Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! "Crossing the River of Change"

Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about crossing the river of change with fear at your back. "Crossing the river of change requires that you leave the same familiar predictable self— connected to the same thoughts, same choices, same behaviors, and same feelings—and step into a void of the unknown. The gap between the old self and the new self is the biological death of your old personality. If the old self must die, then you have to create a new self with new thoughts, new choices, new behaviors, and new emotions. Entering this river is stepping toward a new unpredictable, unfamiliar self. The unknown is the only place where you can create—you cannot create anything new from the known.”

Part of my memorized self was feeling less than.... and harboring jealous feelings to those who have not experienced the extent of trauma and challenges that I have experienced. I shared with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, my confidante, healer and dear friend that when I thought about clients who could just show up and let go on the treatment table and enjoy the "yumminess" he offers as part of his treatments, I felt jealous and frustrated. After yesterday's treatment which was another profoundly transformational massage therapy session, I had a new experience. I felt incredible strength and honor in all that I have overcome. There are more and more moments of being able to thoroughly let in Jeffrey's touch to heal and experience the yumminess complete with goosebumps. There is powerful positive momentum happening in bringing to light all that needs to be healed and transforming the terror and the memories so they no longer are a driving force in my life. I already notice how trauma triggers quickly come and go. I draw strength and comfort from my time on the table and reprogram myself from being conditioned to pain and fear to experiencing being nurtured, feeling at ease, and feeling unencumbered by the horror of my past. What a blessing that I don't have to bear any of this alone anymore but rather have Jeffrey bear witness and hold the space for me to process it all while he provides compassionate presence. What a gift!

We have unearthed the horror of it all but in addition, and most importantly, we have unearthed my treasures!

I feel a new connection to my left leg and can feel my muscle memory from before the sh** hit the fan in my life in my feet and all the way through my legs. I feel "factory new." We are healing the terror and bathing the wounds with the power of positive quality touch, compassion and the healing power of Divine Love.

Navigating the river of change and experiencing life in a new way is at once frightening and exhilarating.

It takes courage to go on this journey but the rewards are so very sweet.

Two weeks from today I will be at the Rosedon Hotel in Bermuda trained and ready to run my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. It's going to be epic! For six months I trained for 5 days with running, swimming, Arc Trainer, Bike and strength training. Twelve miles in the pouring rain last Saturday was magical. This is my new normal. Travel and work and representing Spratt Muscular Therapies; sharing my journey, training and living a full, vibrant life feeling whole and (w)holy integrated at 63 YEARS OLD!

Crossing the river of change with fear at my back, my bestie Tom by my side and partnering with master muscular therapist Jeffrey Spratt! I am excited for what 2017 will bring!

To your health and wellness,

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Divine Intelligence of our Bodies

In the 1980's, I was hospitalized with a staph infection in my right arm. I was initially misdiagnosed and the staph infection went into my bone. Fortunately, an earth angel, Dr. Donald Reilly snatched me from the jaws of misdiagnosis and mismanagement of the condition which could have otherwise resulted in the permanent loss of use of my right arm. During my extended inpatient stay, I met another earth angel, Beth Jordan, RN who brought me cassette tapes of Bernie Siegel, MD. Through the years Bernie has been my labor coach through many rebirthings and healings. He was there for me in December of 2006 after the diagnosis of post polio syndrome and cheered me on in cyberspace to my Boston Marathon finish line in April 2009. The wisdom he shares, which is drawn from the Divine consciousness helped me to dissolve a breast tumor, to clear out the negative energy through interpretation of my drawings to help me resolve 10 years of infertility and his message of love, medicine and miracles fueled these last two years of my healing odyssey after a serious knee injury.

I often joke with Bernie about being a slow learner but it does take us all awhile to remember that we are worthy of love and healing especially when, in my situation, I had family members who wanted me dead.

I am so blessed that I found my way to two healers who subscribe to the same philosophy of healing as I do. Dr. Ryan Means, a healer chiropractor reminded me of my body's Divine Intelligence and turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and the teachers in "What the bleep do we know..." Coincidentally, "What the bleep..." is one of Jeffrey Spratt,MT's favorite movies! I met Jeffrey two months after Ryan and we have harnessed the power of the Divine to reverse and heal the damaging effects of paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members which did not allow my body's natural ability to heal to take over after contracting polio. My mind, body and Spirit went into survival mode. Layer upon layer of abuse and trauma got stuck in my body until everything shut down and cried out for healing 10 years ago with the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease.

If I would have listened to the doctor and the team at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio, I would be in a wheelchair by now with limited functional capacity. Their message was one of fear: If you use it you will lose it believing that because my nervous system was already compromised as a result of polio, as I aged, the decline associated with aging would be accelerated. Instead, I discovered the gift of poetry in my soul. My pen became my divining rod for healing as I wrote poetry that liberated my mind, body and soul and foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

Despite all outward appearances and what the Team was telling me, what the "experts" were saying about post polio syndrome, my inner wisdom told me I had to get moving! After being discharged from Spaulding Rehab's Outpatient care, I hired a personal trainer. She believed in the body's innate capacity to heal and get stronger and about the mind body connection. When I asked her if I thought she thought there was anything she could do for me to help me get a little stronger and build on the program Spaulding Rehab gave to me, her retort was:

In February of 2008 when she asked me my next goals for personal training, after a list that included I want to walk outside unencumbered and diversify my training, the words, "And I want to run the 2009 Boston Marathon to raise money for Spaulding Rehab" fell out of my mouth. Against medical advice, against the advice of the post polio expert Dr. Julie Silver at the time, I did use it - and I didn't lose it but I also could not get traction on my healing journey.

If I would have listened to the doctor, the physical therapists at Spaulding Rehab's Aquatics Therapy class, the physical therapist from hell I saw at Spaulding and even the massage therapist I was working with after a serious knee injury in December of 2014, I would certainly not be poised and ready to toe the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon two weeks from Sunday. Their admonishment was running was bad for me. Okay if I was going to run no more than a 5K - 5 miles at most but be prepared for a lot of pain and a total knee replacement in a few years. "You have no gastroc muscle. It was long gone after the polio. You've got no cartilage, bone spurs, degenerative osteoarthritis...." and the list went on and on!

Dr. Ryan helped me to plant the seeds to grow a new gastroc muscle using Kinesiotaping and joining with me harnessing the power of my imagination.

In my very first treatment with Jeffrey on 4/19/15 he said to me with total confidence, "What leg are we rehabbing?" and at the end of the treatment set the intention that, "I want you to run unencumbered."

Jeffrey pioneered his very own method of muscular therapy aptly called the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. Last Thursday after my body released a powerful traumatic memory in Wednesday's treatment, and, through touch and compassionate presence, we healed that memory, I had a resurgence of muscle memory before polio and violence took over my life. In my 12 mile run on Saturday, I was able to soften and release the habitual posture of defending myself against the onslaught of beatings within an inch of my life.

