The T-Shirt That Made Me Cry

The Man describes me as a sentimental unsentimentalist. Or, maybe I’m an unsentimental sentimentalist? However you phrase it, he's right. When it comes to my personal relationships, I’m incredibly sappy. (Why, yes, I’m the girl who is tearing up in the card aisle at CVS after finding the perfect card for a loved one!) On the other hand, I view many things, including pregnancy, pragmatically. That is, until I put on a t-shirt.

“What t-shirt caused me to have tears streaming down my face?”

The Survivor T-Shirt for the Komen Global Race for the Cure.

Several of my friends and I have participated in the walk for the past several years. However, I haven’t raised money for Susan G. Komen since the Planned Parenthood debacle. My tolerance for linking the cause to all things pink has also waned. Nonetheless, I’ve felt it important to register and walk with my breast cancer sisters and other supporters of the cause.

This year’s walk was held on May 11th, which was a rainy day in Washington, DC. I deferred to one of my best friends who has lost far too much to this disease as to whether we would actually brave the walk or just meet for brunch after. She chose to bypass the rain and focus on brunch.

When I awoke on the morning of the 11th, I decided that I would walk my own 5K down to the National Mall for the closing ceremonies, then to brunch and then back home. I put on the survivor shirt that Komen sent me and went into the bathroom to finish getting ready. The walk happened to coincide with the week that my belly had finally grown past my boobs. As I looked in the mirror, I noticed that the first three letters in survivor hugged against my baby bump.

I proceeded to cry…hard. I cried for all that had transpired in the less than three years since my diagnosis. I cried for what I had lost, but far more importantly, I cried for what I had gained. I cried for the fact that not only had I survived, but I was giving birth in less than three weeks! Despite all the odds, my body was doing something normal and healthy!

I dried my tears, finished applying my makeup and headed down to the Mall. I found myself beaming and actually embracing my growing belly with pride. I lost count of the number of smiles, looks of surprise and comments that I received. My smile got progressively bigger with each "Oh My God!" and "Wow!" that I heard!

At a recent conference for Young Survivors, attendees to a session on fertility were told to expect that they would never get pregnant. Maybe they won’t. But, it’s worth spreading the word about organizations such as Fertile Action devoted to helping women preserve their fertility before they start treatment. And, it’s worth believing in miracles since they do happen despite all odds! The fact that my daughter is asleep in my arms while I type is proof of that!

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