Live to tell

This last month has seen me notch up another milestone – that of book author – as I published a memoir of my 40 year battle defying the chronic illness cystic fibrosis (CF)*. Read on for more exciting news…

The month of May really has been crazy. It started with a house full of 15 marauding children celebrating our wonderful boy’s 7th birthday. I then got a cold which wasn’t helped by playing a Phantoms hockey game in the West of England (the night out was good though). Since then I’ve been to Holland with work and I was severely chastened by the 18 months anniversary since my poor dad passed away from Motor Neurone Disease.

And now my book is published by Austin Macauley and is available for anyone in the world to read. That feels pretty awesome, humbling and bewildering in equal measures. Indeed, last week involved one of the most surreal moments in my life – lying in bed at night time, I turned over to witness Katie reading my actual book!

So, how did this book reach its ‘tell by date’?

Telling my story
After reading Jean-Dominique Bauby’s exquisite chronicle ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ in the mid 90’s, I always knew that someday I had it in me to write my own candid, funny and profound book. Well, that day has arrived.

Back in 2011, I felt that reaching the age of 40 with CF merited the sharing of my battle with this relentless condition. I wrote a diary during the year leading up to my illusive 40th and this book is the output.
To seek re-assurance on my story and written style, I have used some extracts from the book in my blog posts over the years to assess their impact. I like to think that the finished product is a thought-provoking and amusing memoir which systematically unpicks what it has taken me (physically and mentally) to defy the medical odds both with the CF and recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes.

The book elaborates on my extensive medical regime, going to University, getting a job, the importance of sport, alternative therapy, faith and a positive mental attitude to counteract the multitude of dark moments. It also highlights the significance of family support, my marriage to Katie and the rollercoaster journey we undertook to start a family which finally delivered us the awesome Felix.

I am hoping to reach a global audience with this book, the first book written by a CF sufferer at 40 (that I’m aware of). The CF community should derive some hope and survival strategies from my story while wider audiences will hopefully understand CF better and appreciate what it takes to combat it on a daily basis.

I hope that my candid story will provide insight and solace to anyone suffering with a chronic condition, but equally offer perspective to perfectly healthy people.

Tim Wotton and his book

Tim Wotton and his book

What’s in a name?
The title of the book, ‘How Have I Cheated Death?’ is not an obvious choice but it was the title of my Guardian news feature three years ago which is still popular. Trust me, I did take my time deciding on this and I looked at many other book titles…
I could have gone for some obvious titles like ‘Breathless’, ‘Survivor’ and ‘Every breath I take’. Being mischievous, I could have gone for some comedic or playful title such as:
‘Confessions of a serial pill taker’
‘Everything you wanted to know about CF but were afraid to ask…’
‘How I cured my 40 (pills) a day habit?’
‘This is 40… with CF’
‘Gone with the cough’
‘Coughin’ in the rain’
‘Cough Hard’
‘The Coughing Games’

But in the end, I was keen to be provocative and de-mystify CF for a wider audience, so I kept the Cheating Death one instead. I hope it gets your and other people’s attention…

How to order a copy
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

I sincerely hope this book strikes a chord with anyone who is kind enough to purchase a copy. Also feel free to share this book news with your family, friends and work colleagues if you feel they would be interested.
I am looking to fundraise for CF at the same time as launch this book and will keep you posted on forthcoming activities.

Our CF lives are a narrative of triumph over adversity. By overcoming this rotten illness day-in-day-out, we all demonstrate what cannot be cured needs to be endured and thus offer hope and inspiration. I’ve fortunately lived long enough to tell you my narrative. I hope it reads well…

Win a copy of my book – if you can suggest another CF-related book or film title, I’ll choose my favourite one and post a free copy of the book to the winner… best of luck!

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 (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full.

Tim Wotton

Congratulations to my cousin Sarah and CF friend Emma for successfully completing the recent London Marathon and good luck to my wife Katie as she runs both the London 10K and Parks Half-Marathon in the next few months. Should you wish you can sponsor Katie here.

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,000 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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15 Responses to Live to tell

  1. Jess says:

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Sputum
    Harry Potter and the Half Lung Function
    Lord of the Lungs: Return of the Cepacia

    Already existing:
    Rage Against the Machine; War within a breath.

  2. Smolik, Sam L says:

    Tim, it’s always terrific to get your emails. I remember our days together so fondly. I hope that I was able to play a little part with you in positive motivation and work environment.

    I’m hoping to bring Stephanie to London in September. She would love to see you, Katie and Felix. Until then, keep communicating!

    All the best,

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Sam, Always a pleasure to hear from you. Those four years working with you taught me a great deal and the warmth you showed people will never be forgotten, not least by myself.
      Be great to see you and Stephanie in Sept – let me know the details.

      All the best

  3. Jo Cherry says:

    Very excited to get your book …. Look forward to sharing it with my daughter. Best Wishes!!

  4. sarah says:

    Well done and thank you, I have purchased your book and hoping to get a better insight and tips to my 5 year old sons condition as there are days when I feel complete despair as in his whole little life he has only had about 6 months of being well.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Sarah,
      Thanks for taking time to reply. I can only hope that my book helps give you some hope for a renewed future for your dear son.
      Please let me know your feedback.

      Best wishes

  5. jez wotton says:

    Good luck with the book, bro. Everyone’s very proud of you! – Your twin brother

  6. Sara Bowery says:

    Yet another pleasure to read, downloaded your book to my kindle, looking forward to reading it.

  7. Denny says:

    Congratulations on publishing your book Tim! Good luck with it, I wish you every success. I bet it will help a lot of CF sufferers to not feel so alone. I don’t have CF but have friends who do. Funny how you were talking about having “cough” in the title, I know of another memoir called “Coughing the distance”


    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Denny, Thanks for your kind comments re the book – I do hope my openness will help others as CF can be a lonely illness at times due to the cross infection risk of meeting.
      I’ll check out the memoir you mention…
      Best wishes

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