Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: My Hero Healer - Dr. Ryan J. Means



Don't let pain or fear of pain slow you down. ~Dr. Ryan J. Means


I marvel at the confluence of events that brought Ryan J. Means, DC into my life in early 2015. He was renting space for his practice at the same place where I was going for weekly massage therapy sessions. Although I was complaining of knee pain to the therapist I worked with at the time that eventually resulted in a serious injury in December of 2014, he had never referred me to Dr. Ryan for care. However, when the Universe has a plan, things eventually do come together.

We met at the book release party for a book I have since unpublished and taken the best nuggets from that book and incorporated it into "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance." Because the Patriots were in the playoffs and the weather was lousy that evening, there was a very small turn out at the party. Towards the end of the evening, I found myself standing in the presence of this tall, blue eyed individual whose eyes sparkled and soul shined through when he talked about chiropractic medicine. I had encountered the physical therapist from hell and things were not going well the massage therapist I was working with at the time. I knew that I needed someone to partner with me to go the distance and to bring into physical reality all that I had written about in my poetry for the previous 8 years on my healing quest.

I asked him if chiropractic care could help with a knee injury. He was enthralled with my journey.

He asked me if I'd meet him for coffee so he could learn more about my healing journey. The time flew by as we had coffee at the Diesel Cafe in Somerville not far from his office.

I interviewed him for my blog. I told him I did not need a complimentary consultation. I knew I needed to work with him!

He told me about a book he was reading, "You Are The Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza. He sent me a photo from the book, "Changing the body by thought alone" that I still have on my fridge today:



From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

At Monday's appointment with Dr. Ryan, I told him how running is in my blood. He gave me tips on what to do before and after a run to manage any swelling and to be diligent in using Theraband stability trainers to strengthen my core and help with balance and agility. I decided to go in for a taping yesterday to support me for today's run. As soon as Dr. Ryan finished the taping, I could feel the healing happening on my entire leg especially on the site where I had the incision for the reconstructive leg surgery over 20 years ago. A year after the surgery, I had the hardware removed....
In Friday's KT taping session with Dr. Ryan I told him that I was so happy to be working my way back to a 5K and I would cap off my distance at 5 miles for the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash, a race I ran with my Merrimack Valley Striders family last year. He didn’t miss a beat! While Dr. Ryan performed the Graston Technique on my feet to help my body to move out of old patterns and allow my body to find its way to its natural state of wellness and goodness he said, "Why set limits?"

We are each devouring "You Are The Placebo.” It seems that I need to keep reminding myself over and over and over again about my body's tremendous capacity for healing. I shared with Dr. Ryan that on MRI, the polio virus took out the medial gastroc muscle on my left calf and that I was working on visualizing a new one. "If I could dissolve a breast tumor, why can't I grow a new gastroc right?" Dr. Ryan suggested that we tape my gastroc because the KT tape can be used to decrease inflammation (and by the way the swelling is gone from my left knee using icing before and after exercise and with the taping for runs), to brace a joint and also to activate and stimulate the muscle. Mary Mary quite contrary how does your gastroc grow? Contrary because I have "gone against" much of the advice I received from the medical community as a polio survivor which involved setting limits with the caveat, "If you use it, you will lose it."

As Dr. Ryan worked on my feet I said, "Wow." He asked me if the pressure was too much and I said, "Oh no. I just went to that place within me that ran the Boston Marathon." I told him there is nothing in the world like training for and running a marathon. As I thought about it, I felt exhilarated and then had a moment of "I can't run another marathon." I realized that I was remembering running a marathon in my body as it was then not the body I am today and certainly not the body that keeps changing, evolving, getting strong and healing all that went before. Dr. Dispenza cites with case studies including his own healing experience, proof that the body has tremendous capacities to heal. Dr. Ryan planted the seed for going the distance again as he asked the question, “Why set limits?” Why set limits indeed. I decided to ditch all the negative self talk, the naysayers who encourage me to set limits and to only take yes for an answer!




