Monday, October 31, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Starfish

You never know who you are going to meet swimming in the pool at Wave Health and Fitness. Jeffrey Spratt,MT and I had a change in schedule today for our administrative time and my ShakeOut (TM) Massage. That put me right in the path of a doctor from San Francisco who works at a Chinese Community Hospital practicing Western Medicine. She's in town for a wedding with her family. We chatted while we swam and she worked out with me as I did side steps and lunges in the pool. Total strangers drawn together.

I listened to her fascinating journey and then she asked me if I was from out of town or a member at the Health Club. I told her about how I've been on this healing quest for the past 10 years. "I had paralytic polio," I told her. "Do you have post polio syndrome?"

I shared how Jeffrey pioneered his own method of muscular therapy that has been exactly what I needed to go the distance on my healing journey complete with growing a new gastroc muscle. Of course I HAD to share with her how Dr. Ryan, my chiropractor, was the first healer I met who inspired me to go the distance and he is now practicing chiropractic care in a hospital in Kunming.

"How did you go about growing a new gastroc muscle?" she asked me.

I told her about Dr. Ryan being inspired to use KT tape to stimulate the growth of a new gastroc muscle and he gave me gastroc strengthening exercises.

"I used visualization and meditation and weekly massage therapy," I went on to tell her.

As we walked with side steps in the pool she said, "You look like a starfish."

We both smiled! Of course - that's it. A starfish.

When I went to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio for the MRI results after a very serious knee injury in December 2014, I was told unequivocally that the gastroc muscle was gone. It was atrophied as a result of denervation from the polio. "It's been that way for over 50 years," Dr. Rosenberg told me. "There's no way it's ever going to come back!"

We have proof from the starfish that regeneration happens. Interestingly enough, I found this fact about starfish: "Most can regenerate damaged parts or lost arms and they can shed arms as a means of defense." But when it comes to humans Western Medicine has been so quick to hand down the decree of the permanence of a diagnosis or the human body being damaged.

After that knee injury, even I believed that there was permanent damage to the knee joint and was looking at a total knee replacement in a few years needing to set limits on my running.

Thanks to meeting the physical therapist from hell, and then meeting Dr. Ryan; thanks to the massage therapist I was working with at the time shrugging when I told him my intention to heal everything and not need another surgery and becoming so obnoxious and toxic in our work together that I was led straight to Jeffrey, I am now training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half just 73 days.

I've got a lot of work to still do between now and then but I continue to regenerate and heal. So blessed to have Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey in my life who tenderly care for one starfish at a time creating beautiful ripples of healing in the Universe.

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! 9.5 Miles in the Bank of Bermuda..I wonder what normal people do on a Saturday morning?

When I woke up yesterday morning, a part of me did not want to begin another 5 day training cycle and go out and run 9.5 miles. As I was looking for something to inspire me, I found this:

What do so called normal people do on a Saturday morning? I went from experiencing chronic illness, pain and fatigue to training for the Boston Marathon in 2009. Ever since then, running and training and working so hard to achieve healing, health and wellness has been a part of my life.

I can't imagine a Saturday without getting out for a run.

Jeffrey Spratt,MT is sharing in this miraculous health and wellness journey with me. He is so "jazzed" that this is my SECOND CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I know that I can push my body now and through partnering with Jeffrey in weekly (and as we add on mileage adding in a biweekly ShakeOut (TM) Massage) rather than getting injured as a result of the effects of paralytic polio and violence, I get stronger!

Tom and I couldn't quite figure out where we wanted to run yesterday. We went through various routes and locations and finally settled on heading out the door, and doing an out and back route going along the Boston Marathon route. It was the same route we did last year for my first 10 mile run since having run the 2009 Boston Marathon. We thought we might make it to the finish line but our halfway point for 9.5 took us just shy of the finish line. We did get to take that left on Hereford and right on Boylston though.

When I looked at our Nike+ for the run, our elevation ascent was 420 feet!

Our pace was around a 17:30 on the hills! For 9.5 miles! That accounts for these smiles along with knowing that we deposited another 9.5 miles in the Bank of Bermuda. I felt I could have gone the 3.6 miles needed to complete a half marathon yesterday.

I usually take an ice bath as part of my post run recovery but my low back was feeling very sore. I decided a warm Epsom Salts bath was in order. After my hot shower I let ice cold water run on my legs and hips, a suggestion made by Jeffrey to the John Hancock Employee Boston Marathon team last year during his power point presentation on training for and running your best Boston Marathon.

I stretched and visualized and repeated my mantra, "My body recovers quickly and with ease from the rigors of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon."

When I woke up this morning my right knee was barking at me. I iced, stretched and after a few moments of panic, I reminded myself that there are going to be all sorts of sensations as I train to go 13.1 miles again. I waited until this afternoon to do my strength training to give my body a little extra time to recover from the run.

I felt surprisingly strong during my strength training work out with a renewed confidence that I am going to run my SECOND CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in 74 days.

It's the first time on my health and wellness journey that I am able to maintain positive momentum.

It's the first time that I can unequivocally say I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life through the power of positive touch healing the effects of paralytic polio and violence.