The beauty of the Spratt Method is that throughout the treatment Jeffrey is working with the whole body over and over again to bring relief and loosen the gunk that is stuck in the body. Memories are stored in the body and last Wednesday we were both privy to a magnificent and rather stunning release of what we call a core memory so that it could be healed. The presence of Divine Intelligence and Divine Love flowing through this entire process releases the body's natural capacity to heal.

During these past 10 years I sought out many body workers in an effort to reclaim my life and experience freedom in my body. Now there are many paths to healing and each person finds their own way. However, I suffered at the hands of so called healers who were recreating dynamics of the very relationships that I was trying to heal using modalities that did not serve me at all!

KMI Structural Integration is a protocol of 12 sessions that begins with the client standing before the body worker clad in a sports bra and underwear or shorts or a two piece bathing suit. The body worker assesses with their eyes what they believe to be the body's imbalances and then imposing the protocol on the body to create change from the outside in. For me it was a method based on aggression and imbalance of power. There was not a sense of partnership between client and body worker. They knew what was right for the body and were going to be the ones to get the body to where it needed to be. As I experienced in Saturday's training run and when my feet hit the floor on Thursday morning after Wednesday's treatment with Jeffrey, my body found its way to a state of comfort and ease.

Zero Balancing was the other extreme to KMI. It uses a very light almost imperceptible touch to try to help the body reorganize itself. The founder of Zero Balancing makes it very clear that the worker needs to maintain strict energetic boundaries and protect themselves from the client's energy. This distancing of feeling and touch and being left alone to sort out my body's reactions to the work recapitulated the trauma of abandonment and neglect from when I contracted paralytic polio and was left to manage on my own by my drug addicted mother. It's no wonder I suffered a knee injury in December 2014 working with a massage therapist who was non committal in touch, intention and presence.

Fortunately, through the grace of the Universe and all that I set in motion for my healing through my poetry conjuring up healers in my mind's eye, I found my way to Jeffrey. He gets out of the way to allow Divine Intelligence to flow through him and his powerful positive quality touch using the method he pioneered, facilitates my body's natural ability to heal. He brings unconditional love, non-judgment, a grounding and strength and a powerful intention to help me reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life through the work. Through his methodical exploration and working with the whole body throughout the treatment, his hands are his eyes to experience what is needed to help the body restore balance and wholeness, helping me to feel (w)holy integrated.

It's fun now for me to harness the power of Divine Intelligence when I'm out on a run or going about my daily life. Morning and evening meditation keeps me connected to Source so I become the creator rather than the victim of my life and the circumstances of my past. I like to say that Jeffrey's healing hands and heart help me to create the masterpiece of my life.

A powerful force gets unleashed when we harness the power of love and Divine Intelligence....

a very powerful force that I use to create the miracle of healing in my life, to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life and transcend the toxic effects of my past.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Bermuda Ready

As I stepped on the floor Thursday morning after Wednesday afternoon's powerful transformative massage therapy session with Jeffrey Spratt, MT I experienced muscle memory of being a 5 year old ballerina before the proverbial sh** hit the fan in my life. It was before paralytic polio and before 9 years of violence. I felt my feet inside my Capezio ballet slippers on the polished light wood grain floor in Miss Patricia's Dance Studio.

I felt graceful, strong, flexible and FREE!

On Saturday we had our last long run before toeing the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon on January 15th. It was a test of mind, body and soul being out there in the pouring rain and one that reminded me what I am made of especially at mile 10 when I wanted to quit.

My right IT band and right knee got really tight early on in the run. I softened reminding myself, as I have learned through partnering with Jeffrey, that I no longer need to hold myself in the defensive stance of a child and adolescent who was brutalized every night for 9 years. What a joy when I was able to release the tightness and know that I am no longer a victim to my body or the memories of those who perpetrated such horrors upon me.

When I first presented to Jeffrey after suffering a serious knee injury two years ago, my primary goal was to get back to the sport that is my medicine, my therapy and helps me to feel free! I was imprisoned in my body after contracting paralytic polio and then family members imprisoned me with their violence, a result of mental illness and substance abuse. Layer upon layer of abuse built up inside of me until everything began to shut down 10 years ago this month in the guise of post polio syndrome. Together we have been able to unearth and heal the memories so I can feel free in my body; free to no longer fear my body is going to break or get injured or betray me again and to know that I can walk away from situations that are hurtful to me mind, body or soul.

The joy and freedom of being a child had been snatched away from me at a very early age. Little by little that joy and freedom returns to me mind, body and soul and out on the roads, going the distance, unleashes that sense of freedom within me.

With Jeffrey I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life....two weeks from Thursday we will be Bermuda bound on Delta Airlines. Two weeks from Sunday I walk from the Rosedon Hotel to the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I know that I am Bermuda ready!

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Christmas Magic and 12 Miles in the Rain

We pondered and pondered and pondered some more ...
we pondered and pondered til our puzzler was sore.
The forecast for rain and 12 miles we must run
It's Christmas Eve will Team McManus get it done?
With water and fueling a trash bag or two,
Team McManus decided there was only one thing to do.
A little rain won't hurt us we're hearty what's more....
After today's run there's Christmas and taper time in store.
With our Altras and Brooks donned we're layered and answering the call
Now dash away dash away dash away all!

We knew that sunshine was scheduled for Sunday. We would have missed out on so much Christmas magic if we would have waited to get our run on until today.

When we started out on our last 12 mile run before taper time for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend it was drizzling. We put on trash bags because the forecast was for steady rain throughout the day. We had a game plan. Park at the Cleveland Circle Reservoir and just do 8 times around. We'd have our water and refueling in the car and there was a Starbucks nearby for pit stops and to warm up and take a break from the rain if needed.

During our first loop around we bumped into several friends who were also on a training run. One of them is training for her first marathon in May. I gave her a pep talk. I said that it's "all up here" referring to the power of the mind (which coincidentally I would have to practice what I preached because I was almost ready to bail at 10 miles yesterday). Her friend said, "It's all down here too," referring to her hamstrings. "That's why I go for weekly massage with Jeffrey." (referring to my master muscular therapist Jeffrey Spratt,MT
) Her friend said, "You've gotta go see this guy!" Tom told her about the ShakeOut (TM) and she has been following my Bermuda Marathon Adventures on Facebook so she sees the results I am having from the work. We hugged and gave a holiday kiss on the cheek and would wave to each other as we passed each other on our runs.

The puddles and mud became quite formidable by mile 4. I suggested that after our next loop we run down Beacon Street where the buildings would offer us some protection and then I got an idea - a wonderful awful idea to quote How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Why not stop into Marathon Sports Brookline to purchase dry socks and gloves and make a pit stop.

