Saturday, May 20, 2017

Going the Distance: Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: A Daring Adventure

Next Thursday marks 10 years since I took a leap of faith leaving behind an incredible salary and an award winning career as a VA social worker. Fortunately, when the Team at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio told me that the only hope for stabilizing the symptoms I experienced of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, my husband said it was a no brainer for me to quit.

It was rather a rather daring move on my part to withdraw the $60,000 in my retirement account and pay the tax penalty, and not really have a plan for money or a career. There was a force within me that said I needed to "heal my life". At the time I did not realize that what needed healing was the effects of paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma.

I had a vision for the life I wanted to create in the future. During the 6 weeks after giving my notice, I spent a lot of time imagining that life as though it was already happening in my present life. I had a loose plan for my business, New World Greeting Cards, original poetry for every occasion and fancied myself becoming a NY Times Bestselling Author with my poetry books.

My nurse manager thought I'd gone mad when I told her that I was leaving the VA and pleaded with me to reconsider my exit after initially embracing me and the need to heal my life. "You can't do this," I was told by my colleagues and I quietly showed them that yes I could.

I left on a wing and a prayer working to heal myself with the inspirational poetry that flowed out of me.

Despite the warnings from the Post-Polio Team at Spaulding Rehab, I harnessed the faith of my beloved physical therapist at another Spaulding location who refused to treat me like a polio survivor and held the belief that I could get stronger and heal. I dared to hire a personal trainer to see if I could get stronger and when I asked her what she thought about my situation at the time she said:

I dared to set a goal to run the 2009 Boston Marathon shortly after coming out of my leg brace six months after working with my personal trainer. When we first started working together, I couldn't pass the initial evaluation.

I dared at every turn to move forward in my journey ditching so called therapeutic modalities that weren't working for me and getting out of toxic situations and relationships that I was drawn to because of my past.

I was terrified and had no idea what the future held for me - if I even had a future given how I felt at the time and given the diagnosis and prognosis I was given.

Here I am - 10 years later, poised and ready to train for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon, financially stable, training 5 days a week,an accomplished poet, author, endurance runner, blogger and motivational speaker.

And to all those naysayers who told me that I couldn't possibly quit my award winning VA social work career just 3 years shy of when I was "eligible" to retire, who said that I was facing a future in a wheelchair and there was no way that I would/should/could ever be a runner; to all those who told me I was taking too big a risk and really needed to reconsider what I was doing I have 3 words....HOLD MY BEER! because after all life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

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.

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