more than my cancer- thoughts on attending the BlogHer conference

July 28, 2008

When I meet someone new, I don’t usually introduce myself by saying, “I’m Laurie and I have cancer.”

In fact, there are many people I know only casually who have no idea that I have ever been through cancer treatment, let alone that I live with metastasis. People tell me all the time how healthy I look and I take pride (somewhat irrationally, I admit) in the fact that I don’t look like a typical “cancer patient.”

Entire days often go by when the word “cancer” does not cross my lips (I would like to say that there are days when it does not cross my mind but that would be a lie). I write about living with cancer but cancer is not my life. And I like it that way.

This year, for the second time, I attended BlogHer, a conference for women bloggers (last year it was in Chicago and this year in San Francisco). The conference sold out this year and there were more than 1,000 women in attendance. For someone who spends a lot of time by myself by choice, this is both an exciting and scary concept.

Meeting that many new people at the same time is always overwhelming. However, this is compounded for me because, at BlogHer, when I introduce myself, I have to lead with the fact that I have cancer.

“I’m Laurie and I blog at Not Just About Cancer. And Mothers With Cancer. And MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com.” You get the idea.

You can read the rest of this post at MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com.

Blogging Communities as a Healing Force

July 19, 2008

Tomorrow afternoon, Laurie, Flutter, LoveBabz, and I will be speaking at a BlogHer panel called “Blogging Communities as a Healing Force.” Susan of Friday Playdate will be moderating the discussion and asking us leading questions. I’ll report back here afterwards and tell you what it was like in the room full of women bloggers. Were they interested? Did they participate? Will they take us seriously and still love our flawed, less-than-perfect selves?

I hope so.

But what I really hope is that we get across one very important message, the message that I needed to hear the most when I was diagnosed and the reason we started this Mothers With Cancer site at all. No matter how dark the forecast, or how crazy the circumstances, you can be sure of this:

You are not alone.

But wait! There’s more. Since the room will be full of blogging women and men, I’m betting that more than one will stop by our site during the session on Saturday to see what we’re all about. This is your chance, ladies … if you have a moment, why not leave a comment here and TELL THEM. Tell them what you want them to hear. Has the blogosphere been a help to you in your cancer fight? Has twitter? Discussion boards or email networks? Does it help you to be a better mom, or a more positive person, or stronger, or simply part of the world when you’re feeling isolated or sick? TELL THEM. We’ll collect comments on this post (and maybe posts from you?) all week, from both bloggers with cancer AND visitors to our site, and I’d love to see some honest truths expressed and new connections made.

I wish you all could be here with us. Please know that whether you’re in chemo this week, not well enough to travel, or simply busy living life with your family, you are all here in my heart.

This session will be dedicated (at least my part of it) to Andrea and Julia, two very brave mommies who the blogosphere lost to cancer this year.