We were warmly welcomed by Will, another one of our running and Marathon Sports family friends and the store manager Katie. Will attended to us as one attends to ultra runners at an aid station. He anticipated our every need and selected the merchandise we needed off the rack. "What socks are you wearing Mary?" "Oh those are Balega Enduro. Do you care what color? What size are you?" "We don't have waterproof gloves but these will keep you warm." "We still need gloves for Tom." "Tom what socks are you wearing?" "Are those compression socks too tight ... we can get a different size." They let us leave our wet gloves and socks in a Marathon Sports bag to pick up on our way back. They gave us high fives and told us we got this!

A few blocks later, we bumped into another friend who works at Party Favors where I bought Minion cupcakes to celebrate an early birthday with Jeffrey earlier this week:

As we made our way down Beacon Street we chatted and got caught up for a few minutes. We left her to buy a last minute present before she was getting back to work (and Tom would see her later to pick up my cake). We hugged, wished each other Merry Christmas and Happy Birthdays for hers was a few days ago and her son's is Christmas Day and I told her to send our love and gratitude to her husband who is an Emergency Responder.

We were warmly welcomed back to the store. We refueled, hydrated, made a pit stop and Katie even put the Marathon Sports bag into Tom's running backpack. More high fives and cheers as they sent us on our way as we expressed our deepest gratitude for all the care and support they gave us.

We made our next mile pit stop at Starbucks in Cleveland Circle. I was so ready to bail at 10 miles. We were soaking wet. Our shoes were squeaking. Yet I knew I could not quit before 12 miles because everyone was watching me on Facebook. Although everyone would have understood, I knew this was as much if not more about getting me mentally ready for three weeks from today as it was physically ready.

"It's a great day for a the rain...while everyone waits for sunshine, you have the roads all to yourselves." I noticed his dog tags, "Are you a veteran?" "No I'm active duty?" "Army?" "No Marines." "Semper Fi." "I worked at the VA as a social worker for almost 20 years." "My dad worked at the VA as a psychologist." "Oh what was his name?" "Last name? - Eisenberg." "Oh my God I said, Mark Eisenberg?" I worked with his dad at Causeway Street.

"Well that's what the holidays are all about," John Eisenberg said to me. "Making new friends. Connecting with old friends and bringing warmth to everyone you meet."

And with that we went to finish our run. The rain slowed. The day got brighter and by the end of our 12 miles, the sun was beginning to poke through the clouds!

Sure we could have waited until the sun came out today - and it did but we would have missed out on so much Christmas magic and love.

Let taper madness begin as we countdown to Bermuda Marathon Weekend and celebrate the gift of my life (today's my 63rd birthday) and the blessings of the season having 12 magical Christmas Eve miles in the books.

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Reclaiming Life After Trauma: The New Normal

Life as I had known it came to a screeching halt in December of 2006. From the outside looking in, one would think I had it all. I was an award winning social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs at the top of my game and my pay scale. I was poised to retire in three years given my length of service and meeting the minimum age requirement to get my retirement. I lived in an affluent suburb of Boston with my husband who had a successful career in technology at a local hospital and our twins were 19 years old. But the years of neglecting my body...the chinks in my defense system to manage the trauma I suffered for 9 years just 3 years after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5 were crumbling.

The limp from polio returned. I had difficulty swallowing and breathing. Everything hurt mind, body and soul. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired but soldiered on to get to work every day and care for our veterans and their families. It was a slow, subtle onset of symptoms that I ignored for almost 10 years until everything was crying out for healing. I knew something was drastically wrong with me; something that my primary care provider in 2004 could not figure out because all of my tests came back normal. He attributed it to "empty nest syndrome" and that I suffered from some psychiatric disorder. He told me to see a psychiatrist and gave me samples of an anti-depressant which I quickly flushed down the toilet.

In October of 2006 I got still and prayed. I asked for Divine Guidance and was moved to google post polio syndrome that I heard about from the surgeon who performed my reconstructive leg surgery. When I went for my post op visit, he introduced me to the wife of a veteran who needed my help. She suffered from post polio syndrome and needed to surgery to try to ease some of her symptoms but was the caregiver for her veteran husband. I arranged for him to go into respite. She had her surgery and I remembered about post polio syndrome.

Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio Syndrome was a half hour away from my house. I found the courage to make the call and begin my 10 year healing odyssey.

In February of 2007 after being told that I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, adapt my Cape home or move to a ranch, get a sleep apnea machine; that I might need a feeding tube and had to be on a semi-solid diet using chin tucks when I ate drinking liquids through a straw to avoid aspiration into my lungs, and that if I had any hope of stabilizing these symptoms where they were I must quit my job at the VA, I turned to God once again in prayer. What's a social worker to do? How can I quit my job? How will I ever find my way out of the dark night of my soul, mind and body?

The answer came in the form of poetry in the cadence of Dr. Seuss that my physical therapist read to me before every painful physical therapy session when I was just 5 years old. We read together in the waiting room and then she would have me recite back to her in tandem while she worked to coax my nerves and muscles back to health. The first poem I wrote? Why "Running the Race" of course! It foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run as a mobility impaired runner.

I quit my job on May 25, 2007 to heal my life. I had no idea what that meant. I feverishly wrote poems about gratitude, health, healing and wholeness asking the question how would I ever reclaim my life and yearning to live and run unencumbered and free. My imagination was ignited to see myself as I wanted myself to be; healthy and whole free from the shackles of the effects from paralytic polio and trauma.

In 2010 I worked with a good enough massage therapist that helped me to run well, but the relationship broke down. My nephew's suicide in March of 2011 was almost a knock out punch on my healing journey and I turned to modalities and relationships that did not support my health and wellness. I continued to write poetry conjuring up healers in my mind's eye using my pen as my divining rod for healing.

Being across the street from where the 2nd bomb exploded on 4/15/13 was a wake up call and I returned to running and my running village. It was a struggle to run. I was working with a massage therapist who was not serving me, yet like many trauma survivors convinced myself I was getting what I needed. I suffered a serious knee injury that was a blessing in disguise. It would not be too long before I finally found my way to Dr. Ryan, a chiropractor healer and Jeffrey Spratt,MT, a master muscular therapist, who pioneered the life saving and life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. His healing hands, compassionate presence and care have helped me to create the masterpiece of my life and polish the tarnish away from my inner mirror so I can see myself as I was always meant to be: beautiful, worthy, strong, confident, courageous and deserving of healing. Dr. Ryan turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza which set ablaze my mind body connection and reminded me that we can heal our bodies by thought alone! Bringing together my powerful intention for healing with these two power houses of healing, I am creating a factory new body conditioning my body to a new mind.

As Jeffrey so eloquently explains it, when we experience trauma, our bodies dump 31 chemicals into our system to prepare us for fight or flight. These chemicals leave an imprint. The traumatic events leave an imprint and if not treated and healed, get layered over and fossilized. Through the power of positive quality touch using this method, Jeffrey and I embarked on a beautiful journey of unearthing AND healing these traumatic memories. We are creating a new neural net that heals the effects of paralytic polio which did not have a chance to heal when I was a little girl because every day I was fighting for my survival.

