Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! December Milestones and a Time to Celebrate Healing!



Ten years ago on December 6th I sat down at a round table at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio with a physiatrist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a speech and language therapist to talk about my diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. I had 7 tubes of blood drawn and been through extensive testing because the diagnosis of post polio syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that everything else had to be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis could be made. Things looked rather grim for me. I was told to quit my award winning job as a VA social worker, go on social security disability, adapt our Cape house, be prepared to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair possibly needing a feeding tube at some point because of the sluggishness of the left side of my esophagus and to get a sleep apnea machine because of my compromised respiratory system.

In February of 2007, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance and my pen became my Divining Rod for healing as I imagined myself as healthy and whole even Running the Race. I was blessed with a physical therapist at Spaulding's Downtown Clinic who refused to treat me like a polio survivor. She supported me in my transition from work to retirement and shared in the joy of my new found passion of writing poetry.

Here I am in December of 2007:


I went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon;


recovered after going into outpatient physical therapy at Newton Wellesley Hospital under the guidance of Dr. El-Abd who I affectionately called my master magician of a spine specialist and ran race after race in 2010-2011 until my nephew's suicide stopped me cold.

I returned to the roads in 2013 and it was a slow, tortuous process of getting back into running. I willed myself to heal and partnered with less than optimal body workers.

I was an injury waiting to happen and in December 2014, my left knee blew out. The MRI results were not pretty. Once again I was told what was happening in my body and what I needed to do to avoid further damage with the prospect of needing a total knee replacement in a few years. Don't run but we know you will so cap the distance at 3-5 miles.

The powerful intentions I set forth in my poetry set the wheels in motion in the Universe to deliver me to Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor healer and Jeffrey Spratt,MT, a pioneer and trail blazer massage therapist.

My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility," available on Amazon chronicles the first 7 years on my healing journey working to heal the adverse effects of paralytic polio followed by 9 years of neglect and more abuse than any person should ever have to endure.

The soon to be released, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," chronicles my transformation and the miracle of my healing from 2014 through my running of the Bermuda Half Marathon and the Hyannis 10K earlier this year. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Ryan for being there to get me back on my healing path, turning me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and for reminding me to set goals not limits; and to Jeffrey for partnering with me each and every week to help me reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life through the power of positive touch and his life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.


In 46 days Team McManus toes the starting line of the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon. In 44 days Tom will begin his Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge with the Front St. Mile, the Bermuda 10K and the Half with me on Sunday. What a weekend it's going to be this year!

I have overcome so many incredible obstacles.


And now I am poised and ready to take on the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon....4 more long runs and then taper time. Besides the beautiful course, the hospitality and warmth of the Island of Bermuda this beauty waits for me after I cross the finish line:


Ten years ago.... two years ago.... cross roads and crises that led me to this moment in my life.

This December along with my 63rd birthday on December 25th I will celebrate my milestones in healing.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Monday, November 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feeling Challenged

When I woke up this morning everything was sore!



And that's just the way it's supposed to be as we build miles and count down to Bermuda Marathon Race Weekend 2017. 48 days until Team McManus toes the starting line of the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon:


but only 46 days until Tom embarks on his Bermuda Triangle Half Marathon. Four medals in four days! The Front St Mile followed by the Bermuda 10K followed by the Half Marathon!

I am going to be 63 in less than a month; Tom turns 65 in March. One might ask the question--why are you doing this?

The first answer that comes to mind is - because we can! We are so blessed - I am so blessed. Before partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I could not overcome the toll that paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members had taken on me mind, body and soul. For the first time in my life, I have momentum and a sense of confidence and joy in being able to challenge myself - and challenge myself for the SECOND CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. Jeffrey loves placing the emphasis on the SECOND CONSECUTIVE.

It's such a blessing that the Universe has put two healers in my path, Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey who believe in quantum healing and love and support me every mile on my quest to heal from polio and trauma. I used to live in fear and hesitation when it came to challenging my body. It was broken and broken down for such a large part of my life that it took a lot of energy, intention and action to make the shift to feeling healthy, whole and believing in its resilience.

I was so blessed to be out on the course with Tim Price in Bermuda. Um no I was not in the lead with the marathoners; it's a two loop course and one of the benefits of being a back of the pack runner is you get to see the front runners of the marathon.

He shared this wonderful perspective in a recent interview:
When asked, You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be? He answered: Get people to become more active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. I couldn’t care less how far or fast people run, walk, cycle, swim or do anything…as long as they are being active. Most of us are given this freaking amazing gift of a fully functioning body and to see how many people waste it is astonishing. Always think of those people who are physically unable to walk/lift/run/exercise through disabilities (not obesity)…do you think they would waste such an amazing gift? The results of more active lifestyles reach (and improve) most every aspect of our lives.

I've been given the gift of healing and a new lease on life after having been told 10 years ago that I should plan to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair because of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I have an obligation to myself and to others to be the best version of myself I can possibly be and to continue to challenge myself.

One of the nudges from the Universe letting me know that it was time for me to leave Spaulding Rehab's Aquatic Therapy Program came when the women in the program asked me why I ran.


