Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inspirational Stories of Heroes, Healing, Hope and Possibility - "Find Your Strength"

"You're not limited - you're just adapting."

I saw several stories on Facebook that inspired me to put together today's blog post on heroes, healing, hope and possibility. Take a few moments to watch and read!

Dancer Who Lost Leg in Bombing - "I'm a Fighter"

Celeste and Sydney receiving a visit from wounded Marines - Marines Who Triumphed Over Injuries Bring Hope to Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors

Emotional reunion for bombing survivor, her heroes

Six and a half years ago, I sat on an exam table in Spaulding Rehab Hospital's Framingham Outpatient Clinic. I had difficulty swallowing, breathing, I experienced chronic fatigue, chronic pain, tremors, I could barely walk. I had a constant lump in my throat, chronic bronchitis and tingling down the right side of my face and arm. I was scared out of my mind not knowing what was wrong with me although I was being assessed for post polio syndrome. After several years of going from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, I was able to have the support of a multidisciplinary team and received outstanding care from loving, compassionate therapists.

For five months I received intensive outpatient rehab three times a week at the Spaulding Hospital in downtown Boston. I now realize that the symptoms I experienced were the equivalent of emotional shrapnel that became embedded in my body after 9 years of unrelenting trauma culminating in my father's suicide when I was 17 years old. I took my first steps on my healing journey out of my past and into my present at Spaulding Rehab. I began to 'find my strength.'

I found so much strength that I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner and was celebrating that run in the Mandarin Oriental with the Race for Rehab team and Spaulding Rehab on Marathon Monday. And then the bombs exploded. We all went our separate ways and followed up via email and facebook letting everyone know we were all okay.

On Tuesday evening, the postponed Open House and New Hospital Tours was rescheduled. I had to see the new facility and was hoping against hope that some of the people from the Mandarin would be there. As I stood in the lobby of the new hospital, I was in awe of what I saw. This was no ordinary hospital. Before we began the tour I could feel the power of the healing energy and the dedication and commitment that went into creating this place that "transforms the art and science of rehabilitative medicine."

The new Spaulding is a green hospital with high tech features to optimize patient care while being mindful of the environment. There is an apartment where patients can go before they are discharged to ease their transition back into the community. The Aquatic Therapy pool is magnificent. Spaulding is going to offer to the community, a water aerobics class, a core strength class, aquatic therapy for limb aputations and aquatic therapy for brain injury run by a physical therapist. Patient rooms overlook the water. The hospital far exceeds ADA requirements attending to every detail so that the hospital is accessible to every body.

We were greeted by the President, David Storto who was a part of our 2009 team and who was stopped a half a mile out from the finish line, and my dear friend Suzanne who was so proud to be a part of 'command central' tracking the runners high tech style in the Mandarin.

We hugged and kissed each other so grateful to be alive and so grateful to be united in this place. I saw a few familiar faces on the tour and we stopped to hug each other giving each other the once over making sure we were okay. After the tours were finished, we took a few moments to reunite in the lobby and give thanks that we were all alive and in one piece.

The resounding theme for the evening was gratitude and healing. The new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is going to help so many find their strength. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the survivors of the Marathon Bombings found their way to Spaulding Rehab where they too will find their strength and who knows? Maybe some of them may even go on to become members of the Race for Rehab team.

Happy To Be Alive from Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey Volume II:Seasons of the Soul now available on Amazon

Face to face with death at knife point
cold darkened eyes stare into mine
unflinching I stare back
afraid to move a muscle
already dead.
Life force safely tucked away
unknowing the outcome of this untimely encounter with death
at the hands of a madman
reasoning destroyed by gin and vermouth.
Angels intervene
he finds peace in death
I am left to put the pieces of my life back together again.
As numbness gives way to pain
pain gives way to gratitude
appreciation for this wondrous wonder filled life
where nothing makes sense and everything makes sense
purpose out of pain
grace in ungodly moments
surrounded by love
happy so happy to be alive
to tell the tale of one who almost died.

May all beings be happy and free!

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude,

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