Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

In the Blink of an Eye

Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness deeply relates to the title of this post.  It’s amazing to me how fast circumstances change in our lives and the world around us.  I feel as if I’ve got a pretty good handle on this concept but the Universe for some reason thought I needed a refresher course.  I was on my way to an event last evening when I was part of a four car auto accident.  Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and I’ve come to understand that the car is a thing, it’s metal and has no feelings and life will move forward.  As the accident was about to happen and life moves in slow motion I can reflect back and think the thought that was streaming through my head…”everything is about to change”.

I woke up this morning expecting to be very sore but I was spared the aches and pains associated with such an accident.  Has my life changed?  It certainly reinforced my belief that as long as I’m alive I have one more day to make an impact on the world.  I know deep in my heart that non-attachment to things is beneficial to my health and well-being.  I know that safety and security are two of the most important things in my life.

Facing a health challenge is the same way; in an instant everything you believed before the diagnosis is different.  Colors are different, flavors taste different and how you walk in the world is different.  You get stripped naked (figuratively) and there is a vulnerability that many have never experienced before in their lives and that’s quite a shock.  Panic may set in and that’s natural.  Fear may set in and that ‘s natural.  Uncertainty abounds and that’s natural.  The question many ask themselves is, “what will happen tomorrow?”

It would be great if we could find a way not to blink thus keeping life the way it was before the diagnosis, but that’s not possible and is definitely magical thinking.  Maybe the goal is to blink more.  Think of what happens when you get something in your eye; the irritation causes you to blink and blinking helps wash away the intruder.  Washing away the dust so you can see clearly is important to taking on your health challenge and re-orienting yourself to the path you will now walk.

How did you handle the before and after moment?  What has changed for you since the Universe made you blink?


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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