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.
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 remember getting my first pair of glasses when I was 12 years old. I left the store the day I picked them up and was shocked at how clear I could see everything. I was able to see every leaf on the trees outside. They were green blurs before, but with glasses I was able to see every vein and ridge. It was amazing to me how beautiful the world was when everything was in focus.
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.
Have you ever lived through an earthquake? It’s such a strange feeling and can be quite scary. I woke up to one once in the middle of the night. I remember my bed shaking as if someone had grabbed ahold of the headboard and was tossing me about. Thankfully it was a minor quake and […]
Being a positive person while living with multiple sclerosis sounds like an oxymoron. Is it even possible to do both at the same time? Some would say it can’t be done. They would say that life becomes too full of uncertainties, pain and complications that there is no way to face it with a positive attitude. But it can be done and is being done by thousands of people around the world every single day.
Multiple Sclerosis affects everyone differently, but even in our differences we have similarities. It’s interesting to sit in a room full of people living with MS and hear their stories. Some make you cry, some make you laugh, but they all make you thankful because you know you are surrounded by people who understand.
Most people don’t have to think about doing the simple things in life like answering the door when an unexpected visitor arrives, picking up some toilet paper at the grocery store or helping out a friend until something like multiple sclerosis comes along and messes with those seemingly simple tasks or plans.
I asked people living with Multiple Sclerosis to share a piece of advice that they feel would benefit those newly diagnosed with MS. The response was overwhelming and very informative. I put together a list of their answers and hope it will encourage even those who have been living with MS for years…
I understand how it feels to be drowning in medical bills, strained relationships, physical and mental exhaustion, stressful decision making and demanding responsibilities. Add to that the fact that I’m living every second of every day with multiple sclerosis and I might as well just crawl back into bed each morning before the sun even comes up and call it a day.
Lately I think I have experienced every emotion imaginable. I have cried more than usual, lost my temper for seemingly stupid and even unknown reasons, and become more withdrawn than I ever thought possible simply because my body and brain won’t cooperate. Here are a few things I wish more people would try harder to understand about life with Multiple Sclerosis:
- 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.