What do normal people do on a Saturday morning? I wonder - I only know that you'll find me building miles and counting down to the Bermuda Half Marathon from now until January 13th!

To your health and wellness,

Friday, October 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Transforming Shame: On Vulnerability and Courage

In addition to being a client experiencing profound healing through the power of positive touch, partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, I am his research assistant. We have an exploratory study and are gathering data for anecdotal case studies for "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy on Trauma Recovery."

I've been scouring the web for our review of literature and happened upon this TED talk. Please take the 15 minutes and listen to what Dr. Burke Harris has to say.

I'd been asking the Universe for guidance about how/when/where we can, to paraphrase Dr. Harris, shout from the rooftops about what we are discovering about how the power of positive touch with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy is healing the effects of trauma. I knew in my gut that this was a public health issue and Dr. Harris validated my intuition in her TED Talk.

In my recent treatment with Jeffrey, I went deep - very deep into the well of feelings of shame, betrayal, feeling unworthy, frightened and alone. I shared with him not only the horrors of what I lived through but how I harbored feelings in response to those adverse childhood events or ACES as a 1995-1997 study of 17,500 adults labeled them. The power of positive touch pierced the veil of shame and unworthiness as layer upon layer of feelings and beliefs poured out of me. It took tremendous courage for me to bear and bare all. With physical and verbal comfort and compassionate presence I emerged from the depths of hell that I harbored my entire life feeling excited for the work we are doing together.

I am opening up to my friends in a new way. I am discovering that by my opening up about my experiences, they are talking about their traumatic experiences both past and present as men, as women and mothers and suddenly we are no longer alone holding compassionate presence for each other.

There are waves of emotions I ride and ripples that still rip through me but I come back to a place of stillness, aliveness, creativity, calm and peace; a sense of safety and well being however wild my thoughts and feelings become. They used to have a horrible grip on me and now I can tame the dragon.

Tomorrow I run 9.5 miles training for my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. (Jeffrey emphasizes the consecutive aspect of this).

With finding the courage to be vulnerable and bare all, all can be healed. However horrific the events, however deep the cut and seemingly endless the pain and fear seem, all can be healed and made new through love, caring, kindness, compassionate presence and the power of positive touch. I am free to run and go the distance. I am free to live my life and through the work Jeffrey and I are doing on and off of the table we can help others reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch!

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The last time I was in New York...

was in December of 2009.

A dear friend messaged me on Facebook and said he was coming to the States and would be in New York over Thanksgiving weekend. Without missing a beat I said we could come meet him in New York City.

Tom and I tried to remember the last time we were in New York. It took some time to remember...It was for the End Polio Now concert in December of 2009; a fundraiser by Rotary International where Itzhak Perlman, a polio survivor performed with the NY Philharmonic.

I wrote a blog post, "Shoes," talking about the fact that, despite going to Lincoln Center, I was going to be wearing black tie polio shoes with an AFO, ankle foot arthosis.

Here's an excerpt from that blog:
When I trained for the Boston Marathon and did a lot of strength training, I was able to relinquish the AFO - as if the AFO was something to be relinquished. I realize now that I probably would have been a lot more comfortable running the Marathon in the AFO but old habits die hard. The 'polio' mentality was one of coming out of braces and orthotics as soon as possible and to lose any outward signs of having been affected by the polio virus. As Katherine Ott said in a video about "Polio:Forgotten But Not Gone" it was the AIDS of its day.

I could not shed my identity as a polio survivor and at that early part of my healing journey was not yet aware of how much my history of trauma was affecting my ability to find a steady path of health and wellness.

After 8 plus years of being on a healing quest, I was led to Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor and then Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that heals and transforms the wounds of trauma.

I am training for my second consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon.

I work out 5 days a week and I work full time with Jeffrey growing Spratt Muscular Therapies, the innovative massage therapy practice that he created. I am going through incredible heartbreak as a result of our daughter's illness yet I am able to continue to experience positive momentum on my health and wellness journey through partnering with Jeffrey.

During my therapy session yesterday I shared with Jeffrey how when we were working on his book about the Spratt Method, my fingers were steady flying across the keyboard keeping up with his thoughts. There was absolutely no evidence of tremors. "You were normal," Jeffrey said in a quiet, caring and loving voice. "Factory new." He said it so quietly that I had to ask him to repeat what he said. After he said that and worked on my heart chakra, I felt my heart open and despite all the pain I shared with him during the session, I knew that love, kindness, caring and compassionate presence were the antidote to the venom of the violence I endured.

My body had absorbed all of that venom and through the work we are doing together, those toxins from that venom are being released; the physical and emotional wounds are being healed through the power of positive touch. The effects of paralytic polio and trauma are transformed.

The last time I was in New York I was constricted, living and embodying the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. We enjoyed the beautiful concert and I enjoyed being back in my hometown, New York City sampling what the City has to offer as best I could.

This year is going to be rather epic! We are planning to sight see on foot and take a horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park on Friday. We are staying in mid town near Times Square and see where our feet take us. We have tickets to see "The Front Page" on Saturday.

I am going to feel like Mary Tyler Moore (even though her show was set in Minneapolis)

Love is all around no need to waste can have the Town why don't you take it...You're gonna make it after all!

