Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Swimiversary

August 30, 2013 I experienced my first Aquatics Therapy class at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. As I reread my blog post from a year ago, I realize it is now 8 years since I became sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and took the first steps on my healing journey at Spaulding Rehab's Internaitonal Rehab Center for Polio at their outpatient clinic in Framingham in October of that year.

I knew there were benefits of Aquatics Therapy but am amazed to experience the transformation and healing that is happening in large part thanks to the twice weekly therapy classes at Spaulding.

I am up to 5 pound ankle weights and last Saturday I ran for seven sweet miles.

I can do squats with dumbbells. New neuromuscular connections fire up as we are challenged with balance exercises and contralateral movements. I remember how disorganized I felt with movements in the pool. I feel a sense of grace and ease in my body as I move and laugh as I try new exercises.

I love being in the pool. The warm waters heal. I feel more confidence and strength in my body than I did this time last year; than I have ever felt in my life. There is a collective intention for healing and finding strength in the community classes.

I often joke with my therapist saying that I think I am addicted to Aquatics Therapy classes. She responded with there are worse things you can be addicted to.

There is freedom as I move through water with mindful movements.

It's hard for me to believe it's been a year since I first experienced Aquatics Therapy. I had no expectations when I began the program. I didn't even know that I would become a fixture of the Tuesday and Wednesday classes. I'm glad that I stayed with the program even when it meant getting up in the dark at 6:15 am in the middle of the Polar Vortex or walking out into the darkness of evening being greeted by a blast of frigid air.

It's been a joy filled, challenging and fulfilling journey with wonderful results. I continue to build strength and experience healing and transformation, grace and ease in my physicality. Happy Swimiversary to me with deepest gratitude to my therapists and to Spaulding Rehab for the gift of this program in my life.

"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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