Gandhi encouraged us to be the change we want to see. My mindset towards battling the chronic illness cystic fibrosis (CF)* has been improved by two extra letters…
Certain words or descriptions can drag you down before you’re day even starts. They can chain you to a health-related jail, leaving you to be vanquished by the ravages of your condition.
Once such word for people with CF is ‘limited’ – a life with CF and its daily grind of 2-3 hours of medication, physiotherapy, nebulisers and constant coughing can be a life limiting illness. Keeping on top of everything to stay alive forces you to have many limitations in your daily life.
But by adding two letters, this word is transformed from negative to positive and at the same time acts as a springboard for change in one’s mindset.
I choose to add the two letters ‘U’ and ‘N’ to the word to give me unlimited and hence a ‘life unlimited’.
A recently launched campaign by the UK CF Trust is fighting for a life unlimited by CF for everyone affected by the condition. In essence, this means being able to breathe freely, having the same social, education and work opportunities as everyone else and living life to the full.
I fully support this worthy mission and encourage you to watch the video below to know more.
Here are aspects of my life – which help me to be the change I want to see – which are also unlimited:
• Love for my family (Katie, Felix, my mum, brothers, parents-in-law) and friends
• Desire and motivation to keep on top of my extensive CF and diabetic treatments
• Impetus to keep exercising (gym, jogs and occasional games of field hockey)
• Appetite to campaign for new transformational drugs to be made available to people with CF (like Orkambi from Vertex)
• Passion to keep challenging authorities and governments to change the donor system in the UK so more donor organs are available to save lives
• Strength to mentally fight back every day against the damage inflicted by my conditions (latest side effect is that 45 years of coughing has caused a hernia which I need to get operated on). My new moto has become: ‘If I can take it, I can make it!’
• Supply of rubbish jokes for every occasion (the 2016 vintage are some of the best yet – be warned)
• Need to keep smiling and laugh whatever is going on. I agree with Mark Twain: “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up!”
• Willingness to keep sharing my survival story, strategies and life insights to help others and if possible, offer hope to people where none exists
• Appreciating each and every day as if it’s my last and cherishing as many ‘special moments’ along the way
Small changes – adding two letters to a word – have made a big difference. What letters could change the meaning of words to help transform your life?
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 (author of Award-Winning CF Memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’)
View the short and poignant Life Unlimited video by the CF Trust
Another unlimited act is taking place this Sunday 24th April, when my long-term hockey friend Mark Tubb is running the London Marathon for CF. Please sponsor him 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.