Tim Wotton has the chronic lung condition cystic fibrosis (CF).
Here's Tim talking about what’s kept him going, what’s he learnt along the way and how PARI nebulisers have contributed to his ‘against the odds’ survival…
I never have one day off treatment. Each day consists of two-hours medical regime involving taking 40 tablets, inhalers, nebulisers, injections and physiotherapy.
The holy trinity for my survival has been 1. Utter commitment to my medications; 2. Regular exercise to keep my lungs active; 3. Positive mental attitude. I need all three in harmony. Just one or two and I would not still be alive.
Staying fit and healthy doesn’t rely on a begrudging compliance to taking medication, it needs something more – an absolute commitment to my wellbeing. Actually ‘wanting’, rather than ‘having’, to be healthy makes a big difference.
The daily burden of drugs is harsh, especially when it only gives me health that most normal people would despise. My ‘best days’ are like the ‘worst days’ for my healthy peers.
It is important to develop habits with taking medicines as quickly as possible, so it’s ingrained. Don’t wait for friends and family to nag you. In the long run, it’s better to own it. My mantra is “I’m only as healthy as my last treatment”.
One crucial treatment has involved the use of nebulisers. I have taken medication via different PARI nebulisers since the age of 10. This has included antibiotics, saline and mucolytics.
I never miss my nebulisers. These treatments have made a huge difference to my survival and enabled me to live an unlimited life. The PARI kit is easy to assemble, use and maintain. Fortunately, the actual time to take each dose is minimal, which makes all the difference when you have a busy life to lead.
I take a mucolytic called Dornase Alfa (DNase) as my ‘go to’ medication. This medication, which I take via my PARI eFlow rapid, has been immensely beneficial to my lung function by thinning the mucous in order to be able to cough it up more easily. Before I started taking it, I only had the energy and health to work part-time and I was playing a low level field hockey. I had played junior international hockey for England so the come down to being barely able to run was enormous.
Within weeks of taking DNase, I had the energy to work full-time and I was fit enough to play first team hockey and be competitive on the pitch. This in turn boosted my self-esteem and happiness.
CF hasn’t prevented me from traveling. I have gone to many countries on holiday or for work trips and have been able to bring my nebuliser equipment with me. The PARI eFlow nebuliser is petite and can run on batteries, which has made travelling a lot easier, especially when time is of the essence.
Mentally, battling against the odds for over 50 years does take it out of me and it’s only natural to sometimes struggle to keep positive and upbeat.
The quality of my thoughts determines the quality of my life. After a lifetime battling a relentless illness, I’ve learnt to fight it by being just as relentless back. Yes, I’ve been shaken every day in many ways, but I’m not stirred!
CF people are the most resilient I know and that counts for a lot in the outside world, especially at work, where we don’t sweat the small stuff and want to make each day count.
Due to my post traumatic growth, I’m passionate about the importance of finding ‘daily moments worth living for’, the power of nature to calm my soul and unlocking my inner wisdom through meditation and stillness.
I’ve always been able to see the next horizon. Getting to 30 was the Holy Grail. When I made it to that age, I then realised that 40 was an option. Becoming a husband and a father gave me extra motivation to keep going for a long as possible. Now being over 50 feels a great achievement.
My memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’ still resonates as I’m now 34 years beyond the projected age I was due to die from CF. It’s an amazing age to reach, but to be honest, I hope there’s a long way to go still – it’s the end of the beginning!
Born in 1971, Tim Wotton lives in South London and is married to Katie with a 15 year-old son Felix. Tim is a communications specialist in the Energy industry. He has battled for over 51 years with the life-limiting chronic lung condition cystic fibrosis (CF) as well as coping with CF-related type 1 diabetes. Tim's main blog can be found here http://timwotton.wordpress.com/