Monday, May 29, 2017

A New Decade Begins - Team McManus' Hyannis Adventures - Part I

Last week I celebrated 10 years of healing after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards marking the day I left my 20 year career as a VA social worker to heal my life.

This weekend marked the beginning of a new decade - for me and for Team McManus. After 9 years, our daughter Ruth Anne is joining us once again to train and run. Our last big race together was the 2009 Boston Marathon:

Whenever there's a Paul Collyer/BA Event Promotions race in Hyannis, there is bound to be magic!

Our usual annual pilgrimage to Hyannis happens in February where we gather for Camp Hyannis. When I saw that Paulie (as he likes to be called) was going to have races on Memorial Day Weekend, including a 5K distance, Tom and I decided it was time to have a warmer weather adventure to Olde Cape Cod. I wasn't able to run the Hyannis 10K this year and so it was an extra special treat to be able to run Sunday's race.

The "magic" began when David O'Leary who I was blessed to meet two years ago as part of his work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and on air talent for Boston's radio station Magic 106.7 posted this on Facebook: "I NEED RUNNING SONGS!!
The Johnny Kelley Half-Marathon is less than a week away!! I'll be running 13.1 miles this Sunday to raise awareness about depression and mental illness, and to fund raise for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You can help me! For a donation of ANY AMOUNT I'll add whatever song you suggest to my running playlist. You name it!! Frank Turner, Loverboy, Nat King Cole, ANYTHING!! Please leave a song title for my playlist in the comments, then click the link below, make a donation and know that I'll be thinking of you with every step on Sunday. In gratitude- D.
#StopSuicide #Project20205 #AFSPNational"

He followed it up with a post and tagged Tom and me in it:
"Getting ready to run! THANK YOU to Nancy Farrell, Tova & Ron Cohen, Savita & Michael Brewer, Melissa Rogers, Teri King, Jenn Adams, Cynthia Durney, Colleen Bresnahan Creamer, Jim & Sheryl Stockless, Kathy Schreiber, Linda Marino, Mary & Tom McManus, Susan Davies. Maureen & Steve Condon, Alicia O'Leary, Jill& Mark Andrew, Peter Miller, Carolina Sala-Kotz, Kathy Davies O'Leary and everyone else who has made a donation to AFSP.

Click the link in the comment below to make a donation of your own and help save lives. With thanks- David"

The excitement for race day began to build.

Suicide has touched our family with the loss of my father in 1971 and my nephew in 2011. Knowing that we had donated to support David's run and that part of the proceeds from the race were going to the AFSP fueled my excitement for Sunday's race!

A Facebook post from one of our friend's that we made in Bermuda in 2016 said that she had hoped to see us on Sunday. She was running the Half and we have seen her at Camp Hyannis 2016 and 2017.

We made it over the Sagamore Bridge and into Hyannis before 9am. We decided we wanted to do all the things that were unique to the Cape. We pulled in to have breakfast at the Hearth and Kettle.

The skies that had brought misting and showers during some of the drive to the Cape and the clouds that hovered in the early morning would later give way to glorious Sunshine!

When we arrived at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis we were greeted by the manager Jim who kindly upgraded our room for no extra charge since Ruth Anne would be joining us for the weekend. He gives a whole new meaning to customer service! He warmly welcomed us back. We had a room at the end of the first floor hallway overlooking the golf course:

After we unpacked we went into downtown Hyannis. I've never had the opportunity to play tourist in Hyannis because I would be working a table at the Hyannis Marathon Expo Weekend. You can see how the skies cleared! We went to the JFK Memorial, and the Korean Veterans Memorial, enjoyed walks on the beach on Ocean Street and Craigville Beach before heading to Main Street.

What better touristy thing to do than to take this kind of a photo:

We strolled up and down Main Street, had a delicious lunch at the British Beer Company and then went to Bib Pick Up:

We spent the afternoon relaxing in the beautiful Hyannis sunshine at the hotel, watching golfers out on the course, playing cards, reading and checking in on Facebook. So many of my runner friends were getting race ready for Sunday races from the Cape to Boston to Vermont.

Our go to place for dinner when we are in Hyannis is the Roadhouse Cafe. What a treat to experience the restaurant with the uniquely Cape light streaming in through the windows. We savored their salad with their homemade salad dressing. Ruth Anne and I fueled ourselves with their Cedar Planked Roasted Salmon with orange Jack Daniels glaze, sauteed spinach and jasmine rice and Tom devoured their Chicken Saltimbocca boneless chicken breast topped with parma prosciutto, fresh sage, spinach and fontina cheese in a marsala wine sauce, served with parmesan risotto:

To relax and get ready for race day, we returned to the beach.