Yes I am ...going the distance and 7 years later I am taking NYC by storm!

To your health and wellness!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Nine is Divine: Building Miles & Excitement!

If you ever would have told me in December of 2014 that I'd be training for my 2nd Bermuda Half Marathon, I would have told you that was just crazy. Oh sure I knew about the power of the mind/body connection, the body achieves what the mind believes and all that goes with it, but my left knee blew up and blew out with a miniscal tear, a lipoma, degenerative joint changes, bone spurs and degenerative post op changes from reconstructive leg surgery, 3 arthoscopic surgeries and hardware removal, and I thought it was game over for my running career.

But not for long....

I went the traditional Western Medicine route for about a minute. Fortunately the Universe sent me the physical therapist from hell. Things were rapidly deteriorating at Spaulding Rehab's Aquatic Therapy classes with the naysayer messages I was receiving from instructors and with the people in the class. The massage therapist I was working with at the time was sending me negative energy through his touch and with his words in terms that made me know in no uncertain terms I needed to, at the very least, leave that guy and hopefully find a new massage therapist who would partner with me to go the distance.

The powerful intentions I set forth in my poetry which you can read in "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life," available on Amazon led me to Dr. Ryan Means, a doctor of chiropractic medicine and Jeffrey Spratt, MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

I'm getting ready to celebrate the 10th anniversary of being given the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease when I was told to adapt our Cape home and prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

I have experienced more healing since partnering first with Ryan (who has since gone to China to bring his gifts of healing to the other side of the world) and now with Jeffrey since April of 2015, then I did in the previous 8 1/2 years on my healing quest. AND until now I would always hit a wall in the journey - every.damn.time. I could not for the life of me get positive momentum on my quest for health and wellness.

The stress in our lives was off the charts with our daughter's illness. While I certainly have my moments and my days, I am able to put my mind and body through the rigors of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon again. On Saturday the weather was warm, chilly, windy, foggy, sunshine, drizzle and rain. We loved being able to head out our front door and then figure out what we were going to do to get in our 9 miles improvising our route along the way.

Nine Divine miles as we build miles and excitement for Bermuda Marathon Weekend, January 2017.

I almost quit back in December of 2014. I was surrounded by people who didn't believe and people who were mirroring the beliefs I was harboring about myself as a survivor of paralytic polio and violence. The wheels were already set in motion though in the Universe to help me manifest my intention to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and violence. The power of my pen, the power of my poetry to express my heart and soul's desire to move beyond limits and self-limiting beliefs and leaving people and situations that did not support this intention brought me to this moment in my life.

I am so excited to be in the final stages of editing, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance."

Mary McManus 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. After 8 years of her quest to heal, 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.

Nine miles - nine divine miles in the Bank of Bermuda as Team McManus builds miles and excitement for an encore performance at Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

To your health and wellness!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrate Massage Therapy Awareness Week!

The American Massage Therapy Association has declared October 23-29 Massage Therapy Awareness Week. Why should we celebrate massage therapy awareness week. After all isn't massage a luxury? Although there has been a shift in perception of the benefits of massage therapy now being supported by research, most people still believe that getting a massage is a luxury that requires time and money. While it may feel good in the moment, it's not something that has any long lasting benefits.

That is exactly WHY we are celebrating Massage Therapy Awareness Week.

Rachel DiBenedetto, one of the newest members of the team at Spratt Muscular Therapies shared this photo on Facebook:

Jeffrey Spratt,MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies is passionate about the power of positive touch and of how massage therapy, when done with right intention blending the art and science of the work, can, at the very least create positive momentum in a person's life and at its very best be life saving.

For me, massage therapy with Jeffrey and his innovative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, has saved my life. From deep compressions and working with an elbow at times to clear out congestion and bring relief to areas once devastated by paralytic polio and violence to a gentle touch with an intention to heal, we transform the most toxic and grotesque experiences. The compassionate presence Jeffrey brings to the work, the new memories and sensations experienced on the table cascade through me creating ripples of healing allowing for a new neural net to grow. The past and most recently severe stress in my life no longer overwhelm me. I am free to reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the powerful healing that comes with massage therapy.

The Wall Street Journal published an article in 2012, "Don't Call It Pampering: Massage Therapy Wants to be Medicine" citing research on the benefits of massage therapy.

The AMTA provides links to research on the benefits of massage therapy for a wide range of conditions in their article, "25 reasons to get a massage".

We are so blessed at Spratt Muscular Therapies to have the finest massage therapy professionals in Boston. Their passion, their commitment, their belief in the power of positive touch to touch a person's life and make a difference is truly remarkable. I get to sit down and interview each therapist to write their bio and from time to time to write a blog about what each one as an individual brings to the table. You can Meet the Team that is at your service to help you reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch and read their bios.

I celebrate how massage therapy has transformed my life each and every day giving thanks that I found my way to Jeffrey's table. I am delighted to celebrate Massage Therapy Awareness Week with this cooperative of massage therapists honoring the work that they do.

If you are in the Boston area I invite you to celebrate Massage Therapy Awareness Week with us. From October 23-October 29th, our 20 minute signature ShakeOut (TM) Massage is only $20. That's a $20 savings on 20 minutes that will relieve tension and those aches and pains that accumulate in our 24/7 technologically driven world, rejuvenate and energize you.