The instructors and the women in the classes were challenging me about why I was challenging myself. After my knee injury in December of 2014, everyone told me that it was time to stop running and for about a New York minute I believed it and then I realized that running was in my blood even though I was a late comer to the sport at the age of 53.

Tim was asked, "From your experiences running, what do you believe to be true?"

Tim replied, "People are meant to be active. Our bodies are designed to move and explore the world around us and it is one of the greatest tragedies of modern times that so many people willingly waste it. Also runners, as a collective, are some of the most inviting and supportive people. How many complete strangers have congratulated you after a race? If everyone took this attitude to their every day lives the world would be a much better place."

I'm excited to see Tim and an entire crew of international runners along with our Bermudian friends when we once again return to Bermuda. I am sore to the core and just about everywhere else. Today I got back in the pool to do strength training and more stretching after a ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey which helped to get everything flowing again. It hurt so good. I won't do another run this week after not having solid time for rest and recovery last week with volunteering at the Feaster Five, heading to New York City where we logged 6 and 5 miles respectively and doing our 10.5 miler yesterday. I'll do another cross training in the pool and cross train on the Arc Trainer and Bike.

Next Saturday we will see if we are going to do another 10.5 miler or bump it up to 11 miles. We have a great base and I've been training harder and smarter than I ever have before in my life. At this point in our training, I know I am half marathon ready and we'll see how my body feels to see what distance will make sense.

I feel strong and I embrace the pain and soreness because it's so good for me. Rather than being challenged by those who would assault and abuse me I an challenging myself as I go the distance on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life every mile along the way.

To your health and wellness!
~Mary





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! On Taping, Transcending Limits and a 10.5 Mile Run



We were so blessed to spend two days in New York with Dr. Ryan J. Means, aka Dr. Ryan and his beautiful mom. Dr. Ryan changed my life forever when I met him in February of 2015. He reminded me of my body's tremendous capacity for healing AND if not more importantly, of my being worthy of healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. In early April of last year he asked me the question, "Why Set Limits?" He helped me find the courage to set goals for myself resurrecting the endurance runner within me despite having suffered a serious knee injury in December of 2014. We looked beyond the appearances of a deteriorating knee joint, deterioration as a result of multiple surgeries, osteoarthritis, bone spurs, a fatty lipoma, a torn miniscus that was beyond surgical repair and a medial gastroc muscle atrophied from paralytic polio. Western Medicine, physical therapists, rehab staff at Spaulding's Aquatics Center and even the massage therapist I was working with at the time all told me the time had come to hang up my running shoes and to be looking toward the future of needing a total knee replacement.

Dr. Ryan turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza author of 3 books including "You Are the Placebo." When Dr. Ryan moved to China, we stayed in close contact and he cheered me on to the finish line of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. Yes long distance healing works.

When he told me he was coming state side but couldn't make it to Boston it was a wonderful excuse to do a trip to New York. What a treat to get to spend hours with Ryan and his mom. Although I hadn't met Jane in person before it was as though we were old friends.

I had joked with Ryan about putting two tables together at a deli and have him do an adjustment while he was here. He got serious and said he couldn't adjust my lower back without a table but would be happy to do some work with me. I told him no that he was on vacation and I was doing really well with treatments with Jeffrey Spratt, MT. He told me that he did bring tape. I messaged him on Facebook yesterday morning and asked him if he was serious about doing a taping for me and he said absolutely! Well rather than putting two tables together at a deli and doing an adjustment, he did tape my knee and gastroc.



It reminded us both of when I first came to his office. I was so tentative about taking those first few steps back on the roads after my knee injury but Ryan gave me such a sense of hope. His passion for the work, his belief in the body's capacity to heal and his roles as a personal trainer and Bootcamp instructor in addition to being a doctor of chiropractic medicine fueled my desire to set goals not limits! How far I have come since those early days and rather than needing the tape in order to run, I enjoyed feeling the healing and the extra support that the tape provided to my left knee and gastroc as my left leg continues to become factory new as Jeffrey likes to say. My left knee and leg felt comfortable and supported throughout the training run and I felt a major confidence boost during the run through reconnecting with Dr. Ryan feeling his healing touch once more.

Today Team McManus went 10.5 miles in the wind and the chilly air. It was the first time I ran taped since last year and it was Divine Timing giving me just the boost I needed to believe in every fiber of my being that yes indeed I am running my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. It's 46 days until race weekend and 4 more long runs.



I've really not had a full rest day from last week's training cycle. I had an incredible massage therapy session last Wednesday but then on Thursday we volunteered at the Feaster Five Road Race. It was two hours out in the cold but we had a wonderful time being with our running family. We got up at 4 am on Friday to take the train to NYC and according to Tom's Fitbit walked 6 miles in the City. We slept in yesterday and walked 5 miles, took in a Broadway show and didn't get home until 1 am. We slept in and took our time waking up and getting ready for our long run today. I'll ease up this week and not do another run until next Saturday but do two pool workouts and one work out on the Arc Trainer and Bike.

