Q: When Is Having a Chronic Illness a Good Thing?

Editor’s Note: Struggling with my own chronic illness issues lately, I’ve found it difficult to admit that sometimes it can get the better of me. Having the energy to write has been a challenge. My mind badgers me to post something or else I’m guilty of neglect. Neglecting the blog, readers, my integrity. As we know, it is sooo easy to think the negative about ourselves. When I went cruising into the archives to look for inspiration, I found this post. As soon as I read it again, my mind settled into a more peaceful place. I hope it you find it helpful, too.

Q: When Is Having a Chronic Illness a Good Thing?

A: When it makes you a better, deeper, more thoughtful person.

Yesterday my friend Mary Cimiluca sent me this note. Ironically I had been looking for this very quote for a month! Or maybe it wasn’t irony. Maybe it was one of those cosmic, spiritual connection things! Now that gives me goosebumps! Whatever it was, I was very happy to receive it. Mary is the Producer and Writer for the Website and Facebook pages for the Viktor Frankl Movie, Victor & I, a very cool and needed project documenting the genius of Dr. Frankl. It is amazing she had any time to write me at all!

With her permission, her message…

” I thought you might enjoy this quote a friend sent me today since like me, you have talked about living with chronic illness…this is ¬†from the book, “The Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfeld Jamison… In her epilogue she writes, given a chance whether to choose her illness or not, she says that she would (and now I quote her):

‘…Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death ‘as close as dungarees,’ appreciated it – and life – more; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through.’ “

Many who struggle with chronic illness, or care for someone who does, feel the same way. Can you relate to this quote? Please share your thoughts.


  • i am the friend who forwarded the quote to mary. then she forwarded it to you. isn’t it just amazing.

    • It is amazing, the ripples in the pond that go out and out touching far shores you never imagined. Thank you for tossing in the first pebble.

  • Janko


  • Lynn Dover

    My health makes me easily fatigued which means that I have plenty of time to think. That enforced introspection has, I suspect, made me a better parent, a better wife and, possibly, a better person. I am certainly much wiser and more in tune with the world around me than I was.

    But I was a fairly talented mathematician and now I struggle to concentrate on even simple matters. I miss the joy of math with an intensity that is hard to describe and I like to think that I might have contributed something to the world at large if I hadn’t been stopped in my tracks.

    Is having chronic illness a good thing? Like so many other things, it has its plusses and minuses. It just is.

    • Dear Lynn, I did not mean is chronic illness a good thing, only when CAN it be a good thing. We spend a great deal of time focusing on the loss and pain, I wanted to provide another perspective as well.

      Your loss is real and you have a right to grieve.


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