Call me at 617-678-1426 to reserve your table time. Come celebrate! Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life!

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Transformation Tuesday - Why am I so sore?

TEN YEARS AGO - ten years ago this December I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. That first photo you see is me in December of 2007 one year after the diagnosis. I was told to adapt my Cape house or buy a ranch and prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair....possibly needing a feeding tube because the left side of my esophagus was sluggish and muscle function was compromised. I needed to consider using a C-PAP machine because sleep apnea was common among polio survivors and my clinical presentation indicated a high suspicion that I was suffering from sleep apnea. I was told "if you use it you will lose it" so conserve energy because the natural aging process was going to be accelerated as a result of the initial polio virus. On and on it went...I did heed the advice to quit my award winning social work career at the VA because the physical and emotional stress of the job was not going to support my healing. Initially I implemented many of the strategies suggested to me. Fortunately, I met an angel of a physical therapist, Allison Lamarre Poole, at Spaulding Rehab's Downtown Clinic. She was not affiliated with the post polio clinic and refused to treat me like a polio survivor. She helped me to believe that I could get stronger. Poetry poured out of me visualizing myself as healthy and whole, free and at ease in my body. She partnered with me until I was discharged from outpatient care. I hired a personal trainer, another earth angel who did not scoff at me or turn tail when I set the goal to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

After Boston, it was a roller coaster ride of feeling well and then crashing and burning with a resurgence of symptoms. After my nephew's suicide in March of 2011, it was almost a knock out and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to come back from that blow. I soldiered on and wouldn't quit feverishly writing poetry imagining reclaiming my life and running unencumbered and free.

Fast forward to March of 2015 when I met Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor who set me straight on my healing path. A month later I was blessed to find my way to Jeffrey Spratt,MT and his life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

There's been positive momentum. Despite what Jeffrey calls a "tonnage" of stress in my our lives with our daughter's psychiatric condition, I continue to move forward in my health and wellness journey healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma while also healing the trauma of what happened with our daughter.

I got out of my car this afternoon after a full day at work with Jeffrey and Spratt Muscular Therapies. I wondered, "Why am I so sore?" In addition to my day beginning at 6:00am with our 5K run:

I did a lot of walking at work to and from my parking space (twice because the first time I forgot my lunch in the car) and partnering with a company in the area. I had two meetings and finished at 3:30.

I ran the Hazelwood 5K on Saturday.

I haven't missed a beat in strength training or cross training as I train again for the Bermuda Half Marathon coming up in less than 3 months!

It's quite the miracle that I can put in a full day, train for Bermuda again, manage the intense feelings of these past 7 months with our daughter and now working through the trauma and the grief of letting go letting her find her way on her journey without us. There is a resilience that I can now experience through partnering with Jeffrey and all the tools he gives me to help me reclaim advantage and reclaim life moving beyond my habitual responses that had their origins in devastating trauma after contracting paralytic polio. So why am I so sore? Because I am living life to the full...because I am vibrant and healthy and able to consistently challenge my body getting stronger every day. Because I am almost 63 years old and I have a work out schedule that would put some people half my age to shame.

I am sore and strong and tomorrow, after my final day of my 5 day training cycle on the Arc Trainer and Bike, I get to get on Jeffrey's table again where I will reclaim advantage, reclaim life, recover and rejuvenate.

To your health and wellness

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Hazelwood 5K Race Report - Running with Passion & Purpose

I had no expectations for my performance on race day. After my ShakeOut (TM) Massage on Friday Jeffrey Spratt,MT pioneer of the ShakeOut (TM) Massage and the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy said to me, "Go kick ass." I'm in the middle of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon but because the Hazelwood 5K was a celebration of women's running and was for such a great cause, The Women's Center of New Bedford, I took a week to taper distance and run the race.

What a delight when my inspirational friend, Laura Donahue Brady said that we would run the race together. She is new to running and on a beautiful health and wellness journey. Her husband, Timothy, signed up for the Men's Race to support Laura and the Women's Center. He plays basketball and soccer but was not trained to run a 5K. I asked Tom what his plans were for the race. He said that after the week he had, he just wanted to go out and enjoy the run. It was a small field and Tom said he'd come back and run the Women's 5K with us. He was planning to just take it easy.

We had a wonderful pre race conversation and since it was a race to celebrate women's running, Laura and I took a pre-race selfie:

The guys went out first at 10 am. We cheered them as the small yet mighty field of 9 men and one woman took off. Madeline Marinella thought the women's race was at 10am and she had somewhere to be later in the morning. The men agreed to have her join them in their race and she kicked some serious butt. I shared my inspirational story with her and we are now Facebook friends.

She runs for the Travis Roy Foundation and in honor of Travis whenever she runs. She proudly took her place as a woman runner among the men and finished in the top 3 men!

The sun was shining and the air was crisp and cool. Our gun time was not until 11am. Laura and I sat in the sun at a memorial that paid tribute to women who served in the military across the decades of war.

