The show must go on

Quite a lot of my time living with Cystic Fibrosis* feels like a giant act covering up how I’m feeling physically and mentally.

My coping mechanism at these times is to ignore it; think ‘I can’ thoughts and have a positive rather than negative front for everyone I encounter. After all, the show must go on…

As I referenced in my recent ’40 Not Out’ blog, my good friend, Julian Archer, did a CF sponsored bike ride from France to England finishing on 21 May in Southampton with a game of field hockey with me, my eldest brother and my touring team The Phantoms.

Even though I’ve been involved with many CF fundraisers over the years (mainly ones organised by my parents), I have been desperately keen to raise much needed funds for this little appreciated and understood condition by combining it with my passion for playing hockey.

Imagine my horror that having waited 40 years for this opportunity, I got a cold in the week prior to the charity game which made my lungs all irritated and churned up!

All the other participants would hope and expect to see my playing on the pitch even if it was for a short time as it boosts everyone that I’m still playing sport and defying the odds.

Even though I’m being more open about my CF struggle, I still want and need to give off the persona of being able to cope and be fit – this includes the ongoing perception of me as a healthy and fit sportsman.

The huge reveal for many of my hockey friends was that my CF was a worse odeal than they thought, and there was a harsh realisation for many of them that I went through more than they could ever have imagined to still be alive and share a pitch with them.

What was I going to do? Pull out of playing and be a spectator? How would that look?

As I’ve said, in these dilemma moments, the show must go on; so I played and even though I coughed a lot it was a worthwhile event to push my body through.

But, I wasn’t the only one who went beyond the pale.

Julian’s knees were in such a bad state before he began his bike ride that a French doctor recommended rest and could only say “Bon chance!” Not only did he complete the ride, he played the whole game!

During the actual game one of our forwards, Bobby Sandals, who had opened the scoring for us – broke his arm in two places after a nasty collision with their goal keeper. Once Bobby had been taken off by ambulance, we played on to honour his bravery – the show must go on!

‘Life is a cabaret’ as the saying goes, but more often than not the best act I put on is the one where I am healthy and coping!

I will keep you posted on my life affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign up if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full


Tim Wotton

Click here to view more information on Julian Archer’s CF Bike Ride

My Daily Mirror article

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of theUK’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


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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10 Responses to The show must go on

  1. I came across your blog while looking at others with lung problems. I must say some of what you have said rings so true. Yes we are ill, sometimes very ill, but when facing the outside world try to be strong and make it look as though we are otherwise.
    You have courage and like me face things ‘as is’. And I have to say although I have never thought of it that way my way has always been ‘The show must go on’. Life is a challenge my friend. I wish you all the best in your fight. All the strength to do what you need to. Thank you for writing this. It will I have no doubt, same as me writing my copd blog, give inspiration to others:-)

    Derek Cummings.

  2. Ann says:

    Well done. Good luck in all your endeavours.

  3. Lucy Law says:

    Well done Heston ….loving the blogs…big hugs Lucy and the other Laws xxx

  4. Patricia Ross says:

    What can I say, well done, infact more than well done , excellent. Long may it last.

