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
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