Tomorrow I go for a ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey to help this body recover from the whirlwind of activity.

I am so blessed and touched by grace to have these two most remarkable healers in my life who partner with me to move forward in health and wellness despite the toll that paralytic polio and violence once took on me mind, body and soul. Now I reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life going the distance on and off the roads counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Going the Distance



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. Eight years after receiving the diagnosis, 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.


Tomorrow Tom and I board a train to NYC to meet one of those healers, Dr. Ryan J. Means while he is stateside. He has brought his gift of chiropractic care to China. I am absolutely delighted that since he can't come to Boston this trip, I'll be able to meet up with him in New York. Just being in his presence triggers a cascade of healing feelings throughout my body and Being. He was the first healer I met on this healing odyssey who unequivocally reminded me about all that I knew but had forgotten about my body's capacity to heal and was supporting me in bringing into physical manifestation all that I had written about in my poetry.



We are going to celebrate together! It's ten years next month since I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome and coincidentally one month from tomorrow I turn 63 years old. It's been 7 years since my last trip to New York when I was sporting this baby:


Tomorrow and Saturday we will be walking around the City and I'll be sporting my Altra running shoes.

We will be celebrating that I will be running my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in 50 Days.


Ryan taught me that I should set goals not limits, that I was worthy of a dedicated, caring, compassionate and passionate healing partner. He got me back on the roads and shortly after meeting Ryan, I met Jeffrey Spratt,MT another pioneer in his field who, like Ryan, believes in quantum healing. Although Ryan lives in China, we stay in touch via Facebook and the healing he set in motion continues. He is with me when I work out, when I run, when I swim and I feel his presence to counter any doubts I may have about going the distance in health and wellness.

Tomorrow's train ride will be spent editing Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance.

It's so important to share our healing stories so that others know what is possible in this life and that we are not our diagnoses, we are not what happened to us and we can certainly create a future different from our past.



It's Thanksgiving and in addition to having a belly filled with wonderful food, my heart overflows with gratitude for the blessings of health and wellness, for two healers who have partnered with me to go the distance and to my husband who has been with me every step and every mile of this most wondrous odyssey.

To your health and wellness!
~Mary




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Thankful for Us!



Team McManus has been together for almost 40 years. We met on a blind date on March 2, 1977 on Tom's 25th birthday. That's a lifetime together. When we started out we did not have the proverbial pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of. Tom was putting himself through school at then Boston State College (now U.Mass) and I worked as a secretary. We helped each other with our education. Tom completed his Bachelor's in Urban Planning and I completed an MSW at Boston College. To say we struggled is an understatement but as Wilma Rudolph said, "The triumph can't be had without the struggle."

I suffered from chronic illness and had many surgeries. We struggled with infertility. Without any extended family, we raised our twins. We lived through high interest rates, the dot com bubble and burst, cancer and ten years ago the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. Life looked pretty grim there for awhile. Tom told me it was a no brainer when the team at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio told me I had to leave my almost 20 year award winning career as a VA social worker.

As he returned home one dark and cold February evening, I announced to him that I knew what I was going to do after the VA. I started writing poetry. He was going to hook me up with a website and we were going to put ads on it to generate income. He supported me as I created New World Greeting Cards: Original Poetry for Every Occasion and went through all the different phases of reinvention with me.

When I vowed to run the 2009 Boston Marathon shortly after coming out of a leg brace and using a wheelchair for mobility, he said that I wasn't going to do it alone and thus Team McManus was born.


Oh the ups and downs of trying to heal a spinal cord injury and the residuals of violence.

Tom was so patient with me as I tried so many different modalities and countless therapists to get traction on my healing journey.

He was rightfully skeptical when he accompanied me to my first appointment with Jeffrey Spratt, MT.

From my soon to be released book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

4/19/2015

He greeted me at the Front Desk of Wave Health and Fitness all 6’2 and a half inches (6’3’ on the program he once told me) dressed in his collared black Spratt Muscular Therapies shirt and beige khakis. My hands shook as I completed the intake form. Do I dare trust another massage therapist? What if he turns out to be just like all the other body workers I met during these past 9 years? Was he trustworthy? ...
With his sweeping arm gesture, he led me into his treatment room and said to Tom who had accompanied me to the appointment since I was worried about getting lost, “We’ll see you in 90 minutes.” ...

“What leg are we rehabbing?” he asked me.

“The left,” I replied

He took my left leg, bent it to a 90 degree angle and gently but confidently tapped it on the table and stretched it while using his other hand to apply pressure to different pressure points.

I was intrigued and enthralled.

I had never experienced anyone work with me the way Jeffrey worked with me in that first session. He used very little product, worked a lot through the sheets and rather than attending to an area and having it be once and done, he moved around my body and methodically went back to work on areas again. ...

“Tom you have to see this guy. No really. He is the real deal. I promise you. He’s not like any of the others.”

“We’ll see,” Tom replied. “I’m just so glad that you had a good experience.”


