Will you ever forgive me?

When I started blogging, I decided very consciously to blog anonymously.  I would sit at my desk each day, putting words to paper, confident that the words on this blog, about my children and the everyday activities of raising little kids to be smart, curious, creative big kids, would remain a separate activity from my work-self, who was poised to go back to work any minute.

Boy, was I wrong!  This blog has taken over a good part of my life and eventually become a chronicle of my fight with breast cancer.  It has occupied many (too many?) of my waking thoughts and been an oasis in busy days of appointments and tasks, as well as in quiet days of rest and cuddles.  It has become more than an “it.”  It has become a “you.”

And that’s why I decided to “come out” and use my real name in the media interviews broadcast yesterday and published today.  Because you encourage me so much, I want to give back and help the next woman who might be wondering about some funny symptoms.  Who might be thinking about calling the doctor, but putting it off.  Who knows that something “just isn’t right” but is so busy taking care of others that she forgets to take care of herself. 

I started talking.  First here, then elsewhere, and then to reporters.  And now people are listening.  But there’s one detail that is itching the back of my brain for which I need to ask your forgiveness.

I’ve blogged as WhyMommy.  I’ve emailed you as Sam.  Neither of those are my real name.  Now that you know my real name, and more about me, and you’ve seen videos of my awkward, cancerous self in action, I need to know something … will you ever forgive me for not sharing it all before?


83 Responses to Will you ever forgive me?

  1. eslocura says:

    I don’t really care what your name is, I understand the need for not having full disclosure, what matters is your message and the courage with which you have chosen to share your experience. Kudos to you for the being the fabulous woman you are! whatever your name is : )

  2. ~JJ! says:

    Are you kidding?

    A small detail like your name isn’t ever going to stop me from caring about you and your family.

    You could be “Joe Schmoe from Idao” and I’d still be thinking of you every day….

    You have shared more with us than most best friends share in a lifetime…Your name, while it makes you more ‘real’ now….would never change the way I feel about you.

    You should be proud of all the names you have uesd here and “IRL”…

    Sharing your name now, just means that you are opening up to us even more…how could we not love you for that.

  3. Dawn says:

    As long as your name isn’t “I think Dawn’s kid is ugly and stupid” because you legally changed it to that just to hurt my feelings, I’m pretty sure we’re cool 🙂

  4. Stimey says:

    As a matter of fact, I think I may just start referring to you as “Joe Schmoe from Idaho.” You know I love you no matter what!

  5. Sarah says:

    You’re amazing and we loved you before we knew your name.

  6. You weren’t awkward at all – you were fantastic, and you are beautiful, and I loved seeing you with your boys.

    I never minded not knowing your name but now that I do… well, it’s just a nice feeling.

    You did a great job with Fox news.

  7. Vanessa says:

    What is there to forgive you for? That you wanted to make sure your children were safe? That you wanted to protect your family and your privacy? There is no need to ask for forgiveness for looking out for your family. A rose by any other name is just as sweet, and we love and support you whether you’re Whymommy, Sam, Poopsie or Oscar!

  8. Nancy says:

    Nothing to forgive. Lots of us use some form of anonymity or pseudonyms in the blog world.

    Sending you positive vibes regarding your meeting today.

  9. WorksForMom says:

    You. are. amazing. I just watched the Fox clip – awesome! Good luck today, I’m sending positive virtual vibes your way.

  10. Love the video! You are just as wonderful on film as you are on your blog. As for the name, well I can’t remember my own some days. 😉

  11. Meleah says:

    My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor for almost 20 years now and her name is Susan, as well. As always, thank you for your bravery and honesty and thank you for sharing.

  12. mommyof5 says:

    My gosh, don’t even give it a second thought! It’s your decision whether or not to share you’re real name. You owe absolutely NO apologies.

    That was a FANTASTIC interview. Good for you!

  13. You have given us all so much of yourself… your “real” name matters not one whit.

    To my girlies and me, you will always be known as “Amazing”.

    And “Wonderful”.


    Because that’s who you are, Susan.

    xoxo CGF

  14. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”
    It doesn’t matter what you’re calling yourself at all, you are still you and you rock.
    And you looked anything but awkward on the news–you were confident and endearing and intelligent and you don’t look sick at all. You looked good…and I like that khaki newsboy hat, too!

  15. Oh you! Really. A rose by any other names smells as sweet. 🙂

    Who among us doesn’t understand?

    And you know the love all around you.

    You look and sound awesome in every interview: relaxed, confident, and intelligent.

    BTW the tan hat? I have its plaid cousin. 🙂

    Using My Words

  16. Spacemom says:

    OH Silly YOU! Of course!
    You don’t think my husband is really called Jay, do you? (although I do use my real first name on my blog)

    Besides, in science you KNOW how easy it is to google…

    On a side note:To be honest, I am always surprised that women don’t know about IBC… I have known about it for several years. I am not even sure when I first heard of it…
    I am SO GLAD you are coming forward and letting others know about it!