Women began to arrive for our race. The Women's Center staff arrived with an information table, staff and their Team of runners. I introduced myself and really needed no introduction. They were grateful for my blog and my promotion of the race. I got to meet Robin Lynne who has an inspirational story that gave me goosebumps when I saw her posts on Facebook. She was assaulted right before the Chicago Marathon a few years ago and sustained a fractured skull. This year she ran Chicago and is getting ready to run the Marine Corps Marathon. Talk about resilience!

The men's finishers started coming in to their final turn. My "I'm going to relax and take it easy" husband was speeding to the finish line and came in 2nd place to a 40 year old man. He was in the lead until he missed the turn around at a water stop. True to runner's code, another runner called out to him and waited until he turned around and came back. He finished strong!

He received the award for 2nd place overall and 1st in his age group.

Tom gave his 2nd trophy to Laura's husband to honor his incredible effort running around an 11 minute mile WITH NO TRAINING!

It was time for the ladies to toe the starting line:

They're off!

Laura got in the zone with her music. I knew she ran about a 15:13 minute/mile pace. We agreed that we would just find a steady pace that worked for both of us. Laura, as I mentioned is new to running. I was in awe of her intense concentration and determination. Tom jumped in saying this was the first race he ever received a trophy for and his first race running bandit.

I found myself next to Leslie, an expressive therapist who works at The Women's Center. Conversation flowed about my journey and the work I am doing with Jeffrey Spratt, MT. She was so excited to hear about a new method for healing trauma. As I shared with her some of the techniques Jeffrey has used with me, she talked about comparable techniques she is using with her kids and adolescents although is not licensed to provide touch therapy. We both agreed that talking therapy only goes so far in the treatment of trauma. I thanked her for the work she is doing and she blessed me with knowing that there is a wonderful group of kind, compassionate and dedicated professionals at The Women's Center to help survivors of domestic violence, trauma, sexual and physical abuse to heal. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I found myself running with passion and purpose, pushing my pace, representing the work I do with Jeffrey and how, through healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I can, as the intention he set for me in our first session, run unencumbered. The miles seemed to just fly by and I checked in with Laura to see how she was doing. She led the way for most of the race and I worked hard to keep up with her. The views were magnificent and she paused to take a photo:

Here is Laura, Leslie, myself and bandit Tom out on the course:

I experienced incredible joy and healing being able to talk about my journey and experiencing Leslie's compassion and knowing how far trauma treatment has come. I felt exhilaration to know that Jeffrey and I are going to contribute to the field of trauma treatment and all of my pain and suffering is not in vain.

My friends Shawn and Allison who volunteered to help Geoff and Charlie for the day were out on the course taking photos and cheering us on. I felt my journey was honored as we celebrated the joy of running. What a transformation from having been jeered, taunted and teased as a child after contracting polio to being cheered on!

As we neared the finish, we were cheered on and encouraged to pick up the pace. I had a full on sprint to the finish with Laura and Leslie right behind me! We took a Team McBrady selfie photo:

Laura and I experienced this moment of happiness after the race:

We said our goodbyes and Tom and I went to the after race party at the Pour Farm Tavern. We got a free beer with our race bib. Tom had a beer and I had a sparkling water. You never know what kind of food you're going to get at a bar but it our chicken sandwiches with a side of hanging out with runners was a delicious experience. I thought back to the last time I was at a post race party at a bar in December of 2014. I could barely walk with a very serious knee injury; an injury that opened the door to a new opportunity for healing! The wonderful thing about runners is you take a group of strangers, just add running and a race and you have instant friendships!

I had my post event ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey today. I told him he told me to kick ass. "Yeah how'd you do?" he asked me. "15:22 minute pace with my last mile at 15:10". "How's your body feeling?" he asked. "Like I beat it up but I don't have to worry now. I know you'll take care of me and help my body to recover." "That's right," he said. "You can beat your body up and then I help you recover. Instead of getting injured, you're able to get stronger!"

And that dear friends is how I reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy being able to run with the pack with passion and purpose spreading a message of inspiration and receiving inspiration from other women.

I'm incredibly grateful to Geoff Smith and Charlie Breagy the co race directors who, despite a small field of runners, went all out to provide us with a wonderful race experience and post race party.

Next week I'll be back to Bermuda Half Marathon training as we go another 9 miles....Less than 3 months to go.

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! On Courage, Patience and Persistence

I am coming up on the 10 year anniversary of when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western medicine standards. I could have accepted the diagnosis and planned to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair believing what the doctors thought to be true; that we have a limited number of nerve cells in our body that die off with age. Because a polio survivor's nervous system is compromised to begin with, there is an accelerated aging process.

Something deep inside of me knew this wasn't and couldn't be true. At first I accepted the diagnosis and took much of their advice to heart and then a couple of months later I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. It came in the form of my first poem, "Running the Race:"
Running the Race February 2007

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, 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, alone and afraid tried 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.

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.

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.

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.

It foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run. I wrote many many poems visualizing healing and transformation and conjuring up the healer I needed to partner with me and I ran many races since then. Until I found my way to Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I could not for the life of me get traction on my healing journey. As life happened and happened big with the suicide of my nephew in March of 2011, I collapsed under the weight of the external stress. I sought out healing modality after healing modality and none could give me the positive momentum in my journey.