As Tom saw the transformation happening as a result of my partnering with Jeffrey, he too, became a client and we have incorporated regular sessions with Jeffrey into our training.

Once I got back on the roads, Tom initiated our return to Bermuda to run the Half Marathon as part of Bermuda Marathon Weekend. He trained with me at my pace and we celebrated crossing the finish line together. You can see us at the 2:43 mark:



We will be returning to Bermuda in less than 2 months to once again enjoy the festivities of Bermuda Race Weekend. Tom is taking on the Half Triangle Challenge: The Front St. Mile on Friday night, the 10K on Saturday and running the Half with me at my pace on Sunday. We are going to spend an extra day after the race this year to just relax and enjoy the Island.

The day after tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It will be a bitter sweet holiday this year but all that matters is we count our blessings instead of our stressings. On Friday we head to NYC where I will be reunited with Dr. Ryan Means, the chiropractor healer who set me straight on my healing journey after a serious knee injury in December 2014 that "they said" would sideline me. He turned me onto the teachings of Dr. Joe Dispenza whose wisdom I continue to use to continue to heal and transform leaving the past behind.

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I'm healthy and continue to move forward in my health and wellness journey as we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome. I'm deeply grateful that Ryan, Jeffrey and Dr. Joe came into my life. We'll be volunteering at the Feaster Five with our running family on Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I wrap up nother successful 5 day training cycle for the Bermuda Half Marathon and have a massage therapy session with Jeffrey. Perhaps more than anything else in my life, I am so incredibly thankful for us - Team McManus - together we have weathered so many storms, seen so many rainbows and together move forward going the distance.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Monday, November 21, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Monday Motivation, Momentum and Inspiration



What an amazing journey these past 10 years have been since receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards. It was a result of years of dissociation from my body; a habit I developed in order to manage surviving years of unrelenting abuse and exploitation at the hands of family members shortly after contracting paralytic polio.

Talk about a slide into negative momentum! For ten years before I finally hit bottom feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired I was slowly descending into the dark night of my mind, body and soul. It took an almost complete shut down of mind, body and soul before I could slowly begin my ascent out of the pain that paralytic polio and violence had caused.

I had to get still and ask for Divine Guidance after being told that I had a progressive neuromuscular disease needing to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

What glorious guidance came to me that began to lift my heart and soul and helped me to make the shift from hopelessness and despair to hope!

I discovered the gift of poetry in my soul and my pen became my divining rod for healing. Why I even visualized Running the Race which was a foreshadowing of my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

It was a series of steps moving forward and then hitting a plateau; a slide into negative momentum and then digging deep to move forward.

There were many times along the way when I could have quit and almost did. My nephew's suicide in March of 2011 took a terrible toll on me and then in December of 2014, I suffered a serious knee injury.

But the Universe was already conspiring to make sure that I would go the distance with all that I set into motion in my poetry:


In January of 2015 I was destined to meet Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor and a healer in every sense of the word. He was everything I wrote about in my poetry reminding me to set goals not limits. His strong hands, his skill, his warm heart and compassion along with his incredible passion for the work lit my fire to dust myself off from the knee injury and begin to gain positive momentum to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. Ryan took his training in chiropractic and, as they say on American Idol, made it is his own to infuse me with a deep desire to be my personal best in strength, flexibility, endurance and fully inhabiting my body as my very own.

In April of 2015, I found my way to Jeffrey Spratt,MT a trailblazer in the profession of massage therapy who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. I'd been through so many modalities that just didn't quite cut it in terms of allowing my body to heal. I wrote about poems asking how will I ever reclaim my life and yearning to run unencumbered and free. The tagline for Spratt Muscular Therapies? Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! After my first session with Jeffrey he said to me, "I want you to run unencumbered." We are healing the effects of paralytic polio and violence and a recent trauma in my life. I feel fully alive, vibrant and a sense of well being able to navigate powerful emotions that may arise in my life free to make choices that are no longer based on past experiences.

I'm counting down the days to doing something I've never done before: run an endurance race in two consecutive years at Bermuda Marathon Weekend. 53 days and counting until I toe the line of the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon. 5 days of training each week that consists of a long run on Saturday, Strength Training on Sunday, Arc Trainer and Bike for Cross Training on Monday at Wave Health and Fitness. Tuesday a 5K run and Wednesday cross training in the pool followed by a 90 minute massage with Jeffrey. Every other week I go for a boost with a ShakeOut (TM) Massage that supplements my 90 minute massage therapy sessions.

Consistency is key!

Maintaining positive momentum is crucial now knowing that I can go the distance on the roads and in my life powering up the passion in my soul and the might in my mind.

To motivation, momentum and inspiration!

To your health and wellness,
~Mary


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Thanksgiving - There is always something to be thankful for!



Facebook shared a memory of 5 years ago of a blog I wrote for one of my friends in cyberspace. Her blog is Life After 60 - Living Life with Joy.