  17. I believe that I was lead to your blog several months ago, after watching Crazy Sexy Caner last weekend with my 17 year old daughter, she did her first SBE that following Tuesday, when I got home she told me that she found something. I took her to the Doctor’s last Thursday who assured me that it was probably just a cyst. Well yesterday I took her for an ultra sound and they said that it was not a cyst, it is a tumor. So today they referred her to a surgeon. She’s 17… isn’t that too young.

    Your words are very encouraging, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t share your name.

  18. Joanna says:

    Absolutely!! That goes without any consideration – I blog relatively anonomously – I do use my kids names, but I am starting to, less so. I would love to use acronyms, but I never started out that way. I respect the anonymity thing entirely, but you are creating something educational here. It is evolving probably beyond what you ever expected – you go woman! I am utterly proud of you and what you are doing for people in educating about this disease. What a spectacular woman you are, as WM, Susan, or whatever other pen name you so choose to use :).

  19. practiceliving says:

    Don’t even worry about this!

    Protecting your kiddos comes first. A prayer for WhyMommy is just as effective as a prayer for you in your real name.

  20. NoRegrets says:

    It’s an evolution. You’ve been evolving, and this is the latest incarnation. So, just want to say, Hi There Susan! Nice to meet you.

  21. Stephanie says:

    Don’t worry about it. I think we all understand this issues that being online can cause and not wanting your real identity out there. I applaud you for “coming out” and sharing yourself with all of us. I feel you’ve been very open and honest regardless of the names you’ve been using!

    Sending prayers and love from one stranger to another!

  22. PunditMom says:

    What’s to forgive?

  23. Jenny says:

    What a great story on Fox! It’s nice to know a name to put to the face. 🙂

  24. mayberry says:

    Oh my gosh, no worries at all. I think often about whether I should just “come out” and use my real name, too.

  25. magpie says:

    Nothing to forgive. You rock.

  26. Gill says:

    No apologies needed! It’s who you are that matters, not what you call yourself. I watched the clip on the net and thought you did a GREAT job on the Fox interview, you were marvellous!

  27. Anta says:

    As Jessica and Julie already said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. You are that rose, and your WhyMommy pseudonym makes you smell just as sweet.

  28. Ree says:

    Forgive you? What in the world is there to forgive? One day I may lose the “Ree” and “Hotfessional” masks – I certainly hope people won’t hold them against me. You’ll always be very special to me, whether you’re WhyMommy, Sam, Susan, or Snuffleupagus

  29. Linda Lawrence says:

    Wonderful! Now I can reveal that I am Aunt Linda!

    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

  30. twithhoney says:

    As others have said, there is nothing to forgive. Listing details about your personal information on the internet is a scary thing. Something I haven’t done with my blog and I’m not sure if I ever will.

    You revealed your identity for a great cause and I admire your inner strength in doing so.

  31. KillerBoob says:

    I see I don’t need to tell you “fuggitaboudit”. Your anonimity is your choice, and you’re very brave to have “come out”. We apprecaite the thought that it surely took for that decision!

  32. i think it’s very admirable that you’ve decided to reveal your true identity (hey, you sound like a super hero and you are one!), and spread your story and message. i think fox’s story was great.

  33. ohthejoys says:

    Forgive you? Girl, we LOVE you. We thank you. We need you.

    That news piece made me cry.

    PROUD to know you.

  34. Matt says:

    All those names don’t chnage the fact that you are a special, unique individual who is doing much to help save the lives of other women. But, you gotta know – Team Whymommy is much catchier than Team Susan (Heh).

  35. Mary says:

    The news video was great and you have such cute little boys.

    I have always used my real name and location online but with a name like Mary Johnson I’m not too worried about someone being able to track me down. It certainly didn’t matter to me that you chose not to publish your real before this.

    I hope the appointment with the surgeon went OK yesterday. Two of my sisters have fought breast cancer and had bilateral mastectomies. Luckily, they’re both doing well.

  36. Phoenix says:

    Oh girl, of course we forgive you. In fact, it really doesn’t matter. That’s the great thing about the internet, it doesn’t matter who we are, just what we right.

    But hey, since you were brave enough to share, I will too. Hi Susan, I’m Melissa. Nice to meet you. 🙂

  37. Qutecowgirl says:

    I think you you were wonderful!! You did great and hope you the best.

    I also think that you are one of the bravest people I know.

  38. brandy says:

    I am relatively new around here, but it appears there is nothing to forgive! 🙂

    I watched the news story, and it was awesome. I literally had the urge to lift up my shirt an examine my breasts right here (don’t worry, I’m at home!). It brought tears to my eyes. Your boys are very lucky. They have a very strong, brave mama.

