This article presents partial findings of a research project focusing on what it means to live with chronic disease and suffering. The article focuses on suffering in relation to contracting and living with chronic disease.

The research is qualitative and the approach is phenomenological-hermeneutic.

Eighteen patients were interviewed. These were divided into groups of six, diagnosed with either diabetes type 1, colitis ulcerosa, or coronary occlusion in its rehabilitation phase.

Irrespective of diagnosis, the objective was to find aspects and issues relating to the patient’s experience of suffering and disease, and show how these influence the way he/she copes with daily life.

The article shows that there are many sides to suffering. It can be experienced as a shadow in the shape of angst or fear of dying. The question of suffering as a shadow and hope as a consolation and a way of finding a new purpose in life are closely bound up with having to live with a chronic disease, no matter what the diagnosis.