It was a tearful goodbye lunch at Boloco as he left for China but I knew that wherever Dr. Ryan went he would bring the gift of his healing.



He's done long distance healing with me, loving, encouraging and supporting me on every step of my healing journey. He was cheering me on in cyberspace as I went the distance for two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons and is over the moon excited that I am going to be training to run my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

What a special weekend we had in New York City last year! He brought KT tape and I'm sure we were quite the spectacle to behold doing a taping in a New York Deli. Oh how I'd missed his healing touch!



Here are photos from our magical two days in New York City:


We saw Tony nominated Nathan Lane in "The Front Page." We ate delicious food, walked arm in arm through Central Park and Bryant Park and celebrated my healing reminiscing about our work together.

On Thursday I am so blessed to be celebrating 10 years of healing from the day I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Thanks to my Hero Healer, Dr. Ryan J. Means, I am able to celebrate this anniversary feeling healthy, whole, vibrant and healed.

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):











Monday, May 22, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: Running is my Freedom!



As I count down the days to the ten year anniversary of when I left my 20 year award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life, I marvel at the healing and transformative power of running in my life. When I first set out on this healing odyssey on May 25th of 2007, I was still wearing a toe up leg brace:


Although I felt better than I had after first being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards, I still experienced chronic pain, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and literal and metaphorical burning in my body. However, unlike when I was first diagnosed, I had the power of my pen, my Divining Rod for healing inspiring my body to heal through the healing power of poetry and I HAD HOPE!



I had never run a day in my life until I purchased my first pair of running shoes in February of 2008 after declaring that I would run the 2009 Boston Marathon. My personal trainer was amazing believing that she could train Team McManus who had never run a marathon and had no base of athleticism for the Boston Marathon.

I discovered a sense of freedom in running. As I trained for and ran the 2009 Boston Marathon I broke free from the shackles of the image of myself as someone who was disabled.

When I trained for two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons I broke free from the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome knowing that I finally had traction on my healing journey.

I was so blessed to find my way to Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered his own method of Muscular Therapy that has enabled me to recover from a very serious knee injury in December of 2014 and to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. After our first session, he said to me, "I want you to run unencumbered."

Poetry enabled me to imagine what it would feel like to run unencumbered and free long before I ever had the physical experience of the freedom of running in my present reality.

With the love and support of my running village, I broke free from the taunts and jeers from my peers growing up. Rather than being laughed at and ridiculed because of my long metal leg brace as I struggled to keep up with my peers and was given the nickname "Easy Out Alper" (my maiden name) I was and am celebrated for all of my accomplishments in running and in my journey to health and wellness.

From being told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair 10 years ago to celebrating 10 years of healing. From feeling trapped in my body to discovering that running IS my freedom!

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: A Daring Adventure



Next Thursday marks 10 years since I took a leap of faith leaving behind an incredible salary and an award winning career as a VA social worker. Fortunately, when the Team at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio told me that the only hope for stabilizing the symptoms I experienced of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, my husband said it was a no brainer for me to quit.

It was rather a rather daring move on my part to withdraw the $60,000 in my retirement account and pay the tax penalty, and not really have a plan for money or a career. There was a force within me that said I needed to "heal my life". At the time I did not realize that what needed healing was the effects of paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma. I'd make that discovery once I started working with Jeffrey Spratt, MT as I wrote about in "Reclaim Life After Trauma: The New Normal Ten Years Later."

I had a vision for the life I wanted to create in the future. During the 6 weeks after giving my notice, I spent a lot of time imagining that life as though it was already happening in my present life. I had a loose plan for my business, New World Greeting Cards, original poetry for every occasion and fancied myself becoming a NY Times Bestselling Author with my poetry books.

My nurse manager thought I'd gone mad when I told her that I was leaving the VA and pleaded with me to reconsider my exit after initially embracing me and the need to heal my life. "You can't do this," I was told by my colleagues and I quietly showed them that yes I could.

I left on a wing and a prayer working to heal myself with the inspirational poetry that flowed out of me.

