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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Small thing/Big thing

Today I did a small thing that felt like a big thing.

Today I held the pole on the PATH train with my left hand.

Why is this important? What does a hand have to do with a breast? Well the hand, and even more so the arm, have a lot to do with the pectoralis.The muscle that's been cut, stretched, radiated, and then cut and stretched some more over the last year and a half.

I first grabbed the steel pole with my right, like usual. And then thought, no. As the fingers of my left hand curled around it, I had flashes of hard stops and wild turns that would throw me around the car, tearing and damaging the delicate muscles on my left as I hung on. Seats opened up at the other end of the car, but they were taken before I could move.

I remembered how, in between surgeries last summer, my surgeon told me to keep my hand in my pocket. "Don't use it for anything, not even typing," he cautioned, for fear of opening the delicate incision on my chest. I was one enthusiastic gesticulation away from having to wear a restraint. I followed instructions, but the wound re-opened anyway.

I held the pole low, because even though I've recently regained my ability to raise my hand up high, the way I would in school when I knew the answer better than anyone else, I am afraid to. Afraid of violence from outside, afraid of how to hold on. Of how holding on could hurt me.

These thoughts distracted me from my book. All I could do was stare at my wrist, my thumb. What is supposed to be my dominate hand, made timid.

The ride was smooth, and nothing happened. Of course. Sometimes it's hard to know when you might be okay.

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