Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Going the Distance: On Patience and Reclaiming Beauty!

It's been two years since my beloved chiropractor healer, Dr. Ryan taught me about the proper form for squats and about using the support of the wall. It was shortly after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 when a physiatrist, physical therapists and even the massage therapist I was working with at the time told me that I shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't run again. Oh but if I did it should be no more than a 5 miler. "We told you shouldn't have been running in the first place, but it's your life and you're gonna do what you're gonna do....Why don't you schedule appointments again at the Post-Polio Clinic and let's see how we can help you....Yes you're gastroc muscle is atrophied. We know that. It's been that way since you had polio. There's nothing you can do about that."

Oh really?

Dr. Ryan turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza. I poured over "You Are the Placebo." Dr. Ryan taped my calf to stimulate the growth of new muscle. He recommended gastroc muscle strengthening exercises. At first I could not go up and down on my toes on my left leg - the leg most affected by the polio virus. We used the concept of mirror neurons; stimulating the connection of my left leg by "watching" the right leg move up and down on my toes while stimulating the connection of going up and down on my toes with both legs. Little by little, with patience, I have grown a new gastroc muscle! I continue to practice gastroc muscle strengthening exercises both on land and in the pool.

This past Sunday while strength training on land - a milestone in and of itself because for years I wasn't able to strength train on land due to the effects of childhood/adolescent trauma and paralytic polio - I was able to do 25 squats away from the wall. It just happened. My body was ready and everything fired up to make that happen.

Perhaps one of my greatest challenges in healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma has been reclaiming my beauty. The woman who gave birth to me and the woman who gave birth to her had this twisted and convoluted view of beauty. In all fairness, part of that was cultural back in the 60's but where things went terribly awry was their reaction to me after contracting paralytic polio.

I was a beautiful ballerina with long shiny hair. I was graceful and loved being in my body.

Imagine if you will the story from "A Chorus Line" - "At the Ballet"

My ballet teacher, Miss Patricia was my role model for beauty and grace.

After disaster struck with contracting paralytic polio, I felt ugly and despised my body. They carted me off to the hairdresser to get my hair cut off because long hair was too much trouble to take care of. As if that were not enough to leave me feeling ugly, physical, sexual and emotional abuse began when I was 8 years old, just 3 years after contracting paralytic polio and continued until I was 17.

I have to continue to practice patience as my body continues to heal from the ravages of paralytic polio and violence. The pain I experience is the pain of healing; the soreness a sign of strength.

I reclaim my beauty that reflects the incredible resilience of my Spirit and the Love in my heart; beauty in the wrinkles and the silver in my hair that reflect the passage of time.

I celebrate all of my gains in these past 2 years and the incredible journey of transformation and I adopt the pace of Mother Nature as I continue to challenge myself and heal the wounds of a war torn youth.

To your health and wellness,

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

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