How can anyone live with a chronic illness and still smile? How is it that I am able to find happiness after a disease has stolen away a flourishing career, ended friendships, isolated me from much of the world, and many times confined me to my house? How is it that I am not falling apart along with the rest of my world?
Author Archive for: penelope
About Penelope Conway
It was November 21, 2011, that Penelope Conway was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She had no prior symptoms or signs and onset was quick. Within three weeks time, she was experiencing numbness to the right side of her face, right torso, and both legs; was having bladder and bowel dysfunction; and optic neuritis set in causing her to lose color in the left eye along with giving her blurred vision. The doctors didn’t take long to come to a diagnosis. After an MRI and a spinal tap, it was clear… this was Multiple Sclerosis.
She had a hard time coming to terms with being diagnosed with a chronic illness. After all, she had plans, and MS was not one of them. And what was MS anyway? She spent the next few months researching and digging for information. The information she found was scary, but deep inside, she knew that this was not the end to her life or to what she was capable of becoming. Many nights, she cried and was still in denial, but as the months passed, she began to see that even though she was in pain every day and her body limited her, there was still a life to be lived… and she was determined to live it.
Entries by Penelope Conway
There are times I wish everyone would just go away and leave me alone so I can clear my head and distance myself from all the drama, arguments, pain and chaos in the world; to find such a place where I can cry as much as I need to and let out a scream or two from time to time—even if only for 5 minutes…
This week, Monday came and went without incident. The only problem is that I don’t remember Saturday or Sunday having been lived through. I have tried hard thinking about the weekend but the only thing I can remember is that I can’t remember…
Words. We all use them. When we aren’t speaking them out loud, we are thinking them in our heads or writing them down on scraps of paper. Not one day goes by without the use of words. My words, though, seem to come out all mixed up…
I remember as a kid taking time to lie in the grass, look up at the sky and discover a world of cloud shaped wonders. Once I saw a bunny eat an elephant, then it pooped out a bear. It seems the impossible can happen with a little bit of imagination and a sky full of clouds. I mean, who ever heard of a bunny eating an elephant before? But I saw it happen right before my very eyes…
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed…
Last summer the heat outside kicked my butt. I tried all the normal tricks to remain cool and keep my core body temperature down, but no matter what I did my body grew weaker as the summer progressed. I’m not looking forward to the coming hotter days…
I think I slept a total of 3 hours last night if I were to add up all the time I wasn’t actually watching the minutes tick by. Boy, can I feel it already today too. Nights like that make for some really interesting days. You will find me yawning in the shower, as I work, and even as I eat. It’s funny how that happens…
I have come through many days feeling emotionally as if I were hanging by a thread. That kind of feeling can be scary and so very real. It’s hard to talk about things like that with someone who isn’t where you are in the middle of MS and life.
The first thing I do every morning is pour myself a cup of coffee and sit in my favorite chair with my laptop to write my morning thoughts for you. If someone would have told me several years ago that my thoughts about my life with Multiple Sclerosis would be read by people all around the world, I would have probably looked at them crosseyed and lopsided.
- Simplify your life.
- Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Take time for yourself, even if it means saying "no" to others.
- Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
- Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don't have.
- Help others.
About Positive Living with MS
Positive Living with MS was started by Penelope Conway who was diagnosed with MS in 2013. She found few resources for positive encouragement; to laugh, cry, share, and just feel normal in the midst of a life of chaos; so she decided to start something herself. Positive Living with MS was birthed out of Penelope’s desire to show others that regardless of the challenge, we can all enjoy life to the fullest and find a smile in the storm.