But not now -- now I can take all those survival skills and put them to good use without the hypervigilance or the immobilizing OCD. I have energy to work 14 hour days. I travel. I run. I strength train, swim and cross train AND I have one more training run to go before taper time as I am poised and ready to toe the starting line of my SECOND CONSECUTIVE BERMUDA HALF MARATHON! I breathe deeply and I have so much more flexibility in my body and in my life. There is greater ease in all that I do.

I have reclaimed my purpose to work side by side with Jeffery to study the "Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in Trauma Recovery" and as his Executive Assistant and Communications and Public Relations Director.

The team at Spaulding Rehab told me what my new normal would in a wheelchair, the possibility of a feeding tube, chronic fatigue and pain, progressive degeneration of muscles and nerves....God and I had another plan and I have to tell you - THIS new normal is so sweet.

To your health and wellness!

Boston Marathon 2017: Meet the Fab Five Running for Fisher House Boston

Last year I was blessed to meet Alan Dyer, first on Facebook and then at his fund raiser at Loretta’s Last Call. As a retired VA social worker, Fisher House Boston is a cause near and dear to my heart. I remember when Fisher House Boston first broke ground on the West Roxbury VA Campus and one of my social work colleagues became the manager. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where our military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in house treatment at one of our medical centers. Any family member or loved one of an active military or Veteran's family, wartime or peacetime, is eligible to stay at the Fisher House. These homes are built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers.

The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. There is NO Charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House. We are completely committed to helping those who have served for us and for our country. We believe these men and women are our National Treasures! Fisher House is a Four Star Charity, with an A+ rating.

Let’s meet the Fabulous Five who are going the distance of 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on April 17th, 2017 to raise money for Fisher House Boston.

Alan Dyer: “I am a Viet Nam Era veteran who joined the cost guard in the early 70's. I spent 5 years in the service stationed in Woods Hole on a buoy tender, then Block Island doing search and rescue and drug interdiction.

My connection to Fisher House Boston is through Mark Langley. Mark and I met at a local gym where be both became fitness instructors. I teach spin and he teaches boot camps. The two of us just hit it off and became best of friends. He mentioned wanting to run the Ragnar Relay Race to raise money for Fisher House Boston. He introduced me to Jen Deluca, Executive Director and I became fast friends with Jen and committed to the Fisher House Boston cause.

Funny thing about that Ragnar Relay run, six weeks prior to running the race I had neck surgery to fuse C-4 and C-5. I fractured those vertebrae many weeks prior, but continued to train and exercise. Mark wanted to replace me and I flat out told him no way. I ran with a neck brace. The team was made up of my Physical Therapist and my Chiropractor. That was a very special run for Fisher House Boston.

In 2015 Mark said that Jen was going to try and get some bibs for Boston and I said I was all in. Mark, Joe and I are the original Marathon Team and we continue to this day running, raising awareness and money for Fisher House Boston. As long as Jen keeps getting bibs and my knees hold up i will keep running and raising money for our veterans and their families.

I was supposed to get my knees replaced last year, but Jen called and asked if I could postpone the surgery and run one more time for the 2016 Marathon. And this year I told Jen right up front I wanted a bib and tada she gave me one. What’s a little bit of pain that I go through training to run the Boston Marathon compared to what these guys and gals go through to defend our freedom….”

Alan with Nic L. whose family was supported by Fisher House Boston during his recovery

Alan during the Super Hero long run training for Boston 2016

Mark Langley
“I have once again been given the privilege to run the 2017 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston. I run to raise money and awareness for Fisher House Boston because they take care of our military men and women and their families. My son was an active duty Army Infantryman, my Dad was active duty Air Force and many other family members have served. Our veterans and their families deserve our attention and help. FIsher House helps keep families together while eliminating some financial obligations. I ran the 2015 and 2016 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston and our teams raised over $80000! Please help me this year so we can continue to support our veterans. So, I will run the miles through rain, snow, sleet and freezing weather and all you have to do is donate! Thank you for your support.”

Joe Mascariello
“After twice saying "Never again", I'm back for for my third year of running the Boston Marathon in support of Fisher House Boston. With no military experience of my own, I am indebted to those who have sacrificed so much and am honored to serve our military through this effort.

I've now completed 9 marathons and a small handful of longer trail races and from that experience two things are clear: Experience doesn't make you better and 26.2 miles is a long way to run. My running has brought me to some of the coolest places in the world and some of the coolest people in the world have filtered through my life as a result of being a runner. A little fatigue is a small price to pay for those experiences. I am fortunate to have this ability and grateful that I can use it to give back.

For those who don't know, Fisher House allows the families of veterans a free place to stay on the grounds of the VA while the service man/woman or family member is receiving treatment at the hospital. The Boston Fisher House is unique in that they will fund hotel stays for the families of servicemen and women when are they are receiving treatment at other Boston hospitals.

The links below will provide more information on the Fisher House and a compelling story about the importance of providing this resource to our veterans. Fisher House is a 4 star rated (their highest rating) charity by Charity Navigator.

Fisher House Boston

A compelling story about why you should donate to Fisher House Boston:

I know the choices for giving are endless and I hope you'll find that supporting Fisher House is worthy of your hard earned support.”

Breda O’Connor
“I ran my first race in the 7th grade when my mom and I participated in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 5K. Oddly enough, that would be the first and only time I would place in my age division. I don't run for the medals. I sometimes run for the beer, but mostly I run because I can, because there are so many people who can't. Since that race, I have run for multiple charities, including the Boston Marathon in 2014 for a Marathon bombing survivor.

I am so excited to have been selected to run for the Fisher House Boston. Over the last year and a half, I have gained a new perspective of the aftermath of war and what military families must overcome. Through many events with The Warrior Foundation and interacting with my boyfriend's friends and colleagues, I have been able to witness first hand the village it takes to care for our veterans and their families. My boyfriend is a mechanical engineer at The United States Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, working closely with veterans to protect our soldiers currently overseas. Through him, I have had the great opportunity of meeting many of of our country's bravest and their amazing families. I am so excited to bring more awareness to the Fisher House and cross that finish line on April 17!”

Kat Anne

"I've been running since high school cross country but it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Since 2011, I've been running races with a team of friends and family in memory of a close family friend, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly. Robert was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan when he was killed in action on November 9th, 2010. Most importantly, he was a husband, son, brother and a babysitter who probably let my brothers and I get away with way too much. Every race I've run, I'm always amazed by the number of people I get the share the Team Kelly story with and the incredible stories people share with me.

As I take on my 4th marathon, I'm so honored to be able to share the story of Fisher House as I run. The work they do to support military families is incredible. Instead of worrying about hotel bills, families can focus on healing in a supportive environment. Knowing that his memory lives on in the dedicated Fisher House healing garden, I'm so grateful for the chance to give back to Fisher House in Robert's memory and in thanks for the incredible work they do to support military and veteran families. Thank you for your support!"