  39. kami says:

    You are always so worried about others…one of the wonderful things about you. Never even crossed my mind to be offended you weren’t “out.” So proud of all you’ve accomplished. The news coverage was fantastic…you glamorously famous women you! You look great btw.

  40. Robin says:

    There is nothing to forgive. How could there be.

    Your writing and your stories have already given you a face, whichever name you use. It is lovely to meet the “real” you though.

  41. Colleen says:

    You mean your name isn’t really Whymommy? haha!

    Seeing the video is so wonderful. Has is sunk in yet just how many people you are getting to? I think you are surpassing the goals you set up for yourself.

  42. Two Shews says:

    Have I told you lately that you are an amazing womam? Even worrying about such a thing? Who gives a crap who’s offended, if any?!? We totally don’t matter other than being your fan club. Stop worrying, and keep kicking cancer’s ass!

  43. Lindsey says:

    I liked the above – a rose by any other name still smells as sweet.

    We understand.

  44. Jacquie says:

    What matters most is the knowledge you are getting out there! Whether it be as WM or Susan, either way you are making a difference in someones life.

  45. Anne says:

    I totally understand. I’m a lurker… I think I’ve only commented once. But I read your blog daily…and I am keeping you and your family in your prayers. Oh…and because of you, I went for my first mammogram yesterday. My doc told me to go over a year ago and I’ve been putting off. No more putting off. And hey… it was easy and didn’t even hurt! I had been scared for no reason. Thank you for what you are doing for other women…I know your writing will save lives.

  46. I don’t believe our souls have names. Blogging has made me believe in souls again.

  47. Danielle says:

    Sam, WhyMommy, Susan,

    Your story hasn’t changed and I don’t see you as a different person, knowing your real name. I still see that you are a caring individual fighting a brave fight for her life and her family. I admire you.

  48. Imstell says:

    Ha! I only wish I had been savvy enough to change MY name before I started posting all about my personal life to the blogosphere. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to track someone down these days… but look who I’m telling. Snicker.

  49. Andamom says:

    I think it is beyond wonderful that you are sharing as much as you are — as WhyMommy or as Toddler Planet Mom or anyone else…. Really, we also post with various names — and some people share more than others. For me, it has been a constant struggle over how much to reveal to the entire world. I wonder about people tracking me down — or bothering my kids. There are ways to figure out obviously – but it is still a struggle.

  50. Jeff Kuchar says:

    Just a note to let you know we are praying for you.We lost our mom to IBC on July 2nd. She too had never heard of this disease. We thank you for being the voice to let others know abot IBC. Take care and love those babies.
    Thinking of you
    The Kuchar Family
    Groves, Texas

  51. coolbeans says:

    We share what we want and need to share when it’s right for us. It is nice to know your name, but I never thought it strange you didn’t tell us sooner.

  52. bs honey says:


  53. Carrie says:

    I can’t believe the great work you have been doing on this! And there is nothing wrong with being anon in the beginning and then changing your mind – it’s your deal and not one anyone should be judging. Half the bloggers I met at the Seattle Mom Blogs event used aliases, no biggie.

    I can’t even begin to express how in awe I am of ALL that you are doing for yourself, your family and other women who need education about IBS. You truly are a hero.

    Now, off to check you out, in real life! 🙂

  54. margaret says:

    Knowing your name doesn’t change who you are are why we visit you.

    BTW, I’m sending people your way today.

  55. […] Planet, “Will you ever forgive me?” Because WhyMommy is revealing her true […]

  56. clifford says:

    Susanna, I suspect the LIVES you could save with those interviews & media coverage are worth any potentially fallout from giving them.

    Bravo. I so admire people who fight back.

  57. Bon says:

    nothing to forgive, friend. congrats on coming out. your courage makes me proud to know you.

  58. You could have never known all of this was going to happen.
    Now I just have to remember your real name, and you have to deal with a lot of “Now what’s your name again dear?”
    I’m so glad your voice is getting out there.

  59. QofS says:

    Considering what I am going through, I think the need and want to be annon is very legit to consider when you start off. I think you are brave for telling us, even though you didn’t have too!

  60. Leeanthro says:

    You are one of the bravest people I “know.”

    I loved the Fox News video because I was finally able to put a real person with the blog. Watching you and your boys made it all the more real for me. And I thank you again for being a voice of cancer.

    And what beautiful boys you have!

  61. oh, and like we are, every single one of us, using our exact real names?

  62. Sara says:

    What information to share online is totally a personal decision and I would never judge anyone for what they did or did not choose to share. Regardless of your name I appreciate your choosing to share your story and experiences with us and I keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  63. Jenn says:

    Your name is irrelevant.

    It was always your soul, sister.

