Wednesday, February 20, 2019
A Leap of Faith!
When I announced the release of "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" on Facebook, one of my VA colleagues who continues to serve those who served as a nurse practitioner said, "Congrats. I so admire you."
I responded with, "Thank you Gale. That means the world to me! So hard to believe it was 12 years ago when I sat in your office and told you what was going on and that I was leaving the VA ... I had no idea where I'd be today. So blessed to have worked all those years with you and to continue our friendship today. Be blessed"
Gale replied, "I remember thinking that day I could not do that. But you are proof you can. And I too appreciate all you did and welcome our continued friendship."
The Team I worked with at the VA were very concerned (and rightfully so) about my somewhat hasty decision to leave my award winning career at the VA just 3 years shy of retirement.
They didn't see the behind the scenes work I was doing preparing to leave after I was given the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease according to Western Medicine. I hadn't quite planned to leave on May 25, 2007 but the Universe gave me an extra nudge to make changes in my life with an abnormal mammogram. I harnessed the power of my mind/body connection and used visualization to dissolve a breast tumor and then gave 6 weeks notice. At first, my nurse manager was extremely supportive but when "reality" set in, became quite concerned about my future.
I withdrew all of the money from my retirement account, clutched a soon to be published poetry book and sat on my lawn on a beautiful May day wondering "What had I just done?"
I knew I had to leave my job to heal my life although at the time really had no idea what that meant.
I loved my work serving those who served and their families and I vowed that the day I could no longer give 100% to my veterans and their families, I would leave. I was heart broken I had to leave my career and my beloved veterans and their families but I was suffering. I could no longer provide the standard of care that I had dedicated myself to for 19 years.
I was scared about what my future held and wondered, given the grim prognosis if I even had a future.
But writing poetry and imagining myself running a race, dancing in the rain and feeling healthy, whole and free had already put the wheels in motion for healing.
I hired a personal trainer after being discharged from Spaulding Rehab Outpatient care wondering if I could get a little stronger. Her answer to my wondering:
It was another leap of faith defying what the medical community told me..."If you use it you will lose it."
In February of 2008 I took a giant leap of faith declaring I would run the 2009 Boston Marathon to raise money for Spaulding Rehab.
My running adventures with trials, tribulations and triumphs were filled with leaps of faith at every turn.
Every time I took a leap of faith, and followed my bliss:
As I wrote in "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":
The deck was stacked against me. Without warning, on June 3, 1959, I dropped to the ground in Kindergarten class. Three years after contracting paralytic polio, shortly after coming out of my leg brace, my father became alcoholic. Nine years of emotional, physical and sexual assaults followed until he died by suicide when I was 17 years old. In December of 2006 I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome and told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
In many ways, my life has been like an adventure movie. I battled evil, and fought for my life. Every time somebody told me I shouldn't or couldn't do something, I turned around and said, "Watch me now."
Never tell me the odds!
Taking that leap of faith on May 25, 2007 took remarkable courage and a lot of support from my husband, Tom. In many ways it was a crazy thing to do since I had no real plan for what was next in my life.
Adventures beyond my wildest imaginings were waiting for me after I took that first leap of faith:
I am deeply blessed and grateful that my mind, body and soul are healed from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and I can bear witness for others to see what is possible when you let go of fear and trust that something wonderful lies on the other side of that leap of faith.
To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours
Be sure to visit my website by following this link.
My books are available on Amazon.
“The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” takes you on Mary McManus’ healing odyssey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond. After the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December 2006, Mary got still and asked for Divine Guidance tapping into the powerful connection she experienced to the Divine from an early age. She harnessed the power of her mind to heal her body, feverishly writing poetry in which she imagined herself healthy, whole and free from the shackles of her youth. Mary’s quest to heal her life led her to the sport of running. Her story is one that will leave you cheering for the underdog, discovering the meaning of different ability and experiencing the stunning view from the back of the pack of a race. You will have the privilege of bearing witness to how Mary overcame every challenge that life presented to her. The sport of running provides the backdrop for her journey of transformation from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma at the hands of family members to a woman who embodies faith, grace under fire, courage, determination, endurance and resilience. Running became a way of life for Mary that tested her mettle while forging friendships to last a lifetime. As you’ll discover in “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” nothing, not even a serious knee injury in December of 2014 could stop her on the roads or in her life.
Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life
Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:
Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):
My healing journey using the power of visualization is featured in David R. Hamilton's book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body-Anniversary Edition." It's available on Amazon.