Despite the warnings from the Post-Polio Team at Spaulding Rehab, I harnessed the faith of my beloved physical therapist at another Spaulding location who refused to treat me like a polio survivor and held the belief that I could get stronger and heal. I dared to hire a personal trainer to see if I could get stronger and when I asked her what she thought about my situation at the time she said:


I dared to set a goal to run the 2009 Boston Marathon shortly after coming out of my leg brace six months after working with my personal trainer. When we first started working together, I couldn't pass the initial evaluation.

I dared at every turn to move forward in my journey ditching so called therapeutic modalities that weren't working for me and getting out of toxic situations and relationships that I was drawn to because of my past.

I was terrified and had no idea what the future held for me - if I even had a future given how I felt at the time and given the diagnosis and prognosis I was given.

Here I am - 10 years later, poised and ready to train for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon, financially stable, training 5 days a week and working as Jeffrey's Communications and PR Director spreading the word about his life changing work.

And to all those naysayers who told me that I couldn't possibly quit my award winning VA social work career just 3 years shy of when I was "eligible" to retire, who said that I was facing a future in a wheelchair and there was no way that I would/should/could ever be a runner; to all those who told me I was taking too big a risk and really needed to reconsider what I was doing I have 3 words....HOLD MY BEER! because after all life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.


To going the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.






Friday, May 19, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: Oh the places you'll go!



While recovering from paralytic polio at the age of 5, I had a wonderful and wise, compassionate and kind physical therapist Miss Holly. I can still see her face and feel her presence to this day. Despite the abandonment and neglect I experienced from my mother after contracting polio, I was able to experience my earth angel 5 days a week. She picked me up and had me sit on the red leather chairs in Dr. Moskowitz's office (one of the leading rehab physicians in New York who was treating polio survivors) and had me choose a Dr. Seuss book. We read it together and then during the incredibly painful physical therapy sessions, she would have me recite Dr. Seuss back to her in tandem. My favorite was The Cat in the Hat.

I marvel at the fact that, shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, in February of 2007, I began writing poetry in the cadence of Dr. Seuss. The first poem I wrote, "Running the Race" foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

I've had so many incredible running adventures since I began running in Spring of 2008 and met some of the most incredible people along the way such as running greats Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Jacqueline Hansen, Bart Yasso, Jack Fultz, Geoffrey Smith and the list goes on and on and on....



I've been blessed to share my journey and message of healing, hope and possibility at:

L Street Running Club


Marathon Sports Brookline


Celebrated by Phil Lipof and J. Alain Ferry at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run for Prostate Cancer


At The Red Parrot speaking with The Chanticleer Retirement Mens Group


And was featured on Channel 7 News


Merrimack Valley Striders Club being acknowledged by Boston Channel 7's Steve Cooper as an inspirational Boston Marathon story


And then, just 3 short months after partnering with Jeffrey Spratt, MT in July of 2015, I was ready to go to a place I had not been to in 8 years declaring that I would run the Half Marathon in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016.

I took on the longest distance since I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon. The last time I had been in Bermuda shortly after the diagnosis, I wore a leg brace, used a cane, needed a wrist splint and basically felt miserable needing a wheelchair to get around the airports.

I had a triumphant return to the Island and had a most magical experience throughout the entire weekend culminating with this moment of celebration:


We returned for a 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in 2017:


And I'm getting ready to begin training for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in January of 2018.

Ten years ago next Thursday, on 5/25/07 I turned in my keys and left my award winning 20 year career as a VA social worker behind me.

I was off to great places - that day was my day - my mountain was waiting and I got on my way....

I had no idea what the future held for me....

And now, in large part because of the power of Jeffrey's innovative therapeutic touch and compassionate presence, my own determination and fiery spirit, I am getting ready to celebrate Ten Years of Healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma!

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: Don't Stop Believing!



I fervently believe that I would not be celebrating 10 years of healing from the effects of paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma had I not been blessed to find my way to Jeffrey Spratt, MT - pioneer and trailblazer in the field of muscular therapy.

