Thursday, July 3, 2014

Called one of the lucky ones...Feeling Fortunate

In, 'Running the Race,' the first poem I wrote back in February 2007 after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, I wrote:

Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
but with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.

I was unable to leave the house for a few months, but when the physical therapist from the March of Dimes came to my house to do an assessment, she told my mother, "She's one of the lucky ones." There were children and adults in iron lungs unable to move or breathe. There were many who died. While initially I experienced paralysis from the neck down, movement on my right side returned within a week or two.

And despite the abandonment, neglect and violence that ensued, in my heart I feel blessed and fortunate.

I know that I continue to heal and build strength. I know that I have the strength to work with whatever challenges may present themselves in my life. I am incredibly fortunate to have Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab Hospital and go for weekly treatments at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork. When I told my husband and daughter that I needed them to do chores in order for me to continue to heal, have the energy to run and enjoy my life, and stem the tide of the progression of the late effects of paralytic polio, they stepped up to the plate.

I'm taking a moment to pause today to realize how fortunate I am to feel as well as I do and to live the life I am living. I AM one of the lucky ones and so blessed to have experienced what it's like to run free in yesterday's training run. Blessed with abundance which for me means having enough right now in this moment. Blessed with a 37 year relationship with my husband and surrounded by my running family. Blessed to have all my limbs, my sight, my hearing and blessed because I feel fortunate and take nothing for granted knowing how life can change on a dime.

All we have is right now - this moment and I am embracing my good fortune to be here now.

Be Here Now April 2014

Be here now and celebrate
no longer the victim
a survivor and thriver
filled with beauty
a life once torn and shattered
now a beautiful tapestry
woven together
no more rough edges
open heart
a voice that sings with strains of poetry
life no longer a strain or struggle
a new refrain
as energy flows
the river of life marks a new path
yet all is fleeting
not meant to be captured
but experienced
shared in awe
wonder and mystery
comfort in this gift of presence
trusting all is well.

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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