Monday, May 22, 2017

Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: Running is my Freedom!

As I count down the days to the ten year anniversary of when I left my 20 year award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life, I marvel at the healing and transformative power of running in my life. When I first set out on this healing odyssey on May 25th of 2007, I was still wearing a toe up leg brace:

Although I felt better than I had after first being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards, I still experienced chronic pain, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and literal and metaphorical burning in my body. However, unlike when I was first diagnosed, I had the power of my pen, my Divining Rod for healing inspiring my body to heal through the healing power of poetry and I HAD HOPE!

I had never run a day in my life until I purchased my first pair of running shoes in February of 2008 after declaring that I would run the 2009 Boston Marathon. My personal trainer was amazing believing that she could train Team McManus who had never run a marathon and had no base of athleticism for the Boston Marathon.

I discovered a sense of freedom in running. As I trained for and ran the 2009 Boston Marathon I broke free from the shackles of the image of myself as someone who was disabled.

When I trained for two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons I broke free from the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome knowing that I finally had traction on my healing journey.

Poetry enabled me to imagine what it would feel like to run unencumbered and free long before I ever had the physical experience of the freedom of running in my present reality.

With the love and support of my running village, I broke free from the taunts and jeers from my peers growing up. Rather than being laughed at and ridiculed because of my long metal leg brace as I struggled to keep up with my peers and was given the nickname "Easy Out Alper" (my maiden name) I was and am celebrated for all of my accomplishments in running and in my journey to health and wellness.

From being told I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair 10 years ago to celebrating 10 years of healing. From feeling trapped in my body to discovering that running IS my freedom!

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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