Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Miracles and Hope

When I set out 7 and a half years ago to heal my life after receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease, I had no idea what that meant. Somewhere deep inside of me I had a feeling of hope; hope that if I did not have much time left, I could have a good quality of life with the time I had left to live. I felt hope that there would come a day when I would not be suffering as much as I was when I barely walked into Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital's International Rehab Center for Polio in October of 2006.

I believed in miracles. I read Bernie Siegel's book, "Love, Medicine and Miracles" in the 1980's. I knew what was possible but I knew that my only hope for healing was to begin to experience love and compassion for myself.

Throughout my healing odyssey, I have had to hold onto hope regardless of what physical condition I was in at the time. It was wonderful to feel great when I was crushing PR after PR but then came the crash after my nephew's suicide in March 2011. Oh how I wish he wouldn't have given up before the miracle happened in his life but I know and trust he is at peace.

My life - your life is a miracle. Just take a moment to realize that from two tiny microscopic cells, you are here - now - reading this. Isn't that a miracle? The breeze. The birds singing. The flowers that are so magnificent in Spring and summer in New England. Even the miracle of the leaves changing and falling off the leaves knowing when it's time to let go.

It's a miracle that I walked after contracting paralytic polio and that I walked away from the violence in my childhood. What a miracle that we were spared so much and able to safely evacuate on Marathon Monday 4/15/13. I walked away from treatment modalities and practices that did not serve me but I did not quit before the miracle happened. I'm so glad I didn't give up trusting in the goodness of others and the good intentions of others and found my way to Sollievo Massage and Bodywork which is now an integral part of my healing journey.

Despite how I am feeling in the morning, I can experience the miracle of meditation to experience peace and acceptance with what is while riding the waves of whatever I am feeling at the time. If I am having a challenging day of fatigue and pain, I feel hopeful that with rest, I will recover to run another day. If I need treatment, I am blessed with the best that Ancient and Modern traditions have to offer me.

It's a miracle that I am running again and training for the Tufts 2014 10K.

I have several friends who are living with MS and cancer. With love, support and hope and a fierce passion for living the best life they can despite what shape their physical form is in, they are thriving and have experienced a miracle of healing. Sometimes the miracle of healing is being able to make it through those times of profound uncertainty and not quitting before the miracle, whatever shape it takes, happens.

Do you live as though everything is a miracle? I do. I don't know how to live any other way.

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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