The blog I wrote seems so appropriate for today when everyone seems to be struggling with what is happening around us. In honor of contributing to Joan Adam's blog, I wrote a poem for Thanksgiving and shared both the challenge of celebrating the holidays and finding a way to accentuate the positive:

Our guest poster today is my dear friend Mary McManus, creator of beautiful poetry and kind thoughts. Mary is always an inspiration. Thank you, Mary!

To keep the giving thanks in Thanksgiving this year, I came to the conclusion that every day is Thanksgiving. Holidays were always a very painful time in my life growing up. Alcoholism cast a long dark shadow over every day. Holidays meant more time being around family dysfunction.

My best friend came from a tightly knit Italian family and she would boast about the family traditions of making all the traditional Italian dishes. I had an us vs. them concept of the holidays. I was miserable while everyone else was joyful being with their beautiful, perfect families. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.

As I got older and had my own family, there was often an ache that there was no extended family with whom to share holidays. Slowly – very slowly – I learned that wanting what I did not have caused me a great deal of suffering. And so I shifted my focus to appreciation. Eventually, my heart healed through the power of forgiveness and a gratitude practice allowing me to experience the joys of the holidays.

This year I have so much to be grateful for. I am feeling healthier than I ever have in my life despite being 58 and ‘having’ the diagnosis of a progressive neurological disease, post polio syndrome. Although my husband and I are empty nesters, our relationship has grown closer together and we have interests we share and interests we pursue as individuals. I am surrounded with beautiful friends.

There have been tragic losses and other family crises which arose in this past year but it all depends on perspective and what we choose to focus on. We tend to build up expectations about what Thanksgiving and the holiday season should be or look like. Instead of having emotions build in anticipation of the ‘big day’, allow yourself to take time every day to have a practice of gratitude and focus on the blessings in your life. November 24th is just another day on the calendar but when you accentuate the positive every day is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

Make every day a feast of giving thanks

serving up heaping helpings of happiness, health and joy.

Be with the ones you love

—especially yourself

and feel your heart overflow

because there is so much gratitude stuffed inside.

Feast your eyes on the beauty and wonder that surrounds

Feed your heart on kindness and compassion

Forgive and remember love lasts

Laughter heals.

Taste the sweetness that life has to offer

breathe deeply

as the scents of the season

delight the senses.


This year I do have so much to be thankful for! I no longer live under the cloud of the toxic effects from having contracted paralytic polio followed by 9 years of trauma at the hands of family members since partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT. I am training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. Every day in every way I heal on deeper and deeper levels and, at the age of almost 63 years old, am taking my mind, body and Spirit to a new level of health and wellness.

Next March, Tom and I celebrate 40 years of being together, 39 years of marriage.

We have a beautiful village of friends, a warm home and know that together we can make it through whatever life throws our way.

Life isn't perfect; it was never meant to be perfect. There's a lot of heartache and disappointments along side joys and triumphs.

I practice a daily attitude of gratitude focusing on the many many blessings and the grace in my life that lifted me out of the struggles from the past and loosened the ties that kept me bound to habits from the past.

This year I celebrate how far I've come on this, the 10th anniversary of when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, feeling deeply grateful that I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life. I am so grateful that in just a few months, my latest book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," will be available.



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. Eight years after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, 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.

To your health and wellness!
~Mary

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Healing from the inside out!



Next month I celebrate the 10 year anniversary of when I received the life giving diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. Of course at the time I wasn't so sure it was a life giving diagnosis since my body, mind and Spirit seemed to be withering away and my life was spiraling out of control. Since the 1980's, I knew the work of Dr. Bernie Siegel or bernie as he loves to be called. I knew about the power of love - especially self love - and how we can harness the power of our mind to heal or hate ourselves. I returned to his wisdom and to the wisdom deep within me. I got still and asked for Divine Guidance and the answer came in the form of a poem, "Running the Race;" the first of many poems that would stimulate changes in my body from dis-ease to wellness, wholeness, a sense of well being and joy despite all appearances to the contrary.

I worked harder than I ever had at anything in my life to go from a leg brace and a wheelchair and defy what Western medicine was telling me to go on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

Try as I might I could not get positive momentum in healing the effects of paralytic polio and violence....

And then .... In January of 2015 I met Dr. Ryan J. Means who let me know unequivocally that I deserved to heal and that I should set goals not limits on my body's capacity for healing. His love, his skill, his faith and his healing hands and heart reignited the flame within me to go the distance in healing and on the roads after a serious knee injury that Western medicine said would define the end of my running career and send me back to the post polio clinic for a reevaluation. Ryan turned me onto Dr. Joe Dispenza's work and encouraged me to watch "What the bleep do we know?..."

I fired everyone - doctors, physical therapists, the team at Spaulding - even the massage therapist I was working with at the time - and made room for Jeffrey Spratt,MT to enter my life. The motto for his massage therapy practice? Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! What had I been writing about in my poetry? How will I ever reclaim my life and yearning to run unencumbered and free. What did Jeffrey say to me after our first massage therapy session together? I want you to run unencumbered.

