Monday, August 5, 2019
It's kind of fun to do the impossible!
As different memories pop up in Facebook, I take pause and am in awe of what I have been able to create and accomplish since the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome over 12 years ago. But I did not do this alone. I had a lot of love and support and trailblazers who showed me just what was possible.
Dr. Joe Dispenza often uses the example of Roger Bannister. He was the first person to break the 4-minute mile. Everyone thought it was impossible yet once he broke the record, others were able to follow. Why? Because their beliefs went from impossible to possibility.
In the 1980's I was blessed to meet a nurse, Beth Jordan, while hospitalized with a bone infection in my shoulder. She introduced me to the work of Bernie Siegel, MD. He's written many wonderful books all with the themes of love, medicine and miracles.
After the diagnosis, which I was told is a progressive neuromuscular disease, I remembered a story Bernie told about Evy McDonald.
If she could heal her body from ALS, I could heal my body from Post-Polio Syndrome. I began to love myself whole and imagine life in a body unencumbered and free from the shackles of a disease-ridden and traumatic past. My pen became my divining rod for healing as I wrote poetry that inspired mind, body and soul to heal.
"Be prepared to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair" was transformed into "And I want to run the 2009 Boston Marathon next year."
In December of 2014, with pushing myself to run 9 races in 9 months and no cross training, I sustained a very serious knee injury.
"The MRI shows you have shredded cartilage, degenerative changes from osteoarthritis, a fatty lipoma, bone spurs, degenerative changes from surgeries. Your gastroc muscle is atrophied but that comes as no surprise. That's been like that for years ever since you had polio and there's nothing you can do about it."
I felt like saying to the physiatrist, "Hold my beer."
Actually I thought it was impossible to grow a new muscle but I met an amazing chiropractor, Dr. Ryan J. Means, who turned me onto the movie "What the bleep do we know" and "You Are the Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza. He told me we could most certainly grow a new gastroc muscle. With KT taping and exercises that stimulated the gastroc muscle using my right leg to provide the mirror neurons necessary for my left leg to fire up the gastroc muscle. Dr. David Hamilton in "The Tenth Anniversary of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body" and Dr. Joe Dispenza talk about how mirror neurons aid in the recovery of stroke. When once it was believed that the damage of a stroke was "permanent", modern neuroscience has discovered the tremendous capacity of the brain and central nervous system to regenerate harnessing the power of the mind/body connection.
With a stronger gastroc muscle, a new strength training regimen and my fiery spirit, I set new goals for myself as a runner.
"We'd prefer you didn't run at all but if you are going to run please cap your distance."
And so I capped my distance at a half marathon!
I went on to run 3 Bermuda Half Marathons in as many years.
"We'd really like for you to come back to the Post-Polio Clinic for a reevaluation because, after all, it is only a matter of time before your disease begins to progress."
It's over 12 years and counting and in addition to having no progression of symptoms, I feel healthier and more vibrant at 65 years old than I have ever felt in my life.
In December of 2006 I was told I "had" a progressive neuromuscular disease. In May of 2007, I took a leap of faith and left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life. "They" said so many things were not possible. The Divine and I had other plans.
It's been an incredible journey and you know what? It's kind of fun to do the impossible!
To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours
Be sure to visit my website at www.marymcmanus.com
Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link
My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.