Sunday, October 6, 2019

Look for the Gift

After receiving the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, I knew that if I were going to heal, I had to find the gift in the challenge; from when I originally contracted paralytic polio and then after the diagnosis.

One of the first poems I wrote after the diagnosis was:

The Gift of Polio from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life"
Thank you God for the gift of polio that brought me so close to you
while paralyzed I saw your face no matter what I’d do
Many wonderful healers you sent them to me at age 5
perseverance and triumph life’s lessons learned
but my Spirit could not yet thrive.

At age 53 the gift was sent to me a second time
having time to sit and feel to heal I started to rhyme.
The second time felt worse than the first
yet your love and wisdom I found
out of pain and weakness and fatigue a remarkable spirit rebound.

Reliving all the trauma of special shoes and such
I discovered remarkable healers who brought a loving touch.
I had no clue I had such strength and the ability to grow
no matter what the outcome deep gratitude I show.

This gift so precious I live a new life gratitude flows from me
my heart and soul are filled with grace each day’s a gift from thee.

One of the greatest gifts I experienced during these past 12 years of healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma has been to bear witness to the power of the mind/body connection. Through partnering with the Divine, and working with my body in recovery, using visualization as I wrote poetry I was able to transform mind, body and soul from a survivor of polio and trauma to a thriver and a runnergirl!

After having been told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, a sleep apnea machine and prepare for a rapid decline in neuromuscular functioning as I aged, I was in awe to discover that I was NOT my diagnosis and that resilience and strength and recovery were mine for the asking and the doing.

Despite living with a spinal cord injury from polio and a neuromuscular condition, I've been blessed to have had very few falls. I was told to be extremely cautious of falls because I was at risk for a fracture. The first big spill I took was while training for the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon as I wrote about in this blog. Despite hitting the asphalt square on my hips, I only chipped a tooth and had some serious scrapes and bruises. I was fine. I went on to finish my 6.5 mile training run that day.

I found the gifts in that fall and moved forward successfully training for and running the Bermuda Half Marathon despite warnings from physical therapists and a physiatrist that I needed to give up running and prepare for a total knee replacement after a serious knee injury in December of 2014.

I was blessed to witness my body heal after the knee injury, and quickly recover from the fall and experience resilience and strength.

Recently, my left foot caught on the asphalt and I lost my balance. In that split second as I tried to reach for a guard rail along the side of the road to steady myself, I missed and with outstretched arms hit the ground. Fortunately it was mostly dirt and gravel. I felt my rib kiss the ground and scraped my right elbow and knee.

I righted myself knowing I was fine; telling my body I was fine and went on my way.

I alternated ice and heat and took ibuprofen to reduce swelling and manage the pain. Right after the fall I instinctively knew to remove my wedding band as I watched and felt my left hand swell and turn black and blue and purple. I instinctively knew nothing was broken and if I had broken my rib, there was nothing that could be done for it anyway.

During this past week, I once again found the gift in the fall. I was once again blessed to witness the miraculous mechanism of healing that is an integral part of our bodies. I used Dr. Joe Dispenza's mantra, "The Power that made the body, heals the body." I was in a lot of pain and discomfort at times and needed to modify my workouts and runs. I experienced all of this as a gift. I trained so hard for several events during the past several months and this was a way for my body to say, "scale it back a little."

I saw my chiropractor, Dr. Lizzie Sobel last Thursday. She confirmed that nothing was broken and released my body's natural capacity to heal through the art and science of chiropractic. I was astonished to experience a release on my right side after the treatment!

All of the bruises have dissipated and the scrapes on my elbow and knee are well on their way to healing. The muscle sprain on my right side continues to heal and it's such a thrill to notice the shifts as my body knows exactly what to do to heal.

Throughout my quest to heal my life, I've discovered the gift of being able to shift my perspective from focusing on the wounds of my past to the profound healing that happens when we allow the Divine into our lives.

When challenges happen, as they must because they are a part of life, tame the challenge and look for the gift. You'll be sure to find a treasure trove of grace.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at

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.

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