Saturday, May 8, 2021

"It's Like a Time Warp!"


I first discovered the power of chiropractic care from Dr. Ryan J. Means after a serious knee injury in December 2014. He suggested that I read "You Are the Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza to build on my foundation of harnessing the power of the mind/body connection to heal from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

I healed my left knee injury without surgery and grew a new gastroc muscle using exercises on the Theraband Stabilizer to harness the power of mirror neurons, KT tape and visualization.

I went on to run 3 Bermuda Half Marathons in 2016, 2017 and 2018 despite having been told to stop running and prepare for a total knee replacement.

Dr. Ryan left the US to practice chiropractic in China and now Vietnam. I was blessed to find my way to Dr. Lizzie Sobel. I was asked by a friend to be a substitute for him at a meeting for BNI International, a networking group. Lizzie was the Chapter President and I was instantly impressed by her demeanor and professionalism. I made the change from massage therapy to chiropractic partnering with her since July of 2017 seeing her for weekly adjustments.

From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

Speaking at the Hyannis Marathon Pre-Race Pasta Dinner in February of 2020 and sharing my journey at the Expo was a highlight of my most unlikely running career. I reunited with friends I had met since I discovered the sport of running in February of 2008. Hugs and selfies were the order of the day. I made new friends at the Expo and after my talk at the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner where I shared the podium with Boston Marathon icon Bill Rodgers. We were all looking forward to a reunion in April in Boston for the Boston Marathon and for a year of exhilarating events.


We were excited to be hosting the water stop for L Street, our beloved running club, on March 8th. We ignored any of the quiet warnings about COVID-19 and hugged sweaty runners, poured water and Gatorade into cups for runners to drink and congratulated runners on getting through one of their last long runs before taper time for the Boston Marathon.


On March 12th, I walked into my pregnant chiropractor’s office.


The airwaves and social media news feeds were beginning to fill with fear and panic. I had a sense in my gut that something was terribly wrong with the messages and the methods that surrounded COVID-19. 


“I don’t think they have any plan for this,” I told Dr. Lizzie.


“I’m not worried about getting the virus,” Dr. Lizzie said. “I’m worried about what’s going to happen to my business.”


Always the commensurate professional, Dr. Lizzie gave me an outstanding treatment of chiropractic care. We hugged at the end of the treatment.


“As long as things are open, I will be here,” she said.


The first email she sent outlined the precautions she would take while keeping her practice open. Two days later she said that she would have to follow the State and City guidelines and temporarily close her practice. As numbers of cases spiked, she made the decision to close her practice until January 2021 giving herself an extended maternity leave.


I knew that she needed to find a new office in Boston's Back Bay since her old office would not be pandemic friendly. I didn't know if she would reopen in Boston but was fairly confident she would return to her practice in Walpole. I used meditation, a heating pad, a massage stick and lots of visualization including remembering what her treatments were like to manage the hiatus in care.


We received the email that she would be returning to her practice in a new office in Boston beginning in March.


I was blessed to find a parking space on Thursday that was not for Back Bay residents only and tried to acclimate myself to the new building. 


When the elevator stopped and I stepped out into the waiting room, I had to orient myself to the new office surroundings.


Dr. Lizzie came out of her office and said, "Hi Mary. It's great to see you! Do you need the bathroom?" A familiar phrase she asks before every treatment yet that was the only thing familiar about being together after 14 months.

She checked in with me about my comfort level wearing a mask for the treatment. She remembered I had emailed her about my anxiety of needing to wear a mask during the treatment. She said that I could put it below my nose while being face down but when she had me turn over I would need to pull it back up. My anxiety gave way to my joy of being reunited with Dr. Lizzie although it was certainly different than the way we used to engage pre-pandemic.


After we settled into an awkward rhythm of Dr. Lizzie doing an assessment, she spoke to the elephant in the room. "It's like a time warp isn't it?"


As we settled into the rhythm of the treatment, we talked about the last time we were together on March 12th and how nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.  It was so strange to have been used to seeing Dr. Lizzie as my treatment provider every week with maybe a 2-3 week hiatus at most for vacations, and then having 14 months without contact except for a couple of emails.


The after treatment ritual was the same of Dr. Lizzie telling me to take my time getting off the table and reminding me to hydrate because I might be sore from the adjustments after all this time especially since I received my second vaccine on Wednesday. 


I had bought a 10 pack session of treatments on March 12th so there was no need to exchange payment. She checked to make sure my follow up appointment went through on line. No post-treatment hugs to say until next time when we meet again it won't feel like it's a time warp.

Nothing could have prepared us for what happened after March 13, 2020 and there was no way to prepare for post-pandemic chiropractic treatments. We are still finding our way through this strange new world but armed with vaccines, a new administration in Washington and continued research we will continue to transform, evolve and heal from the trauma of these past 14 months.

From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":

All Clear                                     


When clarion calls and sounds all clear no need to sit and wait

time for healing transformation create our destiny and fate.

All clear and cleanse the heart and mind a voice to light the way

shine instead of whining the mandate of the day.


Tho panic fills the headlines let cooler heads prevail

storms of adversity passing compass of kindness adjust our sail.

Imagination fired up dark clouds we now can clear

knowing deep within our soul there's nothing now to fear.


Light beckons in the clearing stand firm in Truths Divine

drowning out the din of dread love beams brightly shine.

All clear an inner peace takes hold deep breaths a wave of calm

emanates from faith and trust allowing healing balm.

 From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.


"Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" along with all of my books to inspire and uplift you is available on Amazon.




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