Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Celebrating 10 Years of Healing - Imagination
When I set out on a quest to heal my life 10 years ago on 5/25/2007, I had no idea what that meant! I did know about the teachings of Dr. Bernie Siegel and had practiced the Divine wisdom he channeled. We like to joke and say I am a slow learner. One of the first things I did after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards was to return to his on line Forum and his books. I knew that I had the power to heal myself.
From "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
Okay Universe. What are you trying to tell me here? I examined my left breast and sure enough, I could feel a mass. I remembered the power of visualization from Bernie Siegel’s work and I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by harnessing the power of visualization. I was on a mission – to heal whatever was going on in my left breast. ...
For the next week, every chance I had, I would meditate and visualize only healthy breast tissue. I massaged my left breast.
I told my left breast how much I loved it. I concentrated my energy on the mass seeing it dissolve. Work faded into the background although I took care of what I needed to for my patients and their families. An interesting phenomenon happened at work. My day used to be filled with knocks at my door, constant phone calls and a steady stream of patients and staff. As I began to clear out my office and made the conscious decision to leave, my schedule began to be filled with no shows and cancellations. There was strict monitoring of no shows and cancellations. They were viewed as a waste of clinician’s time and we were to do everything we could to avoid no shows and cancellations in order to keep our numbers up and justify that the VA satellite clinic would remain open.
My focus was no longer on ‘saving’ the clinic or my patients and their families. My focus was on saving myself.
I wouldn’t examine my breast but focused on feeling confident that the mass would disappear. When I arrived for my follow up exam, I changed into my gown. With an air of confidence I told the technician that my mass was gone.
It was! My daughter made me choose the date I would be leaving the VA after that close call with breast cancer. From Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
When I returned home my daughter asked me, “Mom if that would have been cancer what would you have done?”
“Well that’s a no brainer, I would have immediately given my notice at the VA.”
“Are you waiting for another disaster to happen? Come on. Let’s choose your last day at the VA. How many weeks notice do you have to give?”
“Six,” I answered.
“Here it is – May 25th. I circled it on the calendar. Give your notice tomorrow.”
During those six weeks I journaled and imagined what my life would be like after the VA. I could feel how I would feel being healthy and whole living a full vibrant life no longer plagued by chronic pain and fatigue experiencing a sense of joy and freedom. For about 30 minutes every day I lived in my future as though it were already here!
My pen became my divining rod for healing as I went to a place where I reclaimed my life, ran unencumbered and free, imagining healers to partner with me to go the distance and help me transform my life all through the power of writing poetry.
I had fits and starts in my healing odyssey always working so hard to move forward, to feel better, to be more healthy and fit.
A defining moment in my quest to heal came in December of 2014.
I was an injury waiting to happen. I was pushing myself hard in running and racing and my only "cross training" was in Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab. There was a push/pull going on inside of me between claiming my healing yet still identifying myself as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma.
The MRI showed that my left knee and leg was, as the kids like to say, a hot mess. No gastroc muscle as a result of having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5. Degenerative joint changes as a result of osteoarthritis and several surgeries including reconstructive leg surgery. Bone spurs. Torn cartilage. Scar tissue. A fatty lipoma.
"There's not even enough there that going in and doing arthroscopic surgery would do any good," the physiatrist at Spaulding's Post Polio clinic declared. He referred me for physical therapy, told me to cap the miles I was running and said that eventually I will need a total knee replacement. He also suggested that I return to the Post-Polio clinic for a reevaluation.
Fortunately I had the physical therapist from hell and became quickly aware that the massage therapist I was working with at the time was also the massage therapist from hell. I was surrounded by naysayers and people who didn't support and understand what I was trying to do.
All that work of imagining my healers and imagining myself as healthy, and whole, reclaiming my life and running unencumbered and free was about to pay off big dividends.
Dr. Ryan J. Means or Dr. Ryan as he loves to be called was heaven sent. He was so excited to partner with me and together we read, "You Are the Placebo," by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Dr. Joe had a horrible yet wonderful accident that led him on the path of his life's work - to remind us all of the power of Divine Intelligence within us that we can use to heal. Dr. Ryan let me know that I was worthy of healing and treated me "like royalty." Through his using the art and science of chiropractic care coupled with his beautiful heart, using KT tape and every technique in his toolbox, I began to heal the knee injury AND grow a new gastroc muscle which would minimize my risk for injury once I returned to running.
In tomorrow's blog post, I will be sharing how imagination got me through training and to the finish line of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon.....
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.