on show for everyone to see. And do you know what happened? Nothing! It turns out strangers don’t really care what other strangers look like – even if they have no hair.
So in just three months I’ve had five radically different hairstyles ranging from long blonde hair to a clean head shave and I’ve learnt that none of it matters. It’s just hair. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t change you.
Cancer treatment may take your hair but as long as it doesn’t take your smile then you’ll still be as beautiful as you always were.
So, if you are losing your hair due to chemo my advice is embrace it. When else do you get to do something so radical with your look?
You can read more of Fiona's journey on her personal blog.