Living with Chronic Illness — Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem or Seize the Day is a maxim that people with chronic illness usually follow. Every day brings surprises, some good, some bad. This is a day that something good happened, and I grabbed it with both hands.

On Wednesday I had a great plan. Creating an order to my day helps me feel like I have control over my life. It can be very mundane things, like making my bed, hoovering, or preparing a nice dinner. Also as part of the day, I usually try to do some “work”. My opportunities for real work is very limited, as my mobility is poor, due to my multiple sclerosis, and because of my unending headache (level 5/10 at a minimum) concentrating on anything for more than 20–30 minutes makes my head explode. I had even planned to do some transcription work.

The day started, and I went through my stable routine, breakfast, meditation, journal and then to the shop to get something to make dinner. As I walked back into the house I felt something very strange. There was warmth on the side of my face. Strange. Even welcome. Comforting. The sun had peaked from behind the clouds, and it had bestowed on me the grace of its gentle touch. A surge of excitement started to well up inside me. Spring had arrived.


Ireland, and especially Connemara, is a place with a very consistent weather pattern. Rain and grey clouds are the usual condition. Accompanying this is wind, of various intensities. An abundance of this dampness surrounds us, with rivers and lake, small waterfalls, the rocks exposed as any soil was washed away. The only earth that remains has been held in place by the myriad roots of the boggy plants that eke of an existence in the swampy soil that surrounds us. At times we see dust left behind after rain from the south. This dust has the red hue of the Sahara, as they arid air in this vast desert allows the sand to rise high in the atmosphere, eventually landing here, and this western isle.

But on this day the sun that created the Sahara, a place that desires the rain that is our constant companion, graced us this its warming touch. I abandoned all my previous plans, found a chair to put in the sun, grabbed some lemonade, and a bite to eat for lunch, and wallowed in the heat. This was purely for medicinal reasons, I needed the vitamin D that the sun helps create in my body. This was my tenuous excuse. The reality was I needed to feel the energy of this yellow orb. It’s life-giving force, giving fuel to the trees, and plants. The birds Spring Chorus was exultant, with the gentle buzzing of bees searching for those flowers that had awoken from their Winter slumber.

I stayed there for the afternoon, not stirring, enjoying every moment. These opportunities arrive on our doorstep, infrequently, and we have a choice. The work, and jobs, will be there the next day, but this, this glorious sun, maybe only here for a few hours. I grabbed it with both hands, and luxuriated in its presence, dreaming that my toes were in the sands of southern Spain. What a day!! It will remain in my memory, giving back its warmth on the next day of rain, grey clouds and wind.

This is a lesson that I have learned from my chronic illness. Take the opportunity when it arrives. Grab it with both hands and don’t let go. This memory could stay with you forever. Let me know if you do this, and what do you remember.

Please share. Thank you.

Originally published at on April 21, 2018.

Having lived with chronic illness for more than a quarter of a century I am now sharing my experiences. I post on, Facebook and Twitter

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