Being a buddhist, I accept that nothing lasts, and that impermanence, suffering, and absence of solid reality are the three marks of existence. Saying this is one thing; living it is another. The actual presence of a chronic, disabling, possibly life-threatening disease is a relentless and vivid reminder of death. It wonderfully accelerates your spiritual journey.
[...from On Being Unable to Breathe, an essay by Stephen T. Butterfield in the March 1988 issue of The Sun. Republished in Stubborn Light: A Collection of Writings from the Second Decade of the Sun, pg. 521]