When I was 23, it felt like my life had changed. After waking up with an excruciating migraine one day that ended up turning into numbing of my face and head, I knew that something was wrong.

I went to the hospital and they performed a CT scan, prescribed some medicine, and called it a day.

When the numbing progressed, I made an appointment with my doctor who listened to my concerns, jotted down notes on a sheet of paper the way doctors do, and said, “I’m going to refer you to a neurologist.”

“Why can’t we take care of it here?” I asked.

I vividly remember my doctor looking at me and saying, “Carmen, I think you might have MS.”

My heart stopped.

At the time, I worked at JP Morgan Chase and I always had a team volunteering for the MS Walk but I couldn’t even say multiple sclerosis without getting tongue-tied.

After an appointment with a neurologist and going through a series of tests, we found out that I did in fact have MS.

After my diagnosis, I went through long periods of depression but I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me or be looked down upon at work. So instead of sharing what I was going through and allowing other people to support me, I ended up hiding it and trying to do as much as I could. Speaking truthfully, this was a big factor in me sourcing my self worth from achievement, success and doing what I could for other people. This added fuel to the fire when it came to me trying to do all the things – climbing the corporate ladder, volunteering for the community, volunteering for my kids.

To this day, doctors still don’t know what causes MS or how to treat it. So after a year of medication, I ended up creating my system of treatment that is the backbone of my four pillars health that I share with you all the time –

  • Protecting your energy
  • Nourishing your body
  • Practicing daily movement
  • Slowing down

I wanted to share my story with you right in the middle of this holiday season, because whether it’s the woman behind you at the coffee shop or the one in the car next to you at the red light, every single person around you is dealing with life. The beautiful thing about that though, is that you have an opportunity to shine a light in their life!

Over these past few days, I’ve created my own 10 Days of Giving Challenge to add a little love to those around me. If you’re feeling inspired to do some good as we close out this year, here are 10 ways to give that don’t break the bank but fill lives with a ton of joy!

  • Give out Lara bars
  • Donate your coffee money to the United Way
  • Keep a few $1 bills in your wallet to give
  • Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you
  • Get out one can of beans, tuna and veggies to donate to your local food bank
  • Write a letter of gratitude to another human
  • Sign up or donate to your local MS Walk for 2020
  • Call your grandparents and listen to them
  • Give compliments that don’t have anything to do with appearance
  • Take time to talk to a stranger

I know that the amazing and ambitious women we have in this community are capable of lighting up this holiday season for so many people!

Email me at carmen@carmenohling.com and tell me how you are going to make a difference!

Wishing you a ton of light and love,

Carmen

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