  5. Margaret Wotton says:

    Here comes a post Cf hockey match comment from your Mum, Tim!
    As I saw it on May 21st, all the players, both Phantoms and Trojans teams were heroes because it was an incredibly warm day and the pitch, a sand based astroturf was so punishing to play on because of lack of rain so therefore very hard on the feet. However, there were 3 special heroes that afternoon. Ofcourse I mention Tim first as I saw him pre-match at home and knew instinctively that he wasn’t on top form or anywhere near it, but then don’t Cf mums get that special sense anyway? But ofcourse, as he stated in his blog, he couldn’t and wouldn’t be seen to be spectating, he had to be part of the team. Why?, because of the 2nd special hero, Julian who had completed his cycle ride from Chamonix to Portsmouth/Southampton with such truly amazing spirit, I have rarely ever seen him without a smile on his face. On this occasion he was “on a high” having completed his ride but his poor knees told a different tale. The 3rd hero had to be Bobby Sandals who so unfortunately broke his arm rather badly but was so brave whilst waiting for the paramedics. At this point I have to smile as my grandson Felix followed Katie and I onto the pitch to offer our help. He was far more impressed with Bobby’s bloodied knee, an astroturf burn when he fell, no doubt ,than the misshapen arm and with some authority, told the paramedics on arrival that “he needs a plaster”!
    It was a fun afternoon and the atmosphere on and off the pitch was exactly what Tim had been waiting for, for all of his 40years! Well done Julian for raising such a grand sum of money for Cystic Fibrosis.
    love Mum (and proud Dad who watched the match from the car)

  6. Craig Reid says:

    Dear Tim,

    As we would say in America, “Awesome man.” Keep on fighting. I’d like to share a wee story with you in hopes to add more to the saga of how we can overcome CF and do far out things with our lives.

    I was born in Reading, England, and eventually diagnosed with CF back in 1958. We moved to American in the late 1960s.

    When I was 16, that was when my doctor told me I would be dead in five years due to CF. At that time I was taking 30 pills/day, two hours of therapy/day and was in the hospital every three months. I moved to Taiwan and found a qigong teacher (a way to strengthen qi; in traditional Chinese Medicine this is one’s life’s energy). Five months after learning qigong, I have been off all medications and therapies since. To demonstrate that my health improvement was not superficial, in 1986 I walked 3000.2 miles across America Marathon/day, 4.3 mph).

    A few of my past victories: I was a stuntman in Chinese martial arts movies, learned fight choreography with Jackie Chan, was a fight choreographer in Hollywood for 10 years, writer for Reuters, graduated from Cornell University, have a PhD in Entomology from the University of Illinois, married for 30 years (once chosen as the best husband in America), freelance writer for now 19 years, screenwriter, medical writer, martial arts teacher since 1978…the point is….we folks with CF can lead “normal” lives…if you will.

    Of note, since 1987 my wife Silvia (Dr. Silvia N.M. Reid; PhD in Neuroscience, 27 years of research, Post-Docs at Yale Medical School and UCLA Medical School) have been using our knowledge of Alternative Healing working with Qi for over 23 years. Apart from helping other sufferers of CF, we do a lot of work with members of the U.S., Chinese, South Korean, Canadian and British Olympic teams, and members of the Armed Services over here. The irony of all of this, I’m teaching these elite athletes how to breathe properly as a means to increase their physical and mental performance….even though 30% of both of my lungs are completely deteriorated.

    Forgive me for rambling. With what you’re doing Tim, only emphasizes the reality of what we CFers can do. As the old English Group Humble Pie used to say, “Rock on man.” (eeek, i’m showing my age….and I’m happy to do that).

    Thank you for your time to take a gander at my wee story. Have a jolly day and may the Qi be with you.

    Cheers, Craig
    Dr. Craig D. Reid

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Craig,
      I was amazed with your story – thanks for sharing! I’m doing some research into Qi.
      I’ll email you independently to find out more on your wonderful journey.
      God Bless

  7. K.B. says:

    I stumbled across your blog today. I wanted to say hello as I, too, am approaching 40 and have CF. Who could have imagined living this long? Not me! Nor did my doctors or family. It seems that now we’re living the gift of extra time that our cohorts who have gone before us did not get to experience.

    I am currently trying to revamp my life in the face of increased hospitalizations and issues with my pancreas. Trying to better my strength and endurance lost over the past few years. Thank you for being an inspiration.
    Good luck and good health to you!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Toni,
      Thanks for taking time to comment – when is your 40th? God speed you to that date and beyond and all the best with addressing your current health issues.

      All the best

  8. Pingback: Race for life | Tim Wotton

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