For these past 20 months, I have been healing from the inside out healing more in these 20 months than in the previous 8 years of my healing journey combined. I had a wound on my nose that would not heal. It would bleed, scab over and then more scar tissue would develop. I set a powerful intention for this wound to heal and, through Jeffrey's warm hands and intention partnering with mine, there is barely a trace of where this wound had been.

Jeffrey uses the phrase the power of positive touch - powerful indeed! The Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy which Jeffrey pioneered clears out the gunk and makes way to allow for my body's natural ability to heal. The Spratt Method goes deep to create the environment needed for a new neural net to grow; one that allows for clear, clean energy to flow and to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Today, Team McManus deposited another 10 miles in the Bank of Bermuda. Five weeks to go until we taper and 54 days and counting until Bermuda Marathon Weekend.



We were so blessed with sunshine, gentle breezes and mild temperatures that made for a great run. We took almost 5 minutes off of our time from last week for 10 miles. We had a wonderful time breathing deeply allowing the smell of the sea to fill our lungs and nurture our souls.

It's a miracle that I am feeling well successfully training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. It's a miracle that I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life from the effects of polio and trauma and from all those who would have preferred me to die. What a wonderful, exhilarating feeling to be healing from the inside out.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The proof is here! On Scars, Badges of Honor and The Velveteen Rabbit



As I partner with Jeffrey Spratt,MT to heal the effects of paralytic polio and violence, as the physical pain leaves my body, there are many emotions and memories coming to the surface. In order to survive all that I had to endure, I had to keep them at bay but now as Jeffrey reminds me every week, it is safe to express myself and I am safe to experience what needs to be experienced in order to heal.

In yesterday's massage therapy session with Jeffrey, feelings surfaced that I am sure are common among rape survivors; especially survivors of childhood rape. I felt tainted, unworthy of positive touch, and that my body was ugly because it is ridden with scars. Those thoughts and beliefs from all I endured are met with Jeffrey's warm hands and greeted with compassionate presence. Jeffrey was quick to point out that my body is a beautiful thing and he encouraged me to release all the thoughts and beliefs that do not serve me anymore. Jeffrey went on to assert that those scars are my badges of honor. His words, his hands and his heart all spoke to me encouraging me to embrace my resilience and my survivorship; to feel my power, my strength, my new found confidence in my body and in my life and to honor myself.

Working to reclaim my beauty and creating my own definition of what it means to be beautiful has been a challenge for me in the wake of polio and violence. One of my Bermuda Marathon Weekend Facebook friends posted this after she ran her first marathon:


The proof for my book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," arrived. Talk about proof! Proof of the Spirit's capacity to recover and thrive regardless of horrific traumatic events. Proof that the body achieves what the mind believes. Proof that we do have the power to create our lives, and heal our bodies through the power of our thoughts. Going the Distance is proof that when we combine intention with action, and continue to move forward no matter the detours or the delays, miracles happen. Ten years ago I was broken in mind, body and Spirit. Today I am training to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon and inspiring others, helping others to heal through my journey and referring them to Jeffrey. We are conducting an exploratory research study (and mine is an anecodotal case study) to examine "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in Trauma Recovery."



And you become....


True I've lived through hell but have been touched by grace every step and every mile of the way most recently since finding my way to Jeffrey's table.

Through partnering with Jeffrey, experiencing his life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy and interventions that counter my conditioning of having endured so much through the years, I feel real, alive, vibrant, beautiful, reclaiming my advantage, reclaiming my life and accepting that all that happened to me made me the woman I am today.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary



Monday, November 14, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Back to our regularly scheduled programming....Two months to go!



It would be so easy for me to get weighed down by the tonnage of negativity and fear happening in our country right now. I know everyone is hurting and scared. Yes even those who are filled with hatred and bigotry because underneath all that posturing and rage lie frightened, vulnerable souls who are terrified to feel love, compassion and kindness.

But I am on a mission right now and I know my mission and my message is as important if not more important now as it was before last Tuesday.

I'm a 63 year old woman who lived through the most horrifying events a child and adolescent could possibly endure at the hands of family members. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome a progressive neuromuscular disease and told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. By all appearances and as far as Western Medicine was concerned, I was on a downhill course to the grave.

I took charge of my life rather than listening to the noise of what was happening around me. I got still. I went within. I asked for Divine Guidance and as always happens, it came. It came in the form of poetry and my pen became my divining rod for healing.

There were many twists and turns, trials, triumphs and tribulations until I met two remarkable healers.

Dr. Ryan J. Means - doctor of chiropractic medicine who believes in the body's natural capacity to heal. All that I yearned for, all that I imagined in my poetry began to come into physical reality through partnering with him. He believed in me and is so passionate about healing and being a healer and that the body is meant to move and age well when we take care for ourselves. His faith in what could we accomplished was infectious. I held fast and never let go of that belief in these past two years following a serious knee injury in December of 2014. Once again I had to tune out the noise and the naysayers and the doomsday scenario makers around me and stay clear and focused on what I wanted and needed to create in my life. There were times when I wavered but ultimately would not let the negativity prevail.

