In life actions often speak louder than words. This is especially true when applied to the sport of boxing as David Haye discovered when he came up against the man mountain Wladimir Klitschko last week.
This fight got me thinking that battling the horrid effects of Cystic Fibrosis (CF)* every day of my life is like a non-stop prize fight, where the winner takes the biggest spoils you can imagine – life itself!
Basically, I fight CF and recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes every day and I take steady punishment in the form of jabs, hooks and uppercuts that quite literally take my breath away. This is relentless stuff and my conditions keep coming for me as soon as I wake in the morning to when I fall asleep in the evening and sometimes through the night.
I do suffer knockdowns in the form of effects of colds, tiredness, stomach irritation, diabetic hypos and when my lungs are so infected that I need debilitating IV treatments. I take the count, dust myself down, grit my teeth and get back up for more!
Sometimes it feels like David versus Goliath as CF makes me feel small, weak and insignificant and I’m facing a big slayer that has finished off so many fellow CF sufferers before me.
If I’m honest, CF is a formidable and obdurate opponent – it has the height of Klitschko, the power of Mike Tyson, the agility of Floyd Patterson and the determination of Rocky Marciano.
Some of the coughing fits are so fierce that they are what I choose to call ‘de-humanizing’ – my soul feels like it leaves my body – only to return to the corpse that carries me around this world once the coughing subsides.
Indeed, George Foreman, the heavyweight boxer who fought Mohammed Ali in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire in 1974, felt that the punches he landed during that fight de-humanized Ali but he seemed to ‘come back to life’ time and time again.
However, this is not a standard 12 rounds contest that I’m facing – this has been a 40 year fight for my very breath, and the fighter in the ring with me is like an unforgiving terminator who will keep on attacking me until I give up for good and am knocked down and out for the longest sleep of my life.
All my medication, IV drugs, physiotherapy, nebulisers, injections, positive mindset, sport, alternative therapy, prayers and support from family and friends are my defence and resistance – they enable me to fight back.
With each year that goes by I’m slowing down, with energy waning and lung capacity reduced.
On my dark days, I’m really backed up against the ropes taking punch after sickening punch from CF with only the odd jab back as a reminder to my illness that I’m still there.
On brighter days, when feeling upbeat and reasonably fit, I can’t wait for the contest to start so that I can show CF who’s boss – I might even do some showboating , do the Ali shuffle and throw the odd bolo punch!
BUT most of the time it’s honours even and CF and I neutralise each other out; neither having the upper hand (or punch).
Currently in this fight for my life, I’m still standing, completely motivated to carry on battling with my conditions. I’ll still get up when knocked down and I will still be there when the bell rings for the end of each day.
A well-known 80’s boxing anthem that accompanied one of the Rocky films was called “Eye of the Tiger”. Do you remember the name of the pop band?
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
* 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