A Life with Multiple Sclerosis Has Taught Me the Importance of Letting Go of Yesterday

Life with multiple sclerosis means letting go.

By Penelope Conway

I have a problem with expecting too much from myself which in turn hurts me more than helps. This year I have made it my purpose to evaluate my life and simplify everything I’m doing as much as I can. Is that even possible? There are things I want to do, things I need to do, and things I need to let go of. Multiple sclerosis has definitely changed my perspective about everything in life.

Some of the top priorities for me are following a reasonable exercise routine, eating as healthy as possible and resting as much as possible to keep from overexerting myself. That’s not so difficult, right? Well, It’s not as easy as it may seem.

I have made my spare bedroom my exercise room. A place where I can stay focused on doing routines just for me. I have a recumbent bike to help me get my legs moving, stretch bands to help me with my upper arm strength and movement, a table to work on brain puzzles to keep my brain focused and challenged, and a set of parallel bars to help me walk again. Someday I’m believing to get to a place where I will walk on my own. I’m not ruling out any possibility but I’m not going to overdo it either.

I’m hoping to one day complete an MS walk and am still hoping that it can happen, I am just making my plan as reachable as possible. I have prepared myself mentally for failure. The old me would have over-planned and made goals unreachable, the me today is just hoping for progress day by day. If my body won’t cooperate, that’s okay. There’s always another day. It’s an ongoing process…just no quitting is allowed.

I had to learn to let go of yesterday and the failures I’ve already made. To let go of the hurts that come from not being able to do the things I used to do. To let go of the pain multiple sclerosis brings along with it. To let go of the fears. To just let it all go.

Sometimes we have to let go of the person we once were in order to see the amazing person we are becoming. You get to choose who that person is. I know I see greatness in you. I see someone who is brave, strong and courageous. Someone who has been dealt a terrible hand in life yet is still  trying to make the best of it. Someone who isn’t perfect, but then again who is? Someone who is weak in their body, but oh so strong on the inside. I hope you can see it too.

You are not a failure. You are not insignificant, useless, a burden or a disappointment. You are a beautiful, valued, remarkable person, and you have an incredible future ahead of you. You are amazing. Yes, YOU!

Living with MS is tough…but you are tougher. You are braver, you are stronger even when you are at your weakest, and you are doing it. I believe in you and know that you have a lot of amazingness to share with the world and to be a part of!

How do I know that? Because you are AMAZING!!!! So get out there and conquer.

*Penelope Conway was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November 2011. She is the author and founder of Positive Living with MS (positivelivingwithms.com) where she uses humor and her own life experiences with MS to help others navigate this unpredictable journey. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day.

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.


  • Wendy says:

    I love your posts/messages
    I can Always relate to them
    Thank you Penelope

  • bunny says:

    wow ???? powerful ???? thought ????????
    provoking. i got a “good” choked up.
    excellent reality check.
    it’s so hard to come out of 5th gear–i’ve done great over the past years(10)
    but i’m still work in progress.
    what i have learned is just because you have to downshift doesn’t make me a failure and not to beat myself up.
    it’s made me stronger, physically (realistic goals/chorus/tasks), mentally (focus on what i did vs what i didn’t)
    emotionally (i’m happy ????!!! or allowing myself to have a bad day ???? and tomorrow’s another day ????)
    we are strong ???????? superstars ????

    • Penelope Conway says:

      Bunny you are doing great and definitely not a failure. You amaze me. You are allowed bad days. We all have them. As you know I had one yesterday. 🙂

  • Petra Coetzee says:

    Thanks for your words, you are a special person ???? I’m considering to climb off the fulltime work battle so your words is precious for me especially now.

  • mike hartigan says:

    thanks penelopoe,from ireland,i find it hard to let go of past each day is a battle,thanks again for all your great words of wisdom

  • Dana Carson says:

    I want to thank you for sharing. It helps a great deal to help me understand what’s going on with my body and things I can do to help myself. I believe people don’t understand and you help me not feel alone. Thank you

  • Rodger Ashton-Smith22 says:

    Thanks Penelope we are currently looking at building a new place that will be more suitable me and I am looking forward to it.

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