And then - then I met Jeffrey Spratt,MT, who pioneered his very own method of muscular therapy. "What leg are we rehabbing?" he asked with incredible confidence and expressed that confidence in healing through the power of positive touch in my first session with him and then, at the end of the session, told me "I want you to run unencumbered."

Every day in every way I've been healing from the effects of paralytic polio and violence.

This past weekend we hit double digits - 10 miles - on our road to the Bermuda Half Marathon.

In addition to 90 minute weekly massage therapy sessions, I am going for biweekly ShakeOut (TM) Massage therapy sessions with Jeffrey. I was sore and stiff going into today's ShakeOut (TM) Massage. After 25 minutes on the table I was ready to take on 20 minutes on the Arc Trainer and 30 minutes on the bike to continue with cross training on the road to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

I felt strong and confident as I train for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

Ten years ago I was told I was ready for the scrap heap and believe me ... this time 10 years ago I felt ready for the scrap heap mind, body and soul experiencing chronic pain and fatigue, a limp, difficulty swallowing and breathing and feeling as though my life force was draining out of me.

I moved from the dark night of my soul into the light of day running the 2009 Boston Marathon.

But for the life of me I could not get traction on my healing journey.

The suicide of my nephew in March of 2011 dealt a horrible blow to me mind, body and soul.

4/15/2013 was a wake up call for me to get back on my healing path but I was yet to find the healers who could partner with me to go the distance.

After that serious knee injury in December of 2014, when I thought things were taking a negative slide again on my healing journey, I had the surprise of my life and the crisis of my knee injury turned into a fabulous opportunity for me to experience positive momentum and move from a healing journey to a journey of health and wellness.

This is all so new and miraculous for me ... I'm doing something I've never done before - training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Half Marathon. After taking time off from racing to recover from Bermuda and the Hyannis 10K, I ran several successful races before resuming my training.

Ten years ago I was on a negative slide to my grave...two years ago I was told my running career was over - again ... but because I did not listen to the noise and negativity of others, I was able to create what I wanted and needed in my own life partnering with healers who were infusing me with positive intentions for healing helping me to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life through the power of positive touch and the best that Eastern and Western modalities had to offer me.

And now rather than being on a decline to an early grave...



To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! World Kindness Day




I know - I felt it too when I woke up at 4 am on Wednesday morning asking Tom who won the election. Tom had to get up early to do an upgrade on a computer at Boston College where he works. I felt a grip of fear and felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. What was going to happen to us? What was going to happen to us as a country? I wrote this blog about power and empowerment.

This past week, as shock and grief wore off, I found a lot of comfort in my Facebook news feed that was filled with positivity, support and finding a lot of power among the people. One of my friend's posted about how what happens in our personal house is much more important than what happens in the White House.

As a survivor of child rape, I feel nauseated when I looked at Trump's photo. I'd get a solar plexus clutch when the news talked about his first 100 days in office. Then I'd relax when I saw President Obama talking with Trump. Then I'd get all worked up again in a frenzy of fear. Then I'd breathe a sigh of relief when I saw Make America Kind Again photos

and photos of safety pins along with videos of people standing up for people who were bullied:


I realized I needed to get off of the emotional roller coaster ride of what was happening out there and reacting to the news and go within myself to be able to reach out to others.

Shockabuku - "A swift spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever."


That's what happened to me and maybe to you.

Shockabuku - a wake up call!

You and I both know that the racism, the sexism, the mysogyny, hatred, homophobia has sadly all been here all along. Oh how I wish evil and hatred did not exist in the world but it does and the question becomes, how do we respond? We forgot that it is not up to the government to take care of social issues - it is up to us and it is up to us to care for ourselves and each other. As social activist Judy Bonds once said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

As the symbol for crisis in Chinese tells us, there is danger and opportunity in times of crisis.
This is a time of tragedy and opportunity.

As I mentioned in my blog the day after election day, I faced the most horrible evil as a child and adolescent. I/we have lived through 9/11 and 4/15 and mass shootings and police shootings, wars and the list goes on and on. While it would have been easy for me to turn against humanity and become filled with rage and hatred, I chose compassion, kindness and working for social justice.

And the great news is - I AM NOT ALONE and NEITHER ARE YOU!

I was blessed to know Boston University's Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Norm Johnson...Rear Admiral Wendell Norman Johnson (Retired USN). He was a lifelong dear friend of Herb Simmons who was my volunteer at the VA. Herb introduced me to "Uncle Norman" to help him navigate the VA Healthcare System. We became close friends and comrades in arms when it came to social justice and veterans issues.

As it said in his obituary, Norm was a most Uncommon Man. He was given 6 months to live after the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer as a result of Agent Orange Exposure. He lived for 24 years after the diagnosis. What a life he lived! He rose through the ranks of the Navy being the first Black male to achieve the rank of Rear Admiral being the target of racism and bigotry every rank of the way.

When John Silber brought him on at BU, he was a proponent of educational policies that would help to level the playing field for students:
He was described as a man who demanded respect and who believed education to be of the highest priority. During his tenure, he created the Educational Resource Center, which provides tutoring for students. He watched the campus grow by more than 2,000 students, and he took on the task of creating programs and developing policies with the best interests of the students in mind.

