They say attitude is everything, and I’m starting to think they’re right! When we’re facing some of life’s toughest challenges, like divorce, personal illness or the death of a loved one, having a positive attitude is easier said than done. The well-meaning friend who sends you a goofy emoji with the message “Don’t worry; be happy!” is likely to elicit more rage than joy, despite her good intentions. The hard truth is that there are times when our difficult circumstances are here to stay. But there is something we are always in control of: our attitudes.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2 to 1
One of the most difficult daily challenges so many people face is chronic disease. One particularly savage illness affecting people from all walks of life is multiple sclerosis, which has touched the lives of millions. In fact, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates there are more than 400,000 Americans living with the disease, and 2.5 million throughout the world facing MS. Sadly, the disease affects more women than men, with a ratio of 2 to 1.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Marie Heron, Creator of the Truth Be Told Podcast
Multiple sclerosis is defined as an “unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.” Is MS a scary diagnosis? Absolutely. But today’s Woman to Watch is proving that not only is there life after an MS diagnosis; there can be great joy too.
Marie Heron created a new podcast called Truth Be Told as a voice of light and encouragement for those diagnosed with MS. Following an emergency hospital visit and three days of testing, Marie was diagnosed with MS at age 24, a condition that left her with far more questions than answers. That was decades ago, when little information was available to Marie about her diagnosis. And that lack of resources was seriously terrifying. But Marie, an inherently positive person, refused to let the disease define her.
Though Marie worked diligently for many years to climb the corporate ladder and become a successful businesswoman in her home of Toronto, Canada, her MS diagnosis did put a dent in her career trajectory. After her diagnosis, she endured three relapses in quick succession, which required she take extensive time off work, resulting in her employer letting her go—a trying circumstance any chronically ill patient knows all too well.
But here’s something else Marie knows for certain: It’s good to be your own boss! Being honest with her needs, Marie took on short-term work contracts as she adapted to living with MS. Once she learned more about what the disease was like for her, she became emboldened to not let it stop her from becoming successful in her career. She took control of her life, launching her own business, a training company for receptionists.
But it’s her Truth Be Told podcast—through which she shares the truth, the reality, the heartache and the hopeful possibilities of living with the disease—that Marie is making a real impact, particularly given that her home country of Canada has the highest rate per capita of people affected by MS. Marie now employs her many years of living with MS to help those who are newly facing the disease and those who’ve been diagnosed for some time.
We are grateful to Marie, who refuses to let her circumstances, as frightening and debilitating as they may be, take over her life. For those suffering from MS, Marie says the good news is you control your story and what happens next, and that, most importantly, “You are not alone!”
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s inspiring quote comes from one of Marie Heron’s favorite poets, Ariana Dancu:
“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.