Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: Celebrating Success and Lifestyle Changes
Dr. Michael Rocha of the New Bedford Wellness Initiative posted on Facebook that the Southern New England Heart Walk was celebrating lifestyle changes.
After I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome and left my 20 year award winning social work at the VA to heal my life, I made some radical lifestyle changes. Because of the one-two punch of contracting paralytic polio and then enduring 9 years of unrelenting violence against my mind, body and soul, I had disregarded my body. I learned to survive through dissociation but what a high price I paid in neglecting my body.
I cut out caffeine because I noticed it interfered with my ability to unwind and reset myself, a hallmark symptom of trauma. I also eliminated red meat, refined sugars and ginger ale and added a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. Sparkling water with lemon became my drink of choice at meals and a cup of mint decaffeinated tea replaced my coffee.
I was a stranger to exercise and athletics. I hired a personal trainer to help me get moving...and get moving she did as she coached and coaxed Team McManus off of the couch and onto the roads to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon.
It was so incredibly challenging to ride the waves of positive momentum followed by injuries and setbacks....until....
I began partnering with a master muscular therapist, Jeffrey Spratt, MT. He believed in me and my desire to heal. His innovative method of muscular therapy combined with his being a true healer was exactly what I needed to keep moving forward in my health and wellness journey.
There are days when I am sore and tired and want to quit. The phantom pains as I have come to call them from paralytic polio and trauma sometimes get quite intense and I ask myself why am I putting myself through this?
I remember the comments that were made on an article in The Brookline Tab about how I was inspiring others:
DEAR MARY I'M SO PROUD OF YOU AND WISH YOU THE BEST OF THE BEST AT EVERY GOAL YOU ARE A GREAT WOMAN, I'M THINKING ABOUT MY LIFE IS A POST POLIO PERSON AND WISH I CAN DO THE SAME YOU DOING NOW
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Hello Mary, i stumbled onto your story.
I had polio when i was 14 months old; 27 years after, i still struggle with the physical and 'mostly' the emotional trials that accompany polio.
I'm a doctor,so daily i encounter people with a variety of challenging conditions and i constantly draw strength from how different people embrance their unique situations.
I am particularly inspired by your unrelenting spirit, 50 years on!
I just got back from taking a long walk.
I was thinking about my life in general and saying to myself, are you just going to give in to polio without a fight?
I decided that i'll start running in the evenings to strengthen my calfs and increase my muscle bulk. During my walk, i also dealt with some emotional issues... but i digress.
I got home and got on the internet to see if there where any researched exercise routines benefical to polio survivors, i wanted to be sure running was safe.
I got a lot of info, the unianimous advice was, don't over exert yourself, complete with the medical explanations why overexertion could be harmful.
I know running may be a stretch for me, i don't know how beneficial it will be, but i know that miracles still do happen.
Polio will not hinder me anymore. I am definately gonna give it a shot.
I'll come back here to let you know my improvement.
I am very inspired by your determination and i thank you for sharing your story.
God bless you.
Hi Mary. I was listening to the radio the other night and I heard your interview. I don't know if you remember me but you took care of my husband George Murray while at the VA hospital as well as saving my life on a daily basis back then. You were truly my angel. I am so happy to have an opportunity to thank you for all you did for me back then and I have often wondered about how you were and then I heard you quite by accident as I still get up really early but the radio was on and I immediately recognized your voice. Do I think you will run this marathon, absolutely. You will do it. I am sorry you have gone through these health problems but you sound wonderful. I am going to get your book and I know I will love it. God bless you and I know he does.
If you'd met Mary last year and then again today, you will be pleasantly surprised by the changes in her. She positively radiates with energy and good cheer. If exercise is how she's made the changes then I definitely want to start moving more too. It would be nice to have a follow-up after she has run her marathon.
I think it is awesome that she has been able to rebuild her strength a second time. I am encouraged now to continue exercising myself and continue to accomplish as much as I can in my golden years instead of settling for couch potato status.
Jeffrey celebrates all of my success with me - on the roads and in my life. He affirms my strength, my courage, my beauty and infuses me with the love and nurturing I never received as a child.
My work with Jeffrey has given me such a boost to keep moving forward in my health and wellness journey challenging myself with new goals such as running my THIRD CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in January of 2018. Whenever I feel tired, sore or in pain, I give myself a kick in the butt to maintain my 5 days a week workout regimen reflecting on where I was and how horrible I felt 10 years ago.
But perhaps what keeps me motivated is that every time I work out, go for a run and achieve another goal in my health and wellness journey, I know I represent Jeffrey's life changing work.
I know that the success I've had these past two plus years is in great part due to the work I do every week with Jeffrey. He believes in me and my ability to go the distance and I do not have the heart to let him or myself down! Reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life is here to stay as we approach the ten year anniversary of when I left the VA to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma!
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):
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.