This past year has been a year from hell with the stress of our daughter's psychiatric condition. In the past, it would have completely undone me and done me in but because I am partnering with Jeffrey each week, I am able to not only maintain the goals in my health and wellness journey but I continue to gain positive momentum.

We had no idea how we were going to extricate ourselves from being responsible for our daughter. I prayed and thanked God before any outcome was known to us. I was courageous, patient and persistent in not letting these external circumstances derail me although at times I wondered how I was going to make it through. But each week I returned to Jeffrey's table for healing through the power of positive touch and compassionate presence and each week I was able to move forward in healing, health and wellness.

This past week circumstances came together. We are able to let go and allow others to provide care and resources for our daughter. After yesterday's treatment I announced to Jeffrey that I felt 10 pounds lighter. "Good for you," he said. "The neat thing about this work," he went on to say, "is how you have been able to maintain positive momentum in the face of unimaginable emotional stress." We both looked at each other and experienced this sense of excitement. We are both excited to see what will happen now that the stress of my daughter's behavior and condition is no longer present in my life. Jeffrey had acknowledged that I need time to grieve and let go but at the same time, I know in every fiber of my being that without that stress I am going to experience even greater healing and transformation. First up is healing these tremors which got reactivated under the stress of these past 7 months as we tried to support our daughter by having her live with us, and then working on a 12 minute/mile pace as we continue to create a factory new left leg and well a factory new everything free from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Here's to courage to setting greater and greater goals, patience for positive outcomes and persistence reclaiming my life and reclaiming my advantage going the distance!

To your health and wellness,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! We Shine with Nine - Miles in the Bank of Bermuda

With each training run for the Bermuda Half Marathon, I feel that I am conquering the world!

I was feeling sad about not going to Cape Cod for the weekend of the Marathon this year so Team McManus created our own staycation this weekend. We had glorious weather for our training run. I was having a hard time getting myself together. Things with our daughter's psychiatric condition had been rapidly deteriorating and Tom said, "Come on...Let's head over to Southie." There are no excuses for me to not train in large part because I represent the work that Jeffrey Spratt,MT and I are doing together. What a miracle of healing we have co-created through the power of positive touch using the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. As I edit my next book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," I am in awe of how we are able to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and despite any stress in my current life, I am able to maintain positive momentum in my health and wellness journey. I no longer call it my healing journey but call it my health and wellness journey!

I am so glad he did! We started at M Street, ran to Castle Island and looped around the Castle. We ran around Pleasure Bay and out to beyond U Mass Boston and the JFK Library. I remembered how different this year's run felt from last year when I was still finding the endurance runner within me. Here is Team McManus with a shine after our divine 9 miles:

It feels incredible to be training again for the Bermuda Half Marathon. What makes the journey even sweeter is that Nicole, one of my dear runner friends in cyberspace is training for the Houston Marathon again that takes place on the same day as Bermuda. Houston was her first Marathon and we are on the same training cycle again supporting each other while we relish training for these races the 2nd time around.

After our training run we went to Tamo at the Seaport Hotel for lunch, went into the pool to stretch and recover from the run and I took a hot shower with an ice cold water flush.

Yesterday Tom and I went for retail therapy. I must admit that I like the way I look and feel in clothes now. Shopping used to be such drudgery for me - especially for dress shoes and clothes other than running gear. It was a dreary rainy day so it was perfect weather to head to the mall. We've got several events coming up and I also wanted to buy something that I can wear when we present at the World Congress in May. We haven't heard that our presentation has been accepted but I believe it has already been accepted. What better way to affirm that than by buying a power pants suit right? I tried on one suit and ordinarily I would settle but not yesterday. I found a fabulous Calvin Klein suit on sale with a gorgeous sleeveless top to wear underneath it. Shoe shopping was at first a little frustrating and then I said, "I find the shoes that I need with ease." I found these adorable Lucky Brand flats that reminded me of the Capezio ballet shoes I wore before I contracted paralytic polio.

We had to go out Route 9 West in order to turn around to come back into Boston. We passed by Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio where, 10 years ago, I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, definitely needing a sleep apnea machine and facing a grim prognosis.

Instead I was heading home after having 9 miles in the Bank of Bermuda on Saturday, having strength trained Sunday morning and coming home with a new outfit and new shoes to shine the way I was always meant to shine!

To your health and wellness!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Fundraising Friday: Well Done Boston!

Boston Senior Home Care is a private, community-based, non-profit organization that provides care management serves and programs to low-income elders and disabled individuals who have basic daily living needs (e.g., bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, and meal preparation, etc.) and want to remain at home. Each year, we help over 7000 individuals through our various programs and services.

When I worked at the VA as a social worker, I was blessed to partner with Boston Sr. Home Care to support my elderly veterans and their families. There were many complex psychosocial needs that needed to be attended to. When I picked up the phone and dialed 617-451-6400 there was always somebody there to work with me to ensure that needs were met for the veteran to live independently and safely in the community.

