I love shoes. I really do. Even though I’m tall—over 6 foot—I would wear 3 inch heels proudly. When multiple sclerosis came along, it messed up my shoe choices. I could no longer wear heels because my numb feet and legs were unable to manage even the slightest of wobbles or unsteadiness. I also had a tendency to walk out of a flip-flop without even realizing I had done so and slip-ons, well, let’s just say they wouldn’t stay on.
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
I hate when a storm knocks the power out unexpectedly. I have a flashlight handy for those moments along with some matches and candles to help get me through at least a few days of the pending chaos. If it should stay out longer than that I also have a small bottle of propane that I can use to cook with. It’s left over from my camping days.
Living with multiple sclerosis is much like those power outage moments. Our Central Nervous System (CNS) is short circuiting on us due to downed and broken lines. ..
As you could easily see, I am in a wheelchair. Not because I lack intelligence, am damaged, or am part of a subclass of humans. I use a wheelchair because my legs don’t work properly due to a chronic disease that has damaged the nerves in the Central Nervous System of my body…
I have this incessant itch on my upper left arm that will not go away. I try to scratch it, but oddly enough I can’t seem to find its exact location. Just when I think I’ve found it, nope…I’m wrong. I have to be careful not to scratch that area too much because my arm is completely numb, has been for a few years now, so I could easily rub it raw without even realizing the damage I’m causing.
I’m sitting in my favorite chair this morning as I write my thoughts down to start the day. The air is cool. My favorite throw blanket is lying across my lap and I’m watching some deer in my back yard munching on dew soaked grass. I have a hot cup of coffee with me and my computer in my lap…
Life is not always full of rainbows and sunshine. It’s not all puppy dogs and lollipops. I have found over the years that it can be cruel and downright painful. It can be filled with heartaches and headaches. It has this crazy ability to knock you off your feet and leave you in a puddle on the floor. You then have the task of picking up all the pieces and making sense of everything.
The world is full of selfish people. Society has become so consumed with the aspiration of becoming famous and important that they overlook and ignore the countless hurting people all around. People with disabilities are often overlooked and many times pushed aside as bothersome. Ears have been closed to their cries and eyes have been shut to their pain.
I have noticed a strange phenomenon since having multiple sclerosis. I don’t have a clue if it’s actually related to MS in any way as I’ve never heard it talked about, but I thought I would mention it so others who are dealing with the same thing don’t think they are going crazy.
When you see me, you may see my hair fixed up nicely, my makeup looking flawless, my clothes neatly pressed and my shoes coordinating with my purse. I may have everything in place from head to toe including the smile I put on and the positive attitude I carry. But underneath all the layers, below the wheelchair, urine bag and leg braces, the real me exists.
You have been through so much lately. You’ve crossed hurdle after hurdle going from one doctor’s appointment to the next. You’ve made your way through danger more than once in the past year alone. You’ve climbed mountains that no one even thought were scalable and yet you overcame the odds.
- 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.