Friday, December 2, 2016

Going the Distance: It's All About the Mettle

Ten years ago I did not know what was happening in my body nor did I have a clue of how I was going to get out of the dire situation I was in with my body. A diagnosis of post polio syndrome was my starting line as I was told about all the things that could possibly happen and what I needed to prepare for a future in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, a sleep apnea machine and needing to walk away from my award winning career as a VA social worker. Energy conservation. Leg brace. Cane. Wheelchair. Wrist splint. Handicapped placard. Paratransit. If you use it you will lose it. The best we can hope for is to stabilize the symptoms where they are but only if you stop work and listen to everything we are telling you.

I was at a crossroads in my life and I had to dig deep and get still to figure out a way out of the mess I was in. I'd been in very messy situations before like paralytic polio at age 5 with a drug addicted neglectful mother followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence culminating with my father's suicide. I'd been touched by grace and had earth angels come into my life who would encourage me and support me seeing all that was right and good within me. I was high school valedictorian and received a free ride to Boston University my freshman year with scholarships.

It wasn't easy but I got my Bachelor's in Communications, went on to receive an MSW from Boston College and had an award winning career as a VA social worker. All those years of living from my intellect and ignoring/despising my body finally caught up with me in 2006.

So how does one find their way out of a diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease? How does one heal a life?

I sat down in February of 2007 and got very still. Spirit flowed through my pen, what has become my Divining Rod for Healing, and poetry, initially in the cadence of Dr. Seuss poured out of me with images of health, healing, wholeness, dancing in the rain without my leg brace, forgiveness, gratitude. My very first poem was called, "Running the Race." which foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

So that's what got me going on my healing path....what keeps me on my healing path?

It's all about the mettle. I didn't need to register to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon. I could easily have rested on all of my laurels during this past 10 year healing odyssey. But something inside of me needs me to challenge myself, to have big goals and to attain those goals and to test my mettle along the way. It does get rather nippy in New England this time of year although we have been so blessed with moderate temperatures to get in our long runs. It's dark when we get up to get in our 5K run during the week. Core work, cross training, strength training and swimming take up the 3 days when I don't run. It's all about my grit and determination and remembering what Dr. Ryan J. Means, my healer chiropractor instilled in me before he left to work in China.

I am so incredibly blessed that my Facebook friend, Nicole, is running her 2nd CONSECUTIVE Houston Marathon which just happens to be on the same exact day as the Bermuda Half Marathon. Last year we "trained together" counting down the days, inspiring one another and now we are sharing in the excitement of experiencing the same race that will be entirely different this year. One of my friends from my old running Club, L Street, is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and she is staying across the street from our hotel. Members of the Merrimack Valley Striders are going to be there and staying not far from where our hotel, the Rosedon Hotel is. In the midst of a New England Winter we are all fired up with training and having our eyes on the prize which for me will be this medal:

Ten years ago I was wearing this:

Today I am wearing this:

and tomorrow I once again test my mettle as Team McManus runs for 11 miles counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

To your health and wellness,

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