After an immensely successful ‘Taste of the Town’ fundraiser in 2014, Boston Senior Home Care is bringing back its one-night celebration of Boston’s culinary scene and most sought-after restaurants in the form of ‘Well Done Boston’. Along with showcasing the restaurants representing the neighborhoods and communities we serve, our goal for this event is to raise $150,000 dollars for our client discretionary fund. This fund supports Boston Senior Home Care consumers who are in need of assistance with such items as clothing, bedding, furnishings, transportation, medicine, utility costs, and temporary short term shelter when no other means of financial support exist.

“Well Done Boston” will feature offerings from some of Boston’s finest restaurants, as well as a live and silent auction. Jenny Johnson, NESN’s Dining Playbook co-host, will serve as this year’s emcee, once again.

Some of their sponsors include:
Family Foods Services
Intercity Home Care
Chinese Golden Age Center
Medical Resources Home Health
Webster Bank

Some of the awesome items up for auction include:
Dinner for two on a Spirit of Boston Cruise
A Home Cheese & Wine Tasting for 10 Led by professional wine & cheese educator and award-nominated author Adam Centamore
Hotel stays at the Renaissance Seaport Hotel, The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, the Fairmount Copley
Gift Certificates to restaurants such as Gaslight, Brasserie du Coin and the Beehive
Spratt Muscular Therapies is donating 2 Gift Certificates for 45 minute massage therapy treatments

Follow this link to purchase your tickets.

To learn more about Boston Senior Home Care and the truly amazing work they do, visit their website.

Look forward to seeing everyone on 11/17th at the Seaport Hotel.

Well Done Boston Sr. Home Care....

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Healing Paralysis - It's a Miracle!

As I approach the ten year anniversary of when I was given the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, I've been reflecting - a lot - on these past ten years. I'm so blessed that I love to write and have chronicled my journey through my blogs and my journal. I am feverishly editing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance."

As I edit the sequel to my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility," I reflect on the many twists and turns that my healing journey has taken me on. How is it that in the past year and a half, since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt, MT, pioneer of the life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I have healed more than I did in the previous 8 1/2 years?

The Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy allows the body to heal in its own time, at its own pace. Traumatic memories are unearthed and simultaneously healed. Jeffrey's clear intention to help his clients heal, "Reclaim Advantage and Reclaim Life" through the power of positive touch met with my burning and yearning to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. His own innovative method of muscular therapy is exactly what I needed to remove blockages and to heal and reverse the effects of paralysis. I have new sensations and new muscles. Sometimes it's the little things that remind us of a miracle; like how I can lift my legs high enough using my inner thigh muscles to put my slacks on with ease and grace. I use more and more of my body as everything flows with cleaner and clear energy. Even at 63 years old, my body runs with greater efficiency thanks to my work with Jeffrey. Rather than seeing and feeling tremors in my hands and head, I experience a sense of steadiness to my body and Being. It's quite the miracle that I am able to continue to heal in the face of the extraordinary stress of our daughter's psychiatric condition. Yet here I am working out 5 days a week and training for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January.

I'd been through I lost count of how many series of KMI Structural Integration to help my body to heal. It's supposed to be a mind/body therapy but in my experience the only part of the mind portion of the work was mind games leading me to believe that there was something wrong with my body and its posture that needed to be fixed. A body doesn't heal with force and pressure from the outside in. Who is to judge my posture and what is the right way of moving and being? With the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, my mind, my body and my Spirit are able to return to, as I like to say, factory settings and as Jeffrey says, everything can now be made factory new through the power of positive touch.

From KMI Structural Integration, I found a therapist who practiced Zero Balancing. Talk about going from one extreme to the other. The language of Zero Balancing or ZB as it is known uses fulcrums and there is the cautionary tale about the therapist keeping a safe zone of interface between them and the client. Jeffrey is fully present mind, body and Soul and he uses his body, his hands, his heart and his compassionate presence to bring about positive momentum and healing erasing all that went before.

I feel so blessed and deeply grateful that I have arrived in this moment in my life. The effects from paralytic polio are healing. There is a rewiring of my neuromuscular system. I shift from experiencing triggers and trauma brain being stuck in the habits of the past to a wonderful state of expansion living in the present.

What an absolute gift. The best 10 year anniversary gift I could possibly ask for. Healing paralysis and the effects of trauma. It's a miracle!

To your health and wellness!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Going the Distance-Ten Years Later

As I am working on my 2nd round of edits for Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance, I realize how much strength, fortitude and determination I have had during these past 10 years. It will be 10 years ago on October 6th that I made that phone call to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio. Funny how some dates just seem to stick with you.

For ten years prior to making that phone call I was slowly withering on the vine of life. The limp from polio returned. Symptoms of anxiety, depression, difficulty swallowing and breathing, chronic pain, fatigue went from a whisper to a roar until I could no longer ignore what was happening to me.

The first steps I took on this healing odyssey out of the dark night of my mind, body and soul were on the path of Western Medicine. While some of the advice I received was welcome advice - like I had to learn how to take care of myself and I needed to leave my almost 20 year career at the VA, some of the advice was fear based. "If you use it you will lose it," the doctors told me (and tell many who are experiencing a neuromuscular condition). "Be prepared to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. We suggest you look for a new house or adapt the house you are living in." "We want to do a sleep study and you should have a c-pap machine because we suspect you have sleep apnea." "You need a semi soft diet and at some point if your swallowing continues to deteriorate you may need a feeding tube."