Give a little…give a lot…give from your heart and let’s make this year the biggest year yet for the Sensational Six running from their hearts for Fisher House Boston.

Please donate to one or all of the Sensational Six by following this link.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! This just got real!

As runners we often say sh** just got real as we are aware of the start of a big event.

I've been training for the Bermuda Half Marathon since July. Unlike last year, when I had not run distance since the 2009 Boston Marathon, I had a very strong base after running the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. I added an extra day of cardio for training this year with the Arc Trainer and Bike at Wave Health and Fitness.

I've lost track of time as I've been building miles and strength.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted on Facebook this morning, "It's beginning to look a lot like race morning."

This is what we saw in January on race morning:

While I was cross training on the Bike after my work out on the Arc Trainer it suddenly hit me! One more long run and then taper time! We leave 3 weeks from Thursday and the race is 3 weeks from Sunday. I couldn't believe it. It's almost here!

I took pause.

Ten years ago I faced a frightening diagnosis and an uncertain future. The diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards was handed down to me. It could have been a death sentence if I would have let it. I had to use a wheelchair at times for mobility, wore a toe up leg brace, a cane, a wrist splint for carpel tunnel syndrome. I had to be on a semi soft food diet and use chin tuck for semi solid foods and drink liquids through a straw to not aspirate food and liquids into my lungs. Because of my compromised respiratory system I was told to get a sleep apnea machine - I refused that piece of advice! I was told to quit my award winning job at the VA as a social worker which I ultimately did and that the best we could hope for was to stabilize the symptoms. Adapt our Cape house because for certain I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life!

Instead, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance and discovered the gift of poetry in my soul that began to awaken a part of me to possibility. Ahhh the power of imagination!

Two years ago I had a serious knee injury and was told I'd need a total knee replacement in a couple of years. No running but if you do no more than a 5K oh okay they reluctantly agreed - 5 miles AT MOST!

I fired everyone and made way for the Universe to deliver my now beloved friend and chiropractor Dr. Ryan Means and then a master muscular therapist who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, Jeffrey Spratt, MT who said without batting an eye -- what leg are we rehabbing?

With Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey on my team I've been able to go the distance in healing the effects of paralytic polio that I contracted at age 5 followed by 9 years of unending violence beginning when I was 8 years old.

So here I am...poised and oh so ready to take on my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

The weather is looking okay for Saturday! If need be we can get in a swim on Saturday and run on Sunday. Temps are moderate both days for this time of year.

I've definitely beaten the odds and feel accomplished with my training.

It hit me today - this just got real and it's time to start making the list for packing and setting aside clothes. It's also time to celebrate healing and express my deepest gratitude to all who have supported me on the roads and in my life.

Ten years --- ten years! I am a woman transformed.

To your health and wellness,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Pure Imagination

In "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," I ask the questions,
As runners we like love to run and too often forget about that all important cross training work or begrudgingly cross train. I learned the hard way last December, how crucial it is to cross train. It's been almost 6 months and I am now reaping the physical, spiritual and mental rewards of cross training. I must admit it was hard to get started. Each plank, crunch and sit up; every clam and leg lift seemed to be an effort. I had to psych myself up to get into the pool and swim laps. While in the pool at Wave Health on Monday something shifted within me as I focused on the waves, the skylight and my beautiful surroundings. I felt gratitude flood my heart. I asked the Universe, "How did I get here? How did I arrive in this moment cross training for running in this world class hotel where I only pay $10/visit ... where each week I am blessed to experience muscular therapy with Jeffrey transcending and transforming all that went before ... how did I get here ... from a leg brace, a wheelchair, a diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease, Spaulding Rehab and Adaptive Sports feeling stuck in my body and that everything was an effort to now..."

Do you know what the answer is? Imagination - Pure Imagination that came through my pen as I wrote poems about running unencumbered and free, reclaiming my life, dancing in puddles without a leg brace like Gene Kelly in Singin' In the Rain. Why I even foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run in the poem, "Running the Race."

As I'm editing Going the Distance I realize that the previous so called therapists I worked with did not have imagination. They only saw - literally - saw me as I was and believed that they could bring about change from the outside in using these methods that followed strict protocols.

When I met Dr. Ryan J. Means, he subscribed to all possibilities and to quantum healing. He saw beyond my knee injury and effects from paralytic polio and trauma to seeing me as healthy, whole and healed and brought forth his skill as a doctor of chiropractic medicine and partnered with me to bring about my vision for healing.

And then I met Jeffrey Spratt,MT. Talk about a man of vision and imagination! He pioneered his very own method of muscular therapy aptly called the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. "What leg are we rehabbing?" he asked me during my first massage therapy session with him on 4/19/15.

He embodies the essence of a true healer:
True healers know that wellness is the order of the day, so they do not allow themselves, even for a moment, to see anything other than that. So, the power of the healer is in the power to influence the one who needs to be healed into a vibration that allows the healing that they are summoning. (that they could get, even without the healer, but they can get faster with a healer's influence) ~Abraham

He has been supporting and encouraging me every mile on this magical journey to health and wellness. Together we visualize myself as factory new being healed from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. His hands help me to create the masterpiece of my life reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life through the power of positive quality touch! One day he humbly said to me, "Our hands are the tools we use to release the body’s natural capacity to heal.”

Today we completed 12 miles at Wave Health and Fitness; 8 miles on the "dreadmill" and 4 on the bike.

Dreary dreadmill miles watching the snow fall outside the large picture windows at Wave were made merry and bright by harnessing the power of our imagination. We visualized the course for the Bermuda Half Marathon happening in just 26 days! We anticipated how we will be greeted at The Rosedon and imagined our evening after our triumphant return to Bermuda for my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I've been chatting with one of the Bermudians on Facebook about where to dine the evening after the race. She told us that the place to be is the South P - the Fairmount Southampton Princess. We imagined how special it's going to be to head over to the South Shore where we haven't been in years and imagined breathing in the tropical breezes with the satisfaction of Tom having run the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge and me having run my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

So getting back to my original question that I posed in Going the Distance? How did I get here? How am I trained to run another half marathon having shed the diagnosis of post polio syndrome and creating a whole, healthy body and Being no longer shackled to the effects of paralytic polio and trauma?

The answer - pure imagination and partnering with wonderful healers who support me in my creative process!

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! One Month From Today! - Thankful Thursday

As I chatted with Jeffrey Spratt,MT before yesterday's massage therapy session, my voice broke. "One month from tomorrow I'll be running the Bermuda Half Marathon." "You're second CONSECUTIVE (he loves to emphasize CONSECUTIVE) Bermuda Half Marathon." He was able to embrace with me the importance of this event. It's a big deal!

If we roll it back to ten years ago this month when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair it's a very big deal that I'm running at all. It's true I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon but I kept crashing experiencing a resurgence of symptoms of fatigue, chronic pain and unable to get any traction on my healing journey. If we roll it back to two years ago this week when I had a serious knee injury, it's a really big deal that I ran Bermuda last year AND I am trained and ready to take on the challenge again one month from today.