We tried to take a selfie and laughed so hard at our foiled attempts:

There were two lovely young ladies playing around on the Lifeguard stand and were gracious enough to take this photo:

I captured this beautiful father/daughter moment:

Tom and Ruth Anne captured me in my happy place:

We watched the sun set:

It was early to bed Saturday night after showers and getting everything ready for the return to the roads of mighty Team McManus. We had a 7:30am gun time which meant we had a 5:30am wake up call.

To be continued....

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Friday, May 26, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! On Running, Speaking My Truth and Loving My Life!

Having been so severely battered and bruised as a child after contracting paralytic polio, I despised my body and loathed my life. In December of 2006 I had a wake up call after receiving the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I was at a crossroads in my life and had to make a choice.

I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The answer came in the form of a poem, "Running the Race" that foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

It was a profound challenge for me to dig deep and find the courage to put myself out there as a runner in my mid-50's. The wounds from being taunted and teased as a survivor of paralytic polio and the shame that accompanies rape and beatings were deep but the beauty of running is that those wounds are transformed through the unconditional love and acceptance by the running community of my journey.

It took a long time for me to find the courage to speak my truth about what happened to me.

Runners are an amazing tribe! When we hear inspiring stories we regale and celebrate the runner's accomplishments. There is no shame or shunning where the running community is concerned.

One of my inspirational Facebook friends, Melissa Betkowski Platt, posted a link to this article, "Someone called her fat and a fake runner and her response is perfect." The outpouring of support from the running community was overwhelming as well as her response to the hater's email.

On Sunday, Team McManus is heading to Hyannis to run the Michael Aselton 5K in Hyannis. Our daughter asked me what our race strategy is. She knows that sometimes we run to crush a race or I have a specific time goal in mind.

I told her that I want to go out and enjoy every footstep of the run. Next month we begin training for my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon and I want to focus on endurance and distance. Race Director Paul Collyer told me that he loves all paces during his Memorial Day Weekend races!

Yesterday I celebrated the 10th year anniversary of when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life. I had no idea what that meant or what needed to be healed or how I would go about, as I wrote about in my poetry, reclaiming my life and running unencumbered and free.

I was so blessed to meet my Hero Healer, Dr. Ryan J Means in March of 2015!

Partnering with Jeffrey Spratt, MT during these past two years, I have been able to speak my truth unapologetically. With tears and trembling and through the power of positive therapeutic touch and compassionate presence, I discovered that it was the trauma stuck in my body combined with how my body did not have a chance to recover from paralytic polio that resulted in the symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome.

I found my way to Jeffrey in April of 2015, after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. Western Medicine told me that I needed a total knee replacement and that I needed to limit my running. They knew better than to tell me to stop running all together. Instead of a total knee replacement and limiting my running, I am running free and unencumbered living by the motto, "My race. My pace."

I have spoken my Truth and I no longer live in fear!

I am so blessed to be able to run and am so excited for this Sunday's 5K race. I am free! I have spoken my Truth. I am blessed and I am loving my life.

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating 10 Years of Healing Bermuda Style!

When I think about how I felt 10 years ago sitting on my lawn wearing a short toe up leg brace, clutching a manuscript for "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World," and wondering what had I just done, leaving my 20 year award winning VA social work career to heal my life, I reflect on the miracle of healing that has happened in my life!

I had no idea that I would become a runner and now, I am getting ready to train for my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

What better way to celebrate 10 years of healing than by registering for the race and booking flights and hotel.

I wasn't planning on running another Bermuda Half Marathon but am so blessed and grateful that Race Director Anthony Raynor gave Team McManus an invitational entry to the race!

A week before I left my job, much to the chagrin of my Team at the VA who expressed their fear and trepidation for me that I was retiring 3 years shy of when I was eligible to retire virtually without a plan, they gave me a retirement party.

It was in part a celebration of my years of dedication to serving the veterans and their families but there was an air of tension and a fear that I'd gone mad leaving my job to become a poet and heal my life.

What an incredible journey it has been.

The traction that I needed to heal the effects of having contracted paralytic polio at age 5 and severe childhood trauma came two years ago. I was so blessed to meet Dr. Ryan J. Means, my Hero Healer. He turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza who has been my beacon of hope during these past two years conditioning my body to a new mind!

