Much has happened over these last few months to make me look up towards the heavens…
The expression ‘the sky’s the limit’ is used when there are no limits to what something or someone can achieve and to demonstrate that anything (an ambition, aspiration etc.) is possible. This is why this term is so pertinent at the moment…
As of July this year, I have gone 21 months without a major intravenous (IV) treatment to combat my cystic fibrosis (CF)* and diabetes. It was unimaginable in my 20’s and 30’s that I could go for this duration without one of these horrid IV’s, especially when for most of my life I was habitually having them two times a year.
This ‘good run of health’ is not a straight line however. Everyday requires two-three hours of medication and I’ve battled through two winters and a few debilitating colds. Because there’s no remission with my conditions, I stick to the mantra that ‘I’m only as healthy as my last treatment’ and I certainly never take my health for granted. Indeed, I’m constantly aware of the multitude of potential CF banana skins which could hasten deterioration in my health and necessitate an IV. I therefore quietly celebrate this enforced non-IV milestone.
One huge ‘cause and effect’ with my health is the amount I can exercise and I have been jogging in the local park, going to the gym and playing some summer league veteran men’s hockey while recovering from a recent knee injury. While there is breath in my body, I will strive to keep my lungs active.
As of 19 July, I will have been married to Katie for 14 years. We have been through a lot together (and reviewed our vows a few times!) but our relationship gets richer with each passing year.
Sharing my story
My CF memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’ continues to be well-received and each week I am sent positive feedback from around the world. My public speaking opportunities are also going well. I have been invited to speak and promote my book at the Wantage (not just) Betjeman Literary Festival on 25th October. Having never presented at a book festival, I am proud to be invited.
England in June and July has enjoyed some pleasant warm weather and I’ve been particularly struck by the stunning cloud formations in the sky (see photos). I take regular time out to watch the skies; be still, turn my brain to silent and feel present. One favourite pastime with my son Felix is to lie down and observe the clouds together. These are special moments that cost nothing and the clouds are always there waiting for us – we just have to look up!
Fly from the sky
I am always deeply touched when family and friends fundraise for CF and indirectly for me. On 22 July, my good friend Mark Phillips is doing a tandem sky dive for CF. The sky really will be his limit and I admire him for this brave act to raise money for my condition. Mark is close to hitting his fundraising target, so any kind donations to help him fly like a bird would be much appreciated here.
A new life
People with CF are not meant to meet each other in person due to the risk of cross-infection but our bonds are amazingly strong as we understand the fight and resilience needed to endure what cannot yet be cured. One of my best English CF friends underwent a lung transplant on Friday and all seems to be going in the right direction for him, but it’s early. My thoughts are with him for his recovery to start a new life with healthy lungs.
Reach for the sky
The film ‘Reach for the sky’ about Douglas Bader, played by Kenneth More, who lost both legs but led Hurricane squadrons in WW2 was one of my late Dad’s favourite films. Dad (also a Douglas) has been deceased for over four years but I know he’d take great pride in reading this blog and knowing I used this title. He’s forever in my heart and that of my mum and brothers.
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.
* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,500 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.