Two years ago I was told don't run again but we know you will so you need to cap your distance at a 5K or 5 miles. Okay - whatever - and then I fired everybody and was blessed to find my way to Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor healer and Jeffrey Spratt, MT who pioneered his very own method of muscular therapy that has helped me to go the distance on the roads and in my life healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma!

I've trained harder this year for the Half. It's exciting to experience the strength of my quad muscles and to feel soreness - a good soreness - all over! I am still basking in the after glow of feeling really badass training in frigid temps last Saturday. I've been incorporating the Arc Trainer and the Bike into my cross training and feel the benefits of the extra day of cardio training. We've been blessed with the weather. On Tuesday we had a glorious morning for our 5K run.

I feel the cumulative benefits of weekly massage therapy sessions with Jeffrey and a ShakeOut (TM) Massage every other week once I hit double digits. It's a beautiful process of experiencing new positive outcomes to break the cycle of trauma through the power of quality positive touch and having Jeffrey's beautiful compassionate presence bear witness as I share with him whatever may surface during the treatment, and we transform the horror of my past.

So here I am - two more long runs until taper time. We may have to do treadmill and bike to get in our miles on Saturday given the forecast but hopefully that will change. Christmas Eve's forecast looks awesome as of now to get in our last long run. Given my base and given that I've trained well and hard we are going to cap the distance at 11.5.

One month from today my SECOND CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon -- it's a miracle! I am blessed and thankful and so very excited to countdown to Bermuda once more! It's safe to say that I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life in the wake of trauma and paralytic polio. Thank you Ryan and Jeffrey, my bestie Tom and my village of love and support.

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! From Humiliation to Inspiration

Yesterday was an epic 11.5 mile training run for Team McManus on our road to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

At 3 miles in Newton, Tom stopped to take a photo of me with these Christmas decorations on someone's lawn but instead, he decided to take a video of me:

When I looked at it on Facebook when we got home, I asked him if he could please say something about the fact that I was just standing there not saying or doing anything because I thought he was taking a still photo. I felt that the head tremors that are in the process of healing were VERY noticeable. I felt self conscious despite the reality that the whole point of the shot was to watch the Penguin photobomb and that the video received a lot of love and likes.

I realized I needed to just let it go and that no explanation was needed. This morning Tom's eyes filled with tears as he suggested that people who are watching the video know the courage and strength it takes for me to be out in 20 degree weather (with a feels like we didn't really want to know about) and run 11.5 miles; training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon Weekend. He said that rather than my seeing the head tremors that I see a woman of strength and courage whose journey inspires others.

When I first met Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor and healer in every sense of the word, back in February of 2015, he saw beyond my current physical state and focused on possibility, on healing and transformation. With his adjustments, his KT tapings, the care and compassion he so freely offered reminding me that I am worthy of healing, I moved beyond all appearances of an MRI of my left knee and the toll that paralytic polio and violence took on my body. He turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and Dr. Candace Pert.

In my weekly treatments with Jeffrey Spratt,MT using the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, the method he pioneered that we discovered is highly effective in healing the effects of trauma, we unearth and heal the traumatic memories that left emotional and physical wounds in their wake. The emotional wounds leave physical scars in the body. With compassionate presence and strong yet tender skilled, intuitive hands, elbows and anything else Jeffrey needs to use to bring about healing through the power of positive quality touch, I am able to heal the thoughts, beliefs and feelings that had led to suffering. I am able to, as Dr. Joe Dispenza says, break the habit of being myself and cross the river of change so I can live in freedom, peace and equanimity.

In last week's treatment I recalled how my parents and grandmother humiliated me. Now I am not talking about verbal humiliation or criticism although that certainly does take a toll on a child's developing psyche. I am talking about humiliation through rape, beatings, abandonment and neglect. I also suffered humiliation and bullying at school after contracting paralytic polio. I left my Kindergarten year before the school year ended in 1959 as a beautiful ballerina with long shining hair healthy and whole and returned to 1st grade on Canadian Crutches, a full leg brace with a pixie hair cut since my mother and grandmother decided that my long hair was just too much trouble to take care of.

Jeffrey reminds me through touch and through words that I am beautiful, worthy, deserving, strong and how I inspire him with my journey. He helps to heal my broken heart and to open these memory files to add a new attachment now - one where I am no longer alone to face what happened to me and one where I feel empowered to reclaim my beauty, my life, my body and my Being the way I was always meant to be embracing myself with love and compassion. Then the memories no longer leak wreaking havoc with my nervous system creating suffering in my life. New neuromuscular connections, the pathways that needed to heal after contracting paralytic polio, and the parts of my body that were brutalized and tortured can now finally heal and as we like to say, my body becomes factory new! Jeffrey creates a safe and powerful healing environment that joins with the intention that I set forth ten years ago after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease - to leave my 20 year award winning career at the VA to heal my life!

The wound of humiliation is deep and painful BUT all wounds heal when we stop protecting them and allow nature to take its course.

Even though I was very self conscious about how I looked in the video, I realize that those tremors are nothing more than the manifestation of what happened to me. A badge of honor if you will AND most importantly are healing! After an emotional release in last week's treatment bringing into conscious awareness feelings I was afraid to experience before now, I felt peace and there was not a trace of a tremor. I felt a cataclysmic connection happen at the top of my spine repairing the damage from the polio virus and the violence.

It's a miracle that I can reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life after all the events I endured. It's a miracle that I can shift from feeling humiliation, shame and embarrassment to knowing that my journey of triumph over some of the most horrific events one human being can endure is inspiring others, giving them hope and opening the door to their freedom.

To your health and wellness,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! "Cold is just an adjective!" 11.5 Miles in the Bank of Bermuda!

One of the women I met on Facebook after Bermuda 2016 posted yesterday that "Cold is just an adjective" as she was heading out to do a run in cold temperatures.

That gave me such a boost to psych myself up for today's 11.5 mile run and the longest distance we need to run this year in our Bermuda Half Marathon Training. The weather forecast was for 20 degrees and we really didn't want to look at what it would feel like with the wind chill.....

It's now ten years ago that I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and one of the hallmark symptoms of post polio syndrome is "cold intolerance." My thermostat was affected by the polio virus oh and as a side note, I can't wait until I publish "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" that chronicles my phenomenal journey including how my thermostat got fixed!

But I digress....

I could not tolerate being out in cold weather; actually any extreme of temperature would wreak havoc on my body. I would shiver in the cold and walking and breathing were a challenge. I had to limit the time I spent outdoors and was terrified of snow and ice. I was warned that if I fell, I was at a very high risk for a fracture. By the way, I had a major fall during training a year ago and a minor fall this year. I'm still in one piece! So I lived my life in fear and winter was something to be endured. Tom and I even considered a move to Florida but realized that would have been a horrible mistake for us.

