Monday, January 4, 2016

Countdown to Bermuda: On Resilience, Trust, Faith and a Woman Transformed

On January 6th, 2015 I walked through the doors of Shields MRI in Framingham to have an MRI of my left knee. After receiving the results, I wrote a blog, "I'm on a Mission."

Here are a few excerpts:
My regular blog readers know that I am a truth teller. Last night I had a complete meltdown about my injury and the status of my left knee. I was able to hold onto the feelings of gratitude that the injury is nothing more than a lateral meniscal tear and that there is degenerative joint disease with swelling (among various other findings). It is not life threatening in any way shape or form. It hurts and I'm frustrated I can't run right now but I was planning to take time off from running in the winter and focus on cross training. I was tired of feeling the cumulative effects of spending so much of my life recovering from polio, from trauma, and from surgeries.

I went to bed early and released whatever needed to surface and clear through my dreams and my system....

I am doing the 30 day plank challenge. I have to modify it given my age and conditioning. This morning I was able to hold it for 50 seconds.

I'm on a mission to heal, to feel a new kind of physical strength by using more of my body than I have in the past.

I'm on a mission to shed the image of myself as a polio and trauma survivor and go from this moment forward to experience my body and my Being in new ways.

Much of my 61 years has been spent in the shadow of polio, trauma, disease and surgeries but all that is changing and I am standing in my own spotlight.

I'm on a mission to claim my birthright to heal and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I'm on a mission to get back on the roads in better shape than I've ever been in to run. I can't wait to feel the joy of crossing the finish line as Team McManus again...

and I'm on a mission to set the world on fire with my message...

My message one year ago was no matter what happens to us we can all find a way to journey well. That message morphed into whatever the goal, whatever the challenge, we can always find a way to go the distance.

Shortly after putting out the word that I was on a mission, I met Dr. Ryan J. Means; a chiropractor and healer in every sense of the word. I was working with a massage therapist at the time who ironically enough was in the same office space as Ryan and he never referred me to Ryan for help with my knee. It was only after an epic fail with a physical therapist and the fact that the PT script recommended taping and Ryan had taping listed as one of his services on his website that I decided to partner with him on my journey. As the massage therapist I was working with would shrug when I was adamant about healing my left knee without another surgery; the only surgery recommended was an eventual total knee replacement, Ryan and I devoured You Are the Placebo. As I realized that working with that massage therapist no longer served me, I put out the call to the Universe for a new massage therapist.

At 4 am on the day before the 2nd anniversary of 4/15/13, I decided to look up who volunteered to do chair massage for One Boston Day. "Jeffrey Spratt". I googled him and found my way to his website. It wasn't a very good website back then but it was good enough to let me know that I needed to make an appointment with him.

On 4/19/15, as he worked with my body in a way no one had ever worked with me before, I knew that I was going to go the distance again.

I had to face many fears and doubts along my road to the Bermuda Half Marathon and experience pain that I thought my heart and soul would never be able to bear. The combination of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, a technique that Jeffrey himself pioneered and his compassionate presence, I could feel the transformation happening within me. I loved how he would treat me as he treats every other runner and he cheered me on every mile of the way with his hands and his heart. Ryan moved to China to bring his gifts to a private hospital in Kunming. Before he left he met me after a treatment with Jeffrey and these two gentle giants were able to meet with me standing between them.

This past year I have developed a new relationship with my body. My body is incredibly resilient. I read Candace Pert's book, 'Everything you need to know to feel go(o)d.' Another book recommendation from Ryan who heard Candace speak when he was training as a chiropractor. She talks about how we talk to our bodies when we feel sensations. Harnessing the power of my mind (much like a Jedi master would) I would interpret sensations in the positive. I had complete faith in the work that Jeffrey and I were doing together each week knowing that, with my intention to heal and his healing hands and heart, my body would be able to go the distance that so many said I would never go again! Even I had my doubts after getting the results of the MRI, feeling the doubtful energy of the massage therapist I was working with, the physical therapist and physiatrist I encountered and even the staff at Spaulding's Aquatics Therapy classes.

The Universe would not let me stop short of what I set out to do after receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease that was my wake up call. I vowed to heal my life and healing my life I am. Despite a major family crisis, I did not relapse. I put my body through a more rigorous training program than I ever have - even more rigorous than when I trained for Boston. I am healthier, stronger, more confident, have greater faith in the resiliency and healing capacity of my body as long as I take excellent care of it. After training for the Bermuda Half Marathon I am a woman transformed shedding the identity as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma yet honoring all that I have overcome.

As I count down to Bermuda, my heart overflows with gratitude and I welcome this time of reflection to celebrate what I have accomplished and to experience resilience, trust, and faith in ways I never have before in my body and in my life. I am a woman transformed; a woman who has reclaimed her advantage and reclaimed her life -- a journey blessed by the gifts of the presence of Ryan and Jeffrey in my life. Mission accomplished from what I set out to do on 1/13/15 and I am so excited for what 2016 will bring!

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