Before partnering with Jeffrey in April, 2015 I kept hitting a wall in my journey to experience health and wellness; to experience the fullness of life and a sense of vibrancy mind, body and soul.

It was eight years of working to heal virtually on my own before I was blessed to first find my way to Ryan J. Means, DC, a chiropractic healer who primed the pump for me to be able to receive the power of positive touch with Jeffrey and the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

While I was passionate, determined and strong willed about healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma after I took a leap of faith on May 25, 2007, leaving my award winning VA social work career just 3 years of shy of when I was eligible for retirement, I could not get momentum on my journey to health and wellness.

So what happened? So what's the difference?

The body workers that I found my way to were, with one exception, ineffective and in some instances, created more harm than healing. They followed the techniques of "gurus" and were concerned with following protocols, maintaining "boundaries" and believed that they were the ones who would and should dictate what happens in the treatment room.

When I reflect on the modalities that the other people I saw used, I realize that they are based on power and control, imposing their view of what is needed onto the client. They are the experts! Of course I was drawn to these other people because that is all that I'd been conditioned to experience. What really strikes me is how they talk about distancing yourself from the client.

KMI Structural Integration and Rolfing involve the body worker knowing what is right for the client to "heal" them. There is a smugness among the "providers" in the community along with an arrogance that they are the ones who can fix what is wrong with the client.

I read Fritz Smith's book about Zero Balancing and was struck by the terminology he used. Fulcrums, maintaining an optimal distance from your client to keep the energy fields clear, verbal fulcrums that you can learn to stimulate healing in your client.

The words and techniques of both KMI and Zero Balancing involve edges and bones and either aggression or passivity and leave out a key component in the work - the power of being a compassionate presence with another and opening their hearts to bring comfort and relief.



I was incredibly vulnerable to those using KMI and Zero Balancing given my trauma history. Every day I thank the Universe I found my way to Jeffrey which was no accident. I was writing about running unencumbered and free and reclaiming my life in my poetry. Jeffrey was creating Spratt Muscular Therapies whose motto is Reclaim Advantage. Reclaim Life. In my first treatment with him he set the intention for me to run unencumbered knowing very little about me. Jeffrey literally and figuratively dives right into the work with heart, hands and soul to bring relief, comfort and healing. He is a humble healer and while he is the "expert" in the room he loves to say that he is providing warm hands to allow the body's natural capacity to heal to be released!

Jeffrey exudes passion about his work and his dedication to the practice and profession of Massage Therapy is second to none.

Jeffrey and I are both fans of The West Wing. We often talk about this scene in reference to what makes muscular therapy effective:
BARTLET
Okay, let's get on coming up with a language plan for talking more
realistically about the economy. That session this morning with the advisors;
everybody's got a magic lever they want you to push. I studied economics all
my life but in this job only a fool is ever certain. You don't push any one
lever; you wanna push a little on them all.

JOSH
From every theory in moderation...


While Jeffrey has a specific framework he uses in the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that he pioneered, it allows him to bring in whatever techniques and modalities are going to be most effective during any particular treatment session.

He listens deeply with his hands, his heart and his soul and gets out of the way to allow the Divine which we also like to say is The Force to work through him guiding the work.

In March of 2015, I had just about given up on having anyone who could partner with me to go the distance.

I did not, however, stop believing and Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey came into my life.

I'm getting ready to train for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon after being told in December of 2014 that I needed a total knee replacement and should not/would not/could not run any distance again. It was also suggested to me that I go back to the Post-Polio Clinic for a reevaluation because after all, it was only a matter of time before the symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome returned. It was, after all, a progressive neuromuscular disease.

I am grateful for all the lessons I learned and the people I encountered on this almost 10 year amazing healing odyssey but I am especially, deeply grateful to Ryan and Jeffrey for partnering with me, believing in me to go the distance in healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma!

To anyone dealing with any physical or mental health challenges I have one thing to say -- Don't Stop Believing and don't quit before the miracle happens!




To going the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.