This morning we did not set the alarm but allowed our bodies to wake up naturally. Yesterday, I organized everything we were going to need today for our run. After a wonderful meditation getting myself ready to run the longest distance I've run since the Bermuda Half Marathon 2016, we put our clothes in the dryer. We did our core work as a warm up, ate breakfast and then put on what I like to call #allthelayers to go out on our run including a layer of vaseline on our faces.

When we first stepped out of the front door, the wind was biting. By the time we got to the base of what I affectionately call "Billy's hill" because it was a part of the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer two years ago, Tom suggested that if the pain were too much, we'd abort the run and head to the gym. I told him that I trash talked on Facebook about running in the cold today and somehow we were going to make it through the run. I must say that that I was a little concerned about frostbite but then I remembered that my body would respond to what my mind believed. The wind died down and the sun was getting warmer and I had sent messages of warmth to my face and hands. I suggested to Tom that we take a break from the cold and head into Peet's Coffee for our water stop. We were going to do an out and back run along Beacon Street to Waban but when we got to Chestnut Street I was inspired to head over to Comm. Ave. and run Heartbreak Hill.

There's always magic on Heartbreak Hill and the sun shines a little brighter there. The wind had died down and the energy of runners out training for Boston 2017 was infectious. I reassured myself and Tom that no I was not going to run another marathon but I did experience wonderful memories of our training on Heartbreak Hill and what it was like to finally run it on Marathon Monday 2009. Tom snapped this pic of me 7 miles into our run out on Heartbreak Hill:

The wind started to pick up again and the air turned colder but we soldiered on.

I needed to make a pit stop. We considered going back to Newton Center via Center Street but the Heartbreak Hill Running Company beckoned to us. "Do you happen to have a bathroom here I can use?" The guy behind the register beamed and said, "We sure do. You guys out on a run? It's right down the stairs and around the horse shoe." I wasn't thrilled about having to go up and down stairs but hey I really needed a pit stop. Tom shared with him that we were going for 11.5 today training for Bermuda.

I smiled when I walked in their bathroom. I <3 free bathrooms. A newspaper clipping about Prefontaine. Instructions: 1. Sit down. 2. Take a selfie. 3. Post on twitter and Instagram with the hashtag.... 4. Do your business. They really get what runners need in a bathroom. Between the pit stop and thinking how Bermuda is going to be so much warmer and also feeling incredibly badass that Tom and I were out there training with gusto for the Bermuda Half Marathon we made it through those final miles. Last year we did a majority of our training runs around the Reservoirs or Jamaica Pond. We did not do a lot of training on asphalt and getting out on the open road. Even though I was making remarkable progress through my partnership with Jeffrey Spratt,MT whose Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that he pioneered was helping me to transform from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to a woman warrior taking on the 13.1 distance again, I was timid about my training. Understandably so! Every time I went out to challenge myself physically during these past 10 years I would hit a wall - a big wall and experience a relapse of post polio symptoms or, as I had in December of 2014, get injured.

As Jeffrey explained it to me, the trauma created imprints in my body. As we go layer by layer unearthing and healing the trauma we are restoring my body to factory new creating new neuromuscular conditions, strengthening that new gastroc muscle that had atrophied from polio, and healing the effects of first paralytic polio and then 9 years of unrelenting violence.

I have incorporated training on the Arc Trainer and Bike this year and we are challenging ourselves on our training runs. Since Tom is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge which includes a mostly hill 10K, we wanted to be sure to include hills (and more hills I might add) in our training runs.

I feel a powerful shift within me mind, body and soul as I continue my work with Jeffrey and within myself. My anxiety level is way down so I have more energy to invest in things I love to do and to improve my health and fitness. With internalizing Jeffrey's power of quality positive touch, the memories of violence recede into the background and I can allow positive memories to flourish - like training for and running the Boston Marathon in 2009. When I experience pain during the training runs, I remember what it felt like to be on Jeffrey's table and am able to relax and allow my body to get strong!

I am so blessed to have my bff Tom as my life and running partner to take on these challenges and prepare for our 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Talking about nothing and everything makes the miles fly by.

So there you have it ... two more training runs til taper time. 11.5 MILES IN THE BANK OF BERMUDA. I am Bermuda Half Marathon ready and so grateful we were able to get in a great training run despite the frigid temps. No snow and no ice to contend with so we were able to get in a quality run.

Ten years ago I sat in a leg brace, wearing a wrist splint; was on a semi-soft food diet needing to use a chin tuck to avoid aspirating my food; using a wheelchair at times for mobility and facing a grim future. Today I ran 11.5 miles and ran on Heartbreak Hill from Chestnut Street to Boston College. One month from Monday we fly out of Boston to head to that tropical paradise where I will once again toe the starting line of the Bermuda Half Marathon. It will be even better than last year thanks to this year of treatment with Jeffrey. I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life in ways that I only imagined in my poetry yet here it all is coming into physical reality.

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Trauma Recovery #ThankfulThursday

This week Lady Gaga revealed that she was raped at the age of 19. It took her 7 years to reveal her "secret" and she suffers with post traumatic stress disorder. She wrote an open letter about her struggles that was shared in this article on BBC.

I'm doing various modalities of psychotherapy and am on medicine prescribed by my psychiatrist. However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words… positive words… words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal. I am starting today, because secrets keep you sick. And I don't want to keep this secret anymore.

I want to add that the best medicine in the world is the power of positive quality touch that I have been blessed to experience since April of 2015 with Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

When one experiences trauma, as Jeffrey so eloquently explains it, there is a dump of 31 chemicals into the body preparing for the fight/flight response. These chemical reactions leave an imprint in the body. Left untreated, these imprints become fossilized. Over time, as more life happens, they can get buried and wreak havoc in the mind, body and soul and result in what can be crippling symptoms of life after trauma.

We like to say that how Jeffrey discovered that his Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy was effective in healing trauma was a happy accident. He did not set out to treat trauma. He believed in the power of positive touch and his philosophy and intention for massage therapy is, "“Massage Therapy at its finest can be life changing and even life saving, and even at its very basic, massage therapy should be momentum changing.” ~Jeffrey Spratt, MT

But soon trauma survivors were experiencing major shifts in their lives prompting us to investigate "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy on Trauma Recovery". In addition to my anecdotal case study, the two subjects who are participating in the study are having stunning changes in their mood, behavior, outlook on life and overall quality of life.

Jeffrey's compassionate presence along with his unique style of muscular therapy has been a life saver for me in my trauma recovery. It's totally understandable how I kept getting injured and had "relapses" of post polio syndrome given how much baggage I was carrying around.

Before yesterday's treatment with Jeffrey he asked me, "How can I be of service?" Talk about the power of kind and positive words! I was able to share with Jeffrey a powerful and pivotal traumatic memory from my adolescence. I usually share the memories that may surface in between sessions during the treatment (while lying face down on the table). Yesterday I dug deep and found the courage to make eye contact with him as I shared a memory that was like an abscess filled with the pus of toxic emotions and a powerful motivator for many of my behavior patterns. His compassionate presence and total focus on what I had shared along with what I like to call his signature hug set the tone for a transformative profoundly healing massage therapy session.