The project closest to his heart was the Boston University Residential Charter School (BURCS). In 1991, Johnson came up with the idea, called the First in Peace project, of creating residential schools on decommissioned military bases for children in foster-care situations. With the support of the University, Johnson began a similar project at BU, and the BURCS opened in Granby, Mass., in 1998. After two years of operation, the school closed because of inadequate funding.

“Our approach was to develop a school that had a residential component for these young people,” said Johnson in 2000. “The distinction is not subtle; it’s based on the belief that children who have been deprived of a stable and nurturing environment could thrive and succeed in school if they were given the right opportunity.”


What I remember most about Norm as I was blessed to be able to call him was what he did in the wake of 9/11.

As Muslim students were being harassed and threatened on the T, on Campus and in and around Boston, Dean Johnson started a campaign called BUnited. He had buttons made up with BUnited on them so that there was a community of support and safety not only to ease the fear of the Muslim students but to ignite a sense of justice and looking beyond labels for the student community at large. He held forums for dialogue and understanding.

Here was a man who knew first hand what it meant to be singled out because of the color of his skin yet he rose to the ranks in military and civilian life being the change he wanted to see in the world.

Today was World Kindness Day.

In the wake of the election, we are called upon to make each day World Kindness Day showing kindness and compassion for ourselves first and foremost and to each other. We need to, as one of my Lebanese friends on Facebook said, "build bridges not walls." We need to be able to hold steady when what someone says makes our blood boil and our stomach lurch and join together with like minded and like hearted people who believe in fairness, equality, social justice and looking beyond labels.

We are now called upon to mobilize; to awaken out of complacency and take action when it is needed. Hateful racist graffiti? Let's get together and paint over it.

Someone is being bullied and harassed? Join together and know there is safety in numbers. There are videos about what to do if you see a hate crime and many articles about organizations to support to ensure that the rights and needs of all are being attended to.

We who believe in kindness, fairness, equality are the majority and we cannot afford to be the silent majority.

I am planning on reinstating my membership in the National Association of Social Workers and powering up with people who believe in the same values as I believe in.

I am not fighting anything following the wisdom of Mother Theresa. I am FOR peace, justice, kindness, compassion and caring for ourselves and each other.



I am for making each day World Kindness Day and knowing that by joining together we can turn this tragedy of divisiveness and rancor into one of opportunity to create real and lasting social change. Most importantly of all remember this:


To your health and wellness,
Mary

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! DOUBLE DIGITS! Positive Momentum!




Bermuda Marathon Race Weekend's
website tells us that it is 61 days until Bermuda Race Weekend 2017.

Today we hit another milestone in our training - double digits - yup 10 miles are now in the Bank of Bermuda. I could have gone for the 13.1 today. It would have hurt without a doubt but I could have done it.



I've known that the body achieves what the mind believes since I began my healing quest in December of 2006 after the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease but before partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT there was too much gunk stuck in my body from the effects of paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members to get what I like to call traction on my healing journey.

With training for and running my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon, I am achieving something I haven't done before - consistently train, recover and then train again for a long distance event.

It's a whole lot of thrilling and exhilarating and a little scary but after today's double digit run I know I've got this.

I've often said that training for an endurance event is a lot like going through a pregnancy. The body and mind go through so many changes. After the event is over, much like after giving birth, you forget all the pain you went through and are just so excited at the prospect of doing it all over again!. The body goes through a lot of changes training for an endurance event-especially mine that is still healing from the effects of paralytic polio and violence - and it's quite the journey to build miles and count down to an event I'll have been training for these past several months. Another way training for an endurance event is like being pregnant is that the body goes through different cravings. During our run today, we were trying to figure out what our post run fueling meal would be. We went from Zaftig's Deli and an omelette with bagel and coffee to each of us craving something with mashed potatoes and then realizing we both wanted fish... so we settled on Legal Seafood for a post run "lunner." That's lunch and dinner combined.

It was a gorgeous day for a run and since it was moderate temps and little wind (although it did pick up later on in our run) we decided to go to South Boston.

In the wake of this past week's events, it was exactly what we needed:



Running is our therapy!


It's a sacred time for us to be together to laugh, to cry and to experience this miracle of healing happening in my life.

I was tired, sore, hungry and incredibly happy at the end of our 10 mile run today:


I reminded myself of a mantra I used last year while adding miles and counting down to Bermuda: My body recovers quickly and with ease from the challenges I present.

When we finished the run, we stretched and I had another banana and lots of hydration. After a great meal at Legal Seafood, a warm epsom salts bath, a hot shower with a cold water flush at the end, getting into my sweats and writing this blog, I am ready to relax with a movie, "Four Weddings and a Funeral." I feel overjoyed with our milestone of ten miles today and feeling positive momentum in my health and wellness journey, reclaiming advantage and reclaiming life from the effects of paralytic polio and violence through the power of positive touch partnering with Jeffrey and the life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy!

To your health and wellness!
~Mary