Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fiery Determination

I sent out an email blast about the release of my memoir, "Coming Home: A Message of Healing, Hope and Possibility."

After she sent me an email of congratulations, I said to Diana Cullum-Duggan that while I did not mention her per se in my memoir, she was certainly an important part of my healing journey. She offered yoga at no charge pre and post marathon to the members of the 2009 Boston Marathon team. She said:

Didn't expect to be mentioned, Mary. I was a blip on the radar of health for you. You found a team of practitioners that have helped you, along with your fiery determination to heal.

Well Diana was more than a blip on the radar as she gave her time and treasure to support us on our road to the Boston Marathon through yoga and meditation and in post run recovery.

But she said something very important to me in that she acknowledged my fiery determination.

Last week we met with Dr. Chris Carter, the team psychologist for Spaulding's Race for Rehab team to talk about Looking Back and Looking Ahead as we approach the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and get ready for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

He and others who were in attendance who worked with the survivors at Spaulding spoke to how inspired they were by the determination, strength and courage of the survivors. Here is a link to a CBS interview with Dr. Carter: Experts think that anniversary of Boston Marathon could come with anxiety for some...

In the article and at last week's meeting, Dr. Carter talked about the importance of community for healing.

When I was growing up, I was completely isolated and ostracized; a combination of growing up in a home rife with chemical dependency and violence and the results of contracting paralytic polio at age 5. I cut myself off from myself, dissociating from my body and from others. By the time I was 52 years old, my body had virtually shut down crying out for healing.

My first sense of community was through Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio being cared for by a multidisciplinary team of caring providers. And then I went on to become a part of the Marathon Sports family and the running community at large as I embraced the challenge of a lifetime, running the 2009 Boston Marathon.

Physically I had no business running a marathon but spiritually and emotionally fueled by the love and support of so many, I felt a fiery determination in my soul and went from polio shoes in February of 2008 to the finish line of the Boston Marathon 2009.

Two years ago, after my nephew's suicide, I experienced a relapse of post polio symptoms. I would not stop and I would not settle. In the wake of the bombings, I returned to the roads after a two year hiatus and continued to seek out paths for healing. How blessed that I could find my way to the Aquatics Therapy program where twice a week, with fiery determination, I continue to build my strength.

I have been so blessed by healing angels throughout my life and especially during my 7 year healing odyssey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome. I am especially blessed that somewhere, somehow, I kept hope alive through the most horrific events one person can experience and that my fiery determination would not let me quit even though it seemed as though I was doing so against all odds.

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