Monday, May 12, 2008


My real name is not Dr. Smak.

One day, right before I started this blog, my kids got raucous laughter out of calling me Mama Smak. We all had goofy names that day, I don't remember anyone else's, and I'm not even sure where mine came from. But I was trying to think of a good name for my blog, and it worked.

I started blogging to explore my life as a doctor. Being a doctor is, in many ways, very cool. You get to do cool stuff, you get to make