It's been almost a year since I began Aquatics Therapy community classes at Spaulding Rehab Hospital. It has been a game changer in my healing journey with the late effects of paralytic polio and being a survivor of 9 years of violence as a child.
Last night, our therapist kicked it up a notch for those of us who were ready. We started with a few laps of running to warm up but not just any kind of running. High knees, bum kicks and side shuffle. Those contralateral moves are still a challenge for me but I focus on the strength I AM building rather than the weakness I have yet to overcome. It's all about perspective and mindset.
Lower body strength training was up next. I remember when I'd use therabands and thought to myself how grateful I am for the pool at Spaulding and really tightening and using those muscles per my therapist's cues.
Next up, our therapist having us do a new core strengthening exercise in the deep end. It was a very humbling experience yet a challenge that I thoroughly embraced. After we finished the exercises, I noticed that my running in the pool was so much easier. My therapist smiled when I shared this observation with her.
Did you know you can sweat in a pool? You can when you are doing aqua jogging for 5 minutes non stop while holding down two dumb bells by your side. I asked our therapist how long we were jogging for and she said 5 minutes; I usually have you do 3 1/2. We smiled again.
Time for the circuit where we go from doing 40 to 30 to 20 to 15 to 10 to 5 of a circuit of cardio exercises. Tonight's menu consisted of jumping jacks, jump tucks, scissor switch of legs and arms and side to side jumps. Jump tucks have always been a challenge for me. Last night something clicked and I could feel the spring in my jump and a new neuromuscular connection. I found myself jumping for joy.
Knowing today and tomorrow are rest days, I gave it my all feeling a new fierceness and determination deep within.
Finding my aquatics strength yes please and thank you. Don't mind if I do.
"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.