The tag line for Jeffrey Spratt, MT's massage therapy practice? Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! and what did he say to me after my first treatment with him in April of 2015? I want you to run unencumbered. All that I'd written about and yearned for in my poetry came into being.

It's been a day of reflection on the miracle of my healing and celebrating where I am today.

I saw my Bermudian friends' Facebook photos from yesterday's Bermuda Day celebration.

I'm a part of the International Running Community and enjoying a life that all began in my imagination.

It's a journey of courage, of strength, of fiery determination and never giving up. It's a message of healing and hope and possibility and letting everyone know that no matter the circumstances we can always find a way to go the distance!

To going the distance with strength and courage!

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Mary McManus, MSW 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 her 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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: It's All In Your Head

Facebook reminded me that two years ago today I watched, "What the bleep do we know...". It was recommended to me by Dr. Ryan. After I posted that I was going to watch the movie, Jeffrey Spratt, MT who I had just started partnering with on my healing odyssey wrote, "One of my favorites! ! Enjoy!" May 24, 2015 at 8:11pm

Early on when I first started experiencing this array of symptoms that was eventually diagnosed as Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards, my primary care physician at the time told me it was all in my head. He prescribed Paxil which I quickly flushed down the toilet and told me to see a psychiatrist. He could not find anything wrong with me by objective internal medicine tests and so deduced that it was a psychiatric problem.

When I went to the Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post-Polio, they focused solely on my physicality.

Truth is what was happening to me was a result of having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence against me mind, body and soul.

Candace Pert, Ph.D., one of the teachers in What the bleep do we know... who, coincidentally Dr. Ryan met while studying chiropractic medicine tells us that it was all in my head and that the mind is everywhere in the body. Our thoughts create our biology.

I had dissociated, despised and ignored my body in order to survive. However, I paid a terrible price for that survival coping mechanism.

As I wound and wielded my way through 8 years of my healing odyssey I was desperately trying to find a way to heal mind, body and soul. Writing inspirational poetry sparked my imagination to see myself as healthy and whole and certainly took me far - 26.2 miles to be exact in being able to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.

Once I met Dr. Ryan, he reopened my mind, body and soul to the world of quantum healing. I'd experienced the power of the mind/body connection with Dr. Bernie Siegel.

Bernie knew the power of the subconscious mind and what happens when we get out of the way and allow our subconscious mind to take over. He would use the power of positive suggestion while his patients were under anesthesia. I was blessed to find an anesthesiologist who knew about Bernie's work.

From "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
I knew the power of suggestion and visualization. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in the 1980’s. I would always get sick after anesthesia. I talked with my anesthesiologist before yet another gynecological surgery to repair my reproductive organs. I asked him if he heard of the work of Bernie and if he would be willing to give me the suggestion “You will wake up comfortable and hungry and pain free,” while I was under anesthesia. He was on board.

I woke up in the recovery room after the procedure. I felt a wave of nausea wash over me and then in the middle of the wave of nausea, it stopped. I suddenly had a craving for a barbequed hamburger.

“Can I have a barbequed hamburger?” I asked through the haze of general anesthesia.

Everyone in the recovery room laughed. They knew what the anesthesiologist had said to me while I was under anesthesia.

With the compilation of stress and trauma in my life coupled with the unhealed effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I wasn't able to get traction on my healing journey.

Once I had the power of therapeutic touch, healers who could join with MY intention to heal, and infused myself with the works of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Candace Pert and allowed the teachings from "What the bleep..." to settle into my cells, I was able to experience a quantum leap in my healing journey. I experienced the physical manifestation of the transformation, mind, body and soul I had written about for years in my poetry.

Tomorrow marks 10 years since I left my 20 year award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life. If ever you wonder about the mind/body connection, I'd like you to do a simple little exercise. Take a moment to think about the menu at your favorite restaurant. Think about your favorite dish on the menu. Do you feel your mouth salivate and have a sensation of anticipating the delicious food you are about to savor? That's the power of the mind/body connection! Remember - it's all in your head!

Tomorrow I officially celebrate 10 years of healing and am so excited to see what the next 10 years will bring!

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: My Hero Healer - Dr. Ryan J. Means

Don't let pain or fear of pain slow you down. ~Dr. Ryan J. Means

I marvel at the confluence of events that brought Ryan J. Means, DC into my life in early 2015. He was renting space for his practice at the same place where I was going for weekly massage therapy sessions. Although I was complaining of knee pain to the therapist I worked with at the time that eventually resulted in a serious injury in December of 2014, he had never referred me to Dr. Ryan for care. However, when the Universe has a plan, things eventually do come together.