Holy sh** I thought to myself...I better do something and fast!

While I followed some of the advice - like quitting my job and making dramatic lifestyle changes, there was something burning deep inside of me yearning to heal, to be free, to reclaim my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and to create a miracle of healing.

These yearnings came through my pen, my divining rod for healing as I wrote poetry allowing my soul to speak.

Year after year since the diagnosis of December 2006, I worked so hard to heal.

Body worker after body worker, energy healer, physical therapy, aquatics therapy, adaptive sports, yoga, KMI Structural Integration, Zero Balancing... nothing was giving me the traction I needed to heal.

At just the right moment, I met Dr. Ryan - a chiropractor healer whose healing hands and heart, compassion and belief in the body's capacity to heal ignited that fire to go the distance within me. He turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and Candace Pert, Ph.D. and turned on my belief that I deserve to heal.

Shortly after meeting Dr. Ryan, Jeffrey Spratt,MT came into my life. "What leg are we rehabbing?" he asked confidently taking my left leg infusing healing and a belief that yes indeed it was time to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life...his tagline for Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC. As I experienced his very own Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, I knew my search for a healer to partner with me was over!

What's different about Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey is that they took their foundation of training and pioneered their own method of practicing the art of chiropractic care and muscular therapy.

None of the other practitioners I had seen were able to claim their own style of releasing the body's natural capacity to heal. None of the other practitioners were invested or held the intention to help me heal. I was an object of interest to them.

How blessed am I that I have a wonderful story to tell and share with others to inspire hope and healing.

I can hardly believe it's been 10 years since I set out to heal my life....a wonderful milestone.

I am so excited to prepare this manuscript for publication sharing the good news that ten years after being diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease, I am going the distance running long, strong, healthy and happy in my life and on the roads.

To your health and wellness!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Impossible is a Dare! Imagine the Possibilities! My New Normal!

Last week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hear George Blankenship speak at ADP, our payroll processing company's Senior Leadership Meeting. I was invited to be a member of the panel representing Spratt Muscular Therapies, LLC and our experience with ADP as we transitioned from 1099 staff status to W-2 status. I was invited to stay for lunch and to hear the keynote address by George. George speaks with authority about doing the impossible. "It's not impossible, it just hasn't been done yet," he said. "To unlock your growth," he said, (and this is fabulous advice for business and personal life) close your eyes and imagine."

That's exactly what I did after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome now almost 10 years ago! I got still and I imagined a life different than my circumstances. My pen became my divining rod for healing and poetry poured out of me imagining myself as healthy, whole and free. I was even so bold as to imagine myself Running the Race!. I was told I'd spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

The theme of innovation was woven into George's presentation.

Innovation -- "Look at something that already exists and think maybe there's something better!"

That's exactly what Jeffrey Spratt,MT has done pioneering the innovative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

How do you come up with an innovative way to deliver massage therapy that is effective and powerful? It begins with intention. Jeffrey's intention was to create a method of massage therapy that would provide a transformative experience for his clients.

I set my intention through my poetry to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, to reclaim my life, to run unencumbered and free.

What a beautiful Universe we live in where we found each other in April 2015 to partner together.

I could not for the life of me get traction on my healing journey. It was impossible. Everyone was telling me after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that it would be impossible for me to continue my running career. It was impossible for me to consider going the distance again. It certainly was impossible to grow a new gastroc muscle in my left leg, dissolve bone spurs, reverse the effects of degenerative osteoarthritis and it certainly was impossible that I could reverse the effects of post polio syndrome.

At first I allowed those beliefs to prevail but then I got pissed and I took impossible as a dare. I wrote poetry with even greater fervor and knew deep down inside of me that I had not come that far in my healing journey to only go that far.

The Universe delivered!

I fired everyone who had been on my Team.

I am going to be 63 years old in a couple of months and I work out 5 days a week. I'm training for the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon.

The weather was really gross yesterday. Team McManus could have opted to go outside for a run but we are so blessed to be members of Wave Health and Fitness. I knocked out 6 miles on the treadmill and then 3 miles on the bike. Poured sweat. Felt strong.

I reflected on the difference in my training for the Bermuda Half Marathon from a year ago.

Last year I was still living in the shadow of impossible. Fortunately I worked with Jeffrey, the best muscular therapist in Boston - probably the US - I dare say who takes impossible as a dare and imagines all possibilities for healing. No guarantees but a powerful intention for healing and seeing what possibilities we can create.

And oh what possibilities we have turned into reality. I feel as though I could go out and run the Half Marathon tomorrow if I needed to. I feel confident in my body's ability to go the distance and believe in my mind's eye that this is now my new normal. Whatever may be going on in my body, I trust I can work out with Jeffrey each week in our sessions. He has taught me good self-care with stretching and the importance of a post run recovery routine.

They told me it was impossible to regain any of the functioning I'd lost as a result of the residuals of paralytic polio back in December of 2006. They told me it was impossible for me to run again any significant distance after the knee injury in December of 2014. Jeffrey and I have demonstrated that it wasn't impossible - it just hadn't been done yet!

To your health and wellness!