Thursday, January 22, 2015

Impossible is Nothing - Leave Your Doubts At The Starting Line #tbt 2009 Boston Marathon

So how did it come to pass that I went from being in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility and facing an uncertain and rather grim future as a survivor of paralytic polio and 9 years of childhood domestic violence to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon? In December of 2006 I had been diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and was told to quit my job, adapt my two story Cape house or move to one level, and hopefully stabilize my functioning at the level I was at which meant dependence on others or adaptive equipment to get off of a low toilet seat, communicate with others, get off the sofa and have limited mobility. I had difficulty with swallowing and speech and breathing and everything hurt.

In February of 2007 I got still in my living room. I asked for Divine Guidance. I had print outs from the New Age teachers spread out all over my dining room table. I was home alone in the midst of a cold, dark winter's day and in the dark night of my mind, body and Spirit. But not for long.

The words "I am so happy and grateful that I can create," jumped off the page.

Create? Create what? I was in menopause. I had to say goodbye to my award winning career at the VA ... and then this happened ...

From Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility:

And then I felt a stirring in my second chakra (only then I didn’t know it was my second chakra – I thought it might have been something I ate). I went over to my laptop in the corner of the living room and I wrote this poem:

Running the Race
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
Everyone around me filled with nervous fear
Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
The polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.

Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone
and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse

"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.
Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
But with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist,
curly hair and a warm, broad smile
It tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.

I always wore those 'special' shoes
the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse
with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.

Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else
and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.

Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends-
trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team
and they were on my side.

Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
Resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
For the first time in life, I could truly be me.

The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.
I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.

As poetry flowed out of me with images of joy, gratitude, healing, and wholeness, there were changes happening in my body.

I did quit my job in May of 2007. In October of 2007 I hired a personal trainer to see if there was something we could do to help me get a little stronger. She worked with me to build on the program given to me by Spaulding Rehab after I was discharged from outpatient care. By February of 2008 after meeting my initial health and fitness goals of getting off of a low toilet seat and being able to complete the assessment for health and fitness, my personal trainer asked me for my next goals.

From Coming Home:
At my six-month evaluation in February, I had dramatically improved in every area of the assessment. I had come out of my leg brace and I knew that I was on a healing path. Janine asked me what my next health and fitness goals were.

“Well I want to feel free in my body. I want to dance. I want to be able to walk outside and feel unencumbered when I take a walk.”

Janine wrote feverishly and we worked out a plan. She gathered up her belongings and had her hand on the doorknob.

“Wait. I have one more goal.”

Janine stopped and turned around.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I know they have a Race for Rehab team and I want to do it next year.”

Janine was non-plussed. I don’t know what kept her from turning tail and getting as far away from me as she could. She came back into my house and put down her things. She said that the first thing I would need is a pair of running shoes. She told me that Marathon Sports on Beacon Street would be able to help me. She laid out a cursory training plan and said that we would begin indoors to build up my cardio endurance. As soon as the weather got a little warmer, we’d go outdoors and I would learn how to run.

Whether you are training for a marathon on the roads or facing challenges in the marathon of life - Believe - believe that impossible is nothing and leave your doubts at the starting line. Some miles will feel easy; some miles you'll wonder how will I ever make it through but keep going one step, one mile at a time and remember that impossible = I'm possible!

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.

50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

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