We met at the book release party for a book I have since unpublished and taken the best nuggets from that book and incorporated it into "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance." Because the Patriots were in the playoffs and the weather was lousy that evening, there was a very small turn out at the party. Towards the end of the evening, I found myself standing in the presence of this tall, blue eyed individual whose eyes sparkled and soul shined through when he talked about chiropractic medicine. I had encountered the physical therapist from hell and things were not going well the massage therapist I was working with at the time. I knew that I needed someone to partner with me to go the distance and to bring into physical reality all that I had written about in my poetry for the previous 8 years on my healing quest.

I asked him if chiropractic care could help with a knee injury. He was enthralled with my journey.

He asked me if I'd meet him for coffee so he could learn more about my healing journey. The time flew by as we had coffee at the Diesel Cafe in Somerville not far from his office.

I interviewed him for my blog. I told him I did not need a complimentary consultation. I knew I needed to work with him!

He told me about a book he was reading, "You Are The Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza. He sent me a photo from the book, "Changing the body by thought alone" that I still have on my fridge today:

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

At Monday's appointment with Dr. Ryan, I told him how running is in my blood. He gave me tips on what to do before and after a run to manage any swelling and to be diligent in using Theraband stability trainers to strengthen my core and help with balance and agility. I decided to go in for a taping yesterday to support me for today's run. As soon as Dr. Ryan finished the taping, I could feel the healing happening on my entire leg especially on the site where I had the incision for the reconstructive leg surgery over 20 years ago. A year after the surgery, I had the hardware removed....
In Friday's KT taping session with Dr. Ryan I told him that I was so happy to be working my way back to a 5K and I would cap off my distance at 5 miles for the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash, a race I ran with my Merrimack Valley Striders family last year. He didn’t miss a beat! While Dr. Ryan performed the Graston Technique on my feet to help my body to move out of old patterns and allow my body to find its way to its natural state of wellness and goodness he said, "Why set limits?"

We are each devouring "You Are The Placebo.” It seems that I need to keep reminding myself over and over and over again about my body's tremendous capacity for healing. I shared with Dr. Ryan that on MRI, the polio virus took out the medial gastroc muscle on my left calf and that I was working on visualizing a new one. "If I could dissolve a breast tumor, why can't I grow a new gastroc right?" Dr. Ryan suggested that we tape my gastroc because the KT tape can be used to decrease inflammation (and by the way the swelling is gone from my left knee using icing before and after exercise and with the taping for runs), to brace a joint and also to activate and stimulate the muscle. Mary Mary quite contrary how does your gastroc grow? Contrary because I have "gone against" much of the advice I received from the medical community as a polio survivor which involved setting limits with the caveat, "If you use it, you will lose it."

As Dr. Ryan worked on my feet I said, "Wow." He asked me if the pressure was too much and I said, "Oh no. I just went to that place within me that ran the Boston Marathon." I told him there is nothing in the world like training for and running a marathon. As I thought about it, I felt exhilarated and then had a moment of "I can't run another marathon." I realized that I was remembering running a marathon in my body as it was then not the body I am today and certainly not the body that keeps changing, evolving, getting strong and healing all that went before. Dr. Dispenza cites with case studies including his own healing experience, proof that the body has tremendous capacities to heal. Dr. Ryan planted the seed for going the distance again as he asked the question, “Why set limits?” Why set limits indeed. I decided to ditch all the negative self talk, the naysayers who encourage me to set limits and to only take yes for an answer!

It was a tearful goodbye lunch at Boloco as he left for China but I knew that wherever Dr. Ryan went he would bring the gift of his healing.

He's done long distance healing with me, loving, encouraging and supporting me on every step of my healing journey. He was cheering me on in cyberspace as I went the distance for two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons and is over the moon excited that I am going to be training to run my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

What a special weekend we had in New York City last year! He brought KT tape and I'm sure we were quite the spectacle to behold doing a taping in a New York Deli. Oh how I'd missed his healing touch!

Here are photos from our magical two days in New York City:

We saw Tony nominated Nathan Lane in "The Front Page." We ate delicious food, walked arm in arm through Central Park and Bryant Park and celebrated my healing reminiscing about our work together.

On Thursday I am so blessed to be celebrating 10 years of healing from the day I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Thanks to my Hero Healer, Dr. Ryan J. Means, I am able to celebrate this anniversary feeling healthy, whole, vibrant and healed.

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):