Eyes wide open

It’s marvelous what you can see when you really open your eyes. Nearly 40 years of suffering with a life-threatening illness has taught me that life is too precious to miss anything.

As much as I despise my daily battle with cystic fibrosis (CF)* and diabetes, it has given me a perspective on life that many people will perhaps never attain or will only arrive at later in life. This rich appreciation of what life has to offer has made me the person I am today.

Each difficult moment surviving this unforgiving illness – and there have been many – has opened my eyes and opened my heart. This ‘awakening of my soul’ has made me more sentimental as I want as much of my life as possible to be punctuated by worthwhile memories rather than mundane events.

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts” Albert Einstein 

Carpe Diem

I do live for each moment, wanting to make my life count as every day feels special I’ll wear the new shirt rather than waiting for that ‘rainy day’; I’ll spend quality time playing rough and tumble with my son Felix and I’ll mention our wedding anniversary date every month to my wife Katie.

Living with a chronic condition has opened my eyes to the important things in life that really matter and my level of appreciation for the simpler moments has been enriched. Life is too short to worry for long about minor issues. I have discovered my own version of GRACE – Give readily and cherish everything!

It’s not always easy but I work hard to identify my blessings in life and be thankful for them. I focus on what I can do rather on what CF stops me from doing and on what I do have rather than what I don’t.

Humble bee

My pain and struggle has enhanced my own humility and allows me to see and appreciate others who also suffer mentally and physically.

When I’m having a dark CF moment, I often see someone out and about who is more disadvantaged or disabled than me and I’m almost frozen to the spot and humbled – this keeps my feet on the ground, helping me to rationalise my plight and see how my worries fit in with the bigger scheme of life.

Inner peace

I find tranquility by looking around at beautiful surroundings where ever I am which helps to calm my soul.

 
 
 
 

Little peace of heaven

 

‘He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.’ Psalm 23

I find amazing peace in the beauty of nature – rainbows, blood red sunsets, rays of light breaking through clouds, waves crashing against the shore, the roughness of the sea on a winter’s day – these spectacular moments freeze frame my life, allowing me to wonder and stand rapt in awe. I don’t take for granted all the little things that I see around me that I want to remember for the short time I have.

 

As grim as my illness has been, I do feel blessed and while I’m still on this earth, there’s so much to see and feel that there’s no time to have my blinkers on and block things out. People can go a whole lifetime and not know what I know, see what I see and feel what I feel…

 

READ ALL ABOUT IT – For those that missed it last week, my story and blog featured in the Guardian G2 Health section on 15 February. Click here to view the article…

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Look out for my next post as I reach my 40 year milestone…

Regards

Tim

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 8,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations.

For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website

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About Tim Wotton

I live with my lovely wife (Katie) and spirited ten-year old son (Felix) in Morden, Surrey; working full-time as an internal communications specialist in the Oil & Gas sector. I have played sport, particularly hockey, tennis all my life and now regularly go to the gym. Cystic fibrosis has been a huge factor in my life, but not one that overshadows it. I have always had great support from my loving family - parents Margaret and Douglas (RIP), elder brother Chris and my twin brother Jez. I have many rich life insights based on knowing I have a reduced life expectancy and battling against the odds for over 44 years. My eyes and heart have been opened by my health struggle. I feel empowered to share my life lessons to help anyone with health and life issues to overcome. My passions include Paul Smith clothes, dress shirts (believing that it's enlightening to dress like it's your last day on earth), Alfa Romeo cars, spicey food, Harlequins and England rugby, Southampton FC, Wimbledon village and common, Dorset, seascapes, sunsets and military history. I am available for public speaking on this subject matter and can be contacted via timwottonAThotmailDOTcom. I have written a book 'How have I cheated death?' based on my euphoric countdown year to 40 which was published in 2014 and won the 2015 'Best Achievement' Award at the UK People's Book Prize. It is available via e-book, audiobook and paperback at Amazon and to order from UK bookstores. Go to the relevant sites below or in the UK go to a WH SMITH, Waterstones or Foyles bookstore and give them my name, book title and this ISBN number (9781849637190). It’s also available via GARDNER’S, BERTRAM’S, AUSTINMACAULEY.COM, BLACKWELL’S, PLAY.COM, AMAZON.CO.UK AND AMAZON.COM
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3 Responses to Eyes wide open

  1. Jamie Lamb says:

    I love what you write Tim. Great stuff that always strikes a chord and puts life in perspective.

  2. Margaret Wotton says:

    I think you have developed your love of the sea from me, Tim. I cannot think how many times, during home IVs we have sought therapy from the sea and just relaxing watching the waves crashing onto the shore or the total calmness. Possibly our favourite venue is Mudeford in Dorset and the wonderful crab sandwiches which go with it?
    I can vouch for your love of blood red skies and anyone who visits your house will be spellbound, as I am at your superb framed photographs on that subject. There might be just a few photos (or more++) of Felix as well but he is so photogenic!
    You have nearly reached your 40th and I remember I was very relieved when your Birth Day arrived but little did I realise the arduous but rewarding journey we were about to make together.

    love from Mumxxx

  3. JP says:

    I get the sea and sunset effect, bud. What is it? Being closer to God? Some sense of understanding of our tiny role in the grand scheme? Billy Bragg: ‘this would never happen, if we lived by the sea’. Have a look at psalm 139, too. Teresa is never more at peace when on the beach. Viz the tiny role (above)- nothing tiny about your role, Tim. Keep it up, fella.

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