"Do you want to finish with the cardio circuit or balance?" our therapist at Spaulding Aquatics Therapy class asked us.
We decided to finish with balance.
After an invigorating and challenging 35 minutes or so that included aqua jogging, strengthening hips with four way resistance exercises (so much more enjoyable than a theraband I am quick to add), pendulum swings for core strength with outstretched arms holding dumbbells, and contralateral quick step movements with laps, we took our kick boards to the deep end of the pool.
First up is finding our balance sitting on the kick boards then look ma no hands. To up level, we close our eyes and really harness the power of our core.
"Now see if you can stand on it. You can always use a noodle and come in the shallow end."
I'd seen a lot of beach blanket bingo movies in my day (said at the risk of dating myself) and channeled my inner Frankie Avalon:
I confidently stepped on to the kick board with one leg and then the other -- whoa whoa whoa -- this is harder than it looks.
Lots of laughter.
Okay I've done this before but it's been awhile. I've got this.
After a few times, I was able to stand and did a few leg push ups for good measure.
Our therapist told us that she'd give us a few more minutes and then we'd need to come in and stretch. I simulated surfing by using my arms to surf swim to shore and staying upright on the kick board.
There were so many activities that I couldn't try in my youth or so I thought as a result of having contracted paralytic polio. But it's never too late to become surfer girl.
"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.