Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Road to Recovery-Postpartum

In one of my blog posts I talked about how training for the Boston Marathon was like being pregnant - and I know all about being pregnant because I had twins! Well, since training was like being pregnant and having my body go through changes at warp speed (black toenails, blisters, food cravings and all), recovery is like post partum. My body had been tested, challenged, stretched, and used to the max. I poured it all out on Marathon Monday to finish a grueling 26.2 mile run with headwinds and a chill in the air. And now, I am in the post partum phase - only thank God there is no crying children to wake me up at night - an occasional meow'ing from our cat Alex, but that's about it.

Just like postpartum recovery, there are no hard and fast rules about what to do during this time of recovery. Everyone's body is different. My husband and daughter have already resumed running. Me? I was so happy to take a 4.5 mile walk today in the glorious spring sunshine, hearing the birds, seeing everything burst forth with new life. I am bursting forth with new life. I am focusing on my passion of creating customized poetry, sharing my journey at various venues and promoting my book of inspirational poetry. True to the turtles that God sent me as signs, I am slowing down and ironically, I am accomplishing more because I am focusing on what my goals are and I am remembering what life used to be like for me to celebrate with overflowing gratitude to God that I am where I am today.

Just a little over a year ago, it was difficult for me to enjoy taking a walk outside. I remember the day Team McManus went for a walk on Wollaston Beach - after 20 minutes I needed to stop! Ever since I can remember, I did not feel comfortable in my body. The last time I had felt comfortable and free in my body was in ballet class when I was 5 years old right before the polio virus hit. Since then, it had been one struggle after another - multiple surgeries for one thing or another, battling being overweight, pregnancy (well that was a joyful experience but a stress on my body nevertheless), and then post polio syndrome. I remember pushing myself to just walk home from the train station, adrenaline pumping because I was so tired and my muscles were screaming because they were being pushed way beyond their limits. And then relief came in the form of Post Polio Syndrome.

When I first walked with a leg brace and a cane, I felt relief that my left leg did not have to work so hard to compensate for its weakness and being shorter than my right leg. I was so grateful to use a wheelchair when I traveled because walking through airports drained my energy. I had learned to accept my limitations, love myself where I was and then the road from post polio to the Boston Marathon was paved with love - love for myself and the outpouring of love from healing angels, friends, family and strangers.

Reaching the finish line on Boylston Street was an amazing accomplishment - an outstanding achievement of which I am so incredibly proud and grateful. And now, for the first time in my life I can experience a freedom and fearlessness in my body. Sure, there is still a little soreness in my muscles - after all - I went from 0-60 in running during this past year but there is a spring in my step and a confidence in my walk and gratitude overflowing in my heart. I am figuring out how to fuel my body and listen to what it needs. I have cut down on carbs and increased protein and fruits and veggies but I still eat a lot throughout the day fueling my body with whatever it tells me it needs. Peanut butter seems to be a new craving. I am so patient and loving with this body that allowed me to use it to express that with God everything is possible and impossible is nothing. I take long hot showers and stretch and strengthen my core. I do the exercises that Janice, my energy healer/physical therapist prescribed for me on Monday on a regular basis throughout the day.

And for my mind and spirit? I am going full throttle with New World Greeting Cards and listening for Divine Direction. I am so excited to have submitted a proposal for the Mass. Poetry Festival in October. I have discovered my niche in the world of poetry - as one reviewer wrote about my book last year,
"Although never formally trained in poetry, McManus' work is not the sophisticated poetry of journals. It is unashamedly sentimental and sincere with simple rhyme schemes reflecting early indoctrination in Dr. Seuss - he was the childhood favorite she would read prior to painful polio treatments. But the directness of McManus' poetry,anchored in spiritual faith and positive energy, has brought her enthusiastic fans around the world." - Karen Campbell, freelance writer

It has taken me awhile to fully realize and cherish my gift. I was trying to fit into the poetry circles rather than celebrate my own unique style of poetry. I now celebrate that poetry is a gift from God; it is the beautiful river that runs through me and brings such healing and joy to me and those whose lives I bless with this gift. New life, rebirth - NEW WORLD!

To order a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" log onto my website These are the poems which inspired my body, mind and spirit to heal after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome and enabled me to go on to run and finish the 113th Boston Marathon.

For Mother's Day and all of your special occasions this spring and summer, be sure to let New World Greeting Cards create your customized poetry - It's more than a card, it's a gift from the heart.

You can still make a donation to Team McManus at

God bless and I am so happy that I made it to the finish line!

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