After the session I felt such a lightness in mind, body and Being and that was after a full week of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

There is positive momentum in my ability and confidence in being able to unleash the healing power within me and to regulate my nervous system even in the wake of powerful triggers. The reaction may still happen but rather than have it throw me off balance for what used to be hours or sometimes even days, I can quickly recover and return to a state of equilibrium.

There is a beautiful new neural net growing and getting stronger every day. I am so excited to be editing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," to share with the world that there is hope for trauma recovery and to heal the most horrific events that could befall one individual.

It is exhilarating to experience trauma recovery in my own life and to see how others are healing from trauma thanks to the power of positive quality touch and compassionate presence. It is a journey to reclaim one's advantage and reclaim one's life and experience healing and freedom. It is something every trauma survivor deserves!

Thank you Jeffrey Spratt for pioneering this method and having the courage to walk with trauma survivors as they heal.

To your health and wellness!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Transformation Tuesday: Recovery

December 13, 2014 - a day that will live in my infamy. The day that my left leg swelled and I could not put any weight on it after the Miss Santa Holiday 5K. It was just a few weeks after the massage therapist I was working with at the time said to me, “Right now your right leg is leading the dance and I am waiting for your left leg to speak to me.” He told me that my left leg was still encased. What an intention to set for someone but, as a trauma survivor, I learned to settle telling myself that he had my best interest at heart.

But that horrible knee injury and the pain and frustration that followed led me to two beautiful healers, Dr. Ryan Means and Jeffrey Spratt, MT; two men who would help me complete what I set out to do 10 years ago when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life.

In Sunday's ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey we talked about the process of my recovery. I shared with him the exhilaration of an 11 mile run on an unfamiliar route. We talked about how I am reclaiming a sense of adventure in my life. I went from taking baby steps to return to running, then running on familiar routes, then gingerly setting goals. After training for my comeback race, the Finish at the 50 5K in July of 2015, I boldly set the goal of running the Bermuda Half Marathon in January of this year.

I had not traveled in 8 years before going to Bermuda in January. Two weeks ago I went to New York City and in January we return to Bermuda to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

Jeffrey is adamant about teaching clients self care especially when taking on an endurance event. We reviewed what I could do to address some issues I was having with my right knee and right foot. He went deep and was aggressive in a quality positive touch kind of way during the ShakeOut (TM) Massage to relieve the congestion that comes with training for a Half Marathon and to also maintain positive momentum in my healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. It is so new for me to practice self care after having experienced decades of self loathing and dissociating from my body in response to trauma and paralytic polio.

I felt amazing after the session.

Yesterday I felt a lot of discomfort in my right knee with swelling. It's the anniversary of that knee injury; interestingly enough it was my left knee that was injured but body memories and imprints can manifest in interesting ways some times. I swam and had a great pool workout although I could still feel how my right knee was swollen and painful.

I took a hot shower and flushed with ice cold water. I remembered the delicious albeit "hurts so good" sensations of Jeffrey's ShakeOut (TM) Massage. This thought came to me. "I created this so I can uncreate it." I felt this opening in my knee and leg and a burning sensation from whatever stale energy was stuck in there draining out. Today I did the Arc Trainer and Bike and the swelling and pain are completely gone. My right knee had been the site of a lot of violence and was also in an ankle to hip cast when I was 11 years old. My right knee had been buckling and since there were no MRI's or CT Scans back in the day, the orthopedist guessed that it might have been a loose piece of cartilage that could be fixed with being in a cast for 6 weeks -- oh and because they did not want me to miss school, decided summertime was the best time for me to be in a cast.

In last week's treatment with Jeffrey we did a lot of work with my arms and hands. This past week I felt an opening from my scapula down my arm and decided to try something new. This might not seem like a big deal to you but to a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma whose functioning of arms and hands was compromised it was a very big deal to me. I was able to toss a roll of toilet paper upstairs! Now come on how many times has a member of your household been caught short and asks you to toss up a roll of toilet paper...oh really? Well it happens a lot in our house and I'd never been able to clear the flight of stairs to have the roll land on the top landing. I felt a wondrous new connection happen. It will take a lot of practice to keep that connection firing up on a consistent basis but I can feel it and picture it in my mind's eye.

As I read through and edit "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,"

I am struck by how my life has changed since meeting Dr. Ryan (who turned me onto quantum healing) and working with him until he left for China, and partnering with Jeffrey. I no longer have to monitor my energy levels and make choices; I am training and living a full life. I no longer live in fear of my body betraying me again; I can trust in my body's tremendous capacity to heal and see myself as healthy, whole, healed and strong turning possibility into reality.

The process of recovery continues. Memories continue to surface and I can look at them through the eyes of compassion allowing myself to grieve for all that happened to me and for me AND I celebrate this miraculous journey of recovery. I continue to experience awe and wonder at how I can reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life despite the horrendous events of my past.

Getting excited for Bermuda Marathon Weekend -- 38 days and counting!

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! An Exhilarating 11 Mile Run

The weather was supposed to be great for yesterday's 11 mile run building miles and counting down to the Bermuda Half Marathon. The sun was shining and when it was out it was a wonderful gift for December 3rd. Winds of up to 25 mph were NOT in the forecast but as is true for running as in life we have to weather the wind and embrace the conditions set before us.

I knew that I did not want to run our regular Reservoir loops yesterday for our training run. I suggested to Tom that we run down Route 9, over to Jamaica Pond (one of my favorite places to train) and come back to our house seeing how many miles we needed to finish our run and then do an out and back somewhere from our house. As the winds picked up and as Tom got inspired for our route, he led the way to run the Emerald Necklace. He had run the route countless times on his solo runs but this was the first time we would run it together.

Because it was my longest run in a year, Tom decided that it was important to take photos along the way:
At 2 miles in:

At the halfway point:

discovering and embracing the beauty of our City and Tom capturing the fierce determination of this runnergirl:

I experienced such exhilaration to be on a completely unfamiliar route with different terrain and enjoyed seeing new sights in my beloved Boston. I felt fierce and determined knowing that after yesterday's training run there are only 3 more long training runs until taper time.

This morning, Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted on Facebook there are only 40 days until the weekend:

It's really happening!

I am training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon using all the resources available to keep me healthy and running strong and long. Partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT is such a blessing and a gift. The power of his positive quality touch with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy transforms the effects of having been abused for almost a decade as a child and adolescent and the effects from paralytic polio. I feel transformed and through the power of my running, I feel in every fiber of my body and being that nobody should mess with me ever again. I feel that sense of empowerment that comes with an exhilarating 11 mile run with strong headwinds. I feel strong and confident reclaiming a sense of integrity and dignity.

Another 11 miles in the books counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend. What an adventure! What a joy and what a blessing to be able to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life!

To your health and wellness,