    Always your soul.

  64. Danielle says:

    I guess I’m the one dissenter that is pissed off!!!

    I’ve just told Mr.Husband, #1 son, Middle child and little girl that I’m never reading this blog again. NEVER!

    Because your families safety no way compares with my need to know your first name. No way!


  65. Mrs. Chicken says:

    You are you no matter the alias or the true name. Your self, your soul, shines through. So shine on, friend, shine on.

  66. Damselfly says:

    You silly. Your name or pseudonym doesn’t make a difference. You are brave either way.

  67. I just watched the news story… WOW! You are just amazing! So selfless, especially in a time when you have absolutely every right, heck – may even be expected, to be selfish. Yet, you worry if we would be upset at you for choosing to be anonymous. We love you and pray for you no matter what you call yourself.

    You are awesome!!!

  68. canape says:

    Damn. And I thought your real name was Buffy.

  69. Dear Buffy – Whateeeeeva! 🙂 – Amy

  70. Leigh says:

    Awww, come on – you know nobody uses their real names on these things! We’d all be stalked!
    Seriously, your interview totally rocked – you are incredible!!!

  71. I’m so proud of you. You know that we all think you are so brave but I believe in my heart taht even if you had not been struck with IBC you are a strong, brave woman. Sometimes we just don’t have to speak of our weaknesses and strengths as much when we don’t have a reason. To most of us you are still Whymommy because thats how we see you. It is so nice to see the side of you that we don’t see in the blog or someone elses prospective of you too. We are so proud of you and thank you for giving us that glimps into your life.

  72. Char says:

    Your news interview was fabulous, and you were so brave to disclose your entire name. However what’s in a name? It’s all about who you are on the inside, and what kind of person you are. I wish you well in your upcoming dr’s appt. Hopefully it’ll be good news!

  73. Ally says:

    I agree with the other commenters that it doesn’t matter to me if you revealed your name or not. I understood your reason for remaining WhyMommy for a long time, and your reason for “coming out” now. Great job on the interviews, by the way. You look lovely, and sound smart. 🙂

  74. motherofbun says:

    No need to ask for forgiveness. There was nothing to forgive! Whether a blogger uses their real name or not? Totally up to them.

    Saw the newscast and it was so great to hear your voice and see your mannerisms and your smile. (You have an amazing smile, woman!) You’re so well spoken. You did beautifully.

    I had to laugh when I saw what looks like a John Deere tractor. (Your youngest was next to it at one point.) A gift from someone in a certain Illinois small town perhaps? 🙂

    P.S. Can I e-mail Candace the link? I’m sure she’d LOVE to see it. (My sis-in-law who’s related to you and the hubby?)If not, that’s ok. I understand.

  75. Totally understand your need for a “nom de plume.” I actually took a cue from you when I decided to blog as Lynn (my first name) instead of using my full name. By the way, now that you are “out,” I’m so happy that you posted a photo of you and Little Bear. It is nice to see your face on the blog. And back to a point I made earlier about Hollywood eventually buying the rights to your story, now that I’ve seen your photo, I’m banking on Julia Roberts (maybe too old?) or Reese Witherspoon to portray you! What fun you’ll have with them at the Awards shows! Now that will be something to blog about!! — Lynn

  76. Esme says:

    Nothing to forgive! I’m grateful that you’ve chosen to share so much of yourself with all of us, no matter what name you use… thank you. YOu are an inspiration.

  77. fizzledink says:

    Oh my goodness – as a fellow anonymous blogger, I know that it’s not easy to decide how much of yourself to share when you start out in the blogosphere. This is a new layer of your story here – and it’s not a deception or a betrayal or anything that needs forgiving. If anything, I bet most of your friends and readers just feel that much closer to you now.

    (And, for what it’s worth, you looked beeeee-you-ti-ful in your interview and you sounded great, and your boys are precious.)

  78. whymommy says:

    You are all so sweet … I feel so much better about the decision now.

  79. b*babbler says:

    You should never apologize!

    Your interview was amazing. I think you’re incredibly brave to put yourself out there, revealing yourself and your name in the fight against IBC.

  80. urban urchin says:

    you could call yourself gorilla bananapants and it wouldn’t matter one tiny bit. It’s your right to blog under an assumed name. You post pics of your kids and talk about your family- it’s natural to want to protect them (it’s not their blog after all)

  81. It’s no big deal to me. What matters is you are helping to spread the word about cancer, fighting cancer, about living..

  82. whymommy says:

    Gorilla Bananapants. Is he the one that is always stealing bananas in the Richard Scarrey books? Or is he related to Joe Schmo from Idaho?

  83. ggirl says:

    Of course…we love you and admire your courage. Especially those who choose to remain anonymous. You’ve given us all a great gift with your openness. Thank you.

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