Blogging Through Adversity: WhyMommy Susan Niebur and Others Fight Cancer One Word at a Time

BlogHer Original Post

Astrophysicist, mother, and BlogHer extraordinare, Susan Niebur, learned that her cancer had returned this week. So what did she do? She wrote the same as she always does with honesty and a touch of sarcastic humour: "Awesome! I wasn’t really looking forward to BlogHer, swimming lessons and preschool for the kids, and catching up on my sleep." And then, after you snickered, she brought it back to the heart of the matter with a soft, wistful landing: "we gulp, feeling woefully unprepared to know how to fight the cancer."

Susan has been writing about cancer (among other topics such as outings with her kids and all things outer space) since her initial diagnosis with inflammatory breast cancer in 2007 -- including the post about it that has been linked to on hundreds of blogs under the Team WhyMommy label. Go read that post. It might just save your life.

Which is a far cry from the other side of awareness that she has railed against: awareness for solely awareness' sake. Susan is a fighter, an eye-opener, and a protector of women everywhere. She writes eloquently about not only being an advocate for your own health, but to not fall into the easy trap of simply being aware. Take that awareness and run with it--not just for yourself but for all people, everywhere, who are fighting against cancer.

Team WhyMommy is about building a wall of support for a smart and funny woman. It's about getting word out there about women's health in order to protect all women.

Susan isn't the only woman out there blogging about cancer. I started reading cancer bloggers after meeting a few at BlogHer back in 2008. A great starting point for finding cancer bloggers is WhyMommy's brain-child, Mothers with Cancer. Here are 10 bloggers who have made an impact on me:

  • Not Just About Cancer: author, mother, and excellent blogger, I met Laurie at a BlogHer party for speakers at the conference in San Francisco. In addition to so many other things, she writes about her battle with metastatic breast cancer both on her blog and in her book, Not Done Yet.
  • MLO Knitting: a blogger I've read since I started blogging years ago, she was diagnosed almost a year ago with stage 1C ovarian cancer with a grade 3 tumor. This year, her blog turned from books and IVF to books and chemo.
  • The Maybe Baby (Babies): a childhood cancer survivor who writes about trying to build her family after her ovaries were damaged during chemo and radiation, as well as the brief life and death of her daughters, Jovita and Isobel.
  • Just Enjoy Him: an adoption blogger who also happens to be battling breast cancer. I love this recent post as a starting point to her circumspection and intelligence.
  • Never Lose Spirit: overcoming other personal trials in life, she approaches fighting breast cancer with the same grace. A new blog since she was diagnosed only in February.
  • Sprucehill: also writing currently about her recently diagnosed recurrence with breast cancer. Her amazing photography accompanies her words.
  • Clergygirl: one of the most accessible Christian bloggers I know (so says the Jewish girl!), she also writes about her battle against inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Kicked by an Angel: who is funny and sassy whether she is writing an ode to her port or a request for those at concerts to shut-up.
  • Radioactive Girl: a fellow BlogHer and twin mum, she also writes about thyroid cancer.
  • Evil Stepmonster: step-mother, IVF veteran, and now fighting melanoma.

And no list would be complete without a mention of Cancer Baby, whose blog was deleted over a year after her death in 2006. Posts about her live on in the blogosphere to this day, and her wit, talent, and grace are greatly missed.

Feel moved to help Susan fight the good fight? Help keep the work of Team WhyMommy alive by linking to her original blog post about inflammatory breast cancer and ensuring that more people read about this lesser-known form of breast cancer.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her book is Navigating the Land of If.


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