Lately I’ve been losing every argument I have with my body. I haven’t been to the mailbox in days. Yes, I said days. Actually, it’s been almost an entire week. I know there is mail out there. Envelopes that are probably lonely, cold and scared of the dark, but it’s just not that important to me right now. I’m sure if there was a million dollar check tucked away in there I would be able to convince my body to venture out, but since it’s mostly all just loan offers, advertisements and bills, what’s the point?!
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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
Have you ever had something like this happen?
You share your multiple sclerosis journey with someone and they proceed to tell you how their approach to MS or some other ailment is the only way you should be living? That because you go to doctors and take meds, you are doing it all wrong? That you wouldn’t have the struggle you are having if you would just do things their way? That if you only ________ (fill in the blank) you would feel better?
There are a lot of things about multiple sclerosis that I just don’t like. I’m not a fan of brain fog moments, weak and numb body parts, or trembling hands, but one of the worst symptoms I have to deal with is not being able to properly manage my emotions. It’s really, really weird too.
My vision is truly awful and has only continued to decline. There isn’t really a word to accurately describe my eyesight woes. Just when everything seems to be getting better, MS sneaks in with a double whammy. Bam kapow!
A life with Multiple Sclerosis is filled with some crazy moments. It’s not a disease for wimps, that’s for sure. Take some time to learn more about the things those of us living with MS face.
Dear Multiple Sclerosis,
I want you to know that you are not the boss of me. Sure, you have made my life a living hell. You may have caused me countless tears. You may be the reason I had to quit my job, have lost seemingly great friendships, and am facing unprecedented financial difficulties. You may make my body weak, my thoughts a jumbled mess, my body tremble and my vision blurry, but you will never, and I mean NEVER, have the satisfaction of stealing my hope.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the non-stop flight to a life with Multiple Sclerosis. On behalf of the Captain and the entire crew, welcome aboard. In preparation for takeoff, please ensure all negative attitudes are properly stowed in an overhead bin. Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt.
One day Multiple Sclerosis will be no more. It will not be able to cause pain, fatigue, weakness, and those crazy frozen brain moments. It will no longer have the opportunity to harass or hurt another person in the world. Its attempts to cause any kind of harm will be foiled.
One of the most difficult days in my life was the day I handed my boss the resignation letter that ended my career. I had been raised to take pride in my work and to work hard to make something of myself. Quitting just didn’t fit that mindset. It went against everything I knew.
There is an entire world filled with people who don’t understand Multiple Sclerosis. I know since you don’t live with the disease yourself it is hard to comprehend, but I hope what I have to say will help open your eyes and heart to what life is really like for me…hopefully giving you insight and understanding into the life of someone living with MS.
- 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 after she was diagnosed with MS. 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.