Saturday, June 28, 2014

Go Forward and Dance Through Life

A few years ago, a Facebook friend sent me a dog tag from the Christopher Reeve Foundation that had the Superman insignia on one side and a Go Forward on the other side. I wore it around my neck at the 2010 Tufts 10K.

One of my favorite Christopher Reeve quotes is:
"We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate. Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless."

Yesterday as I was walking up the front stairs to my house I experienced a moment of appreciation that took my breath away.

"I'm not in a wheelchair," I thought to myself.

Many who live with the late effects of paralytic polio are in a wheelchair. When I first presented to the Spaulding Rehab International Rehab Center for Polio, I was advised to adapt my Cape house and prepare for a future in a wheelchair. I'd spent time in a wheelchair when I traveled or had to walk long distances. I used a scooter to do grocery shopping or we used Pea Pod delivery service.

Not only am I not in a wheelchair, I was able to regroup and get back on my healing path after experiencing another relapse of symptoms after the trauma of my nephew's suicide.

Today I ran 6.1 miles for the third week in a row as I train for the Tufts 10K for Women. I took 4 minutes off of last week's time. I am nowhere near the 13:43 minute/mile pace when I ran Tufts in 2009 but I am also 5 years older. My goal is cross the finish line with a smile feeling healthy and happy in my body. Having said that, I want to train and be the best I can possibly be on race day.

The race isn't until October but after a two year running hiatus, I have a lot of work to do to get myself in the best possible shape for the race.

I can't look back at the detours or kick myself for not keeping up with my running.

I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed with all that I have. Every day is a joy and a gift. Every day has its challenges but I have learned to accept them and work with them. I am healing, slowly, from the inside out and to quote Emile Coue, "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."

I vowed that even if I did need to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, I would find a way to make it the best possible life I could. My theme song during my rehab was Dancing Through Life:

After paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence, two suicides in the family and living through the events of 4/15/13, it is wonderful to go forward and feel the joy of being able to dance through life.

My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.

"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.

I donate 50% of royalty payments through on line sales to The One Fund to help Boston Marathon survivors and their families. Copies are also available at Brookline Marathon Sports. $5 of each book sold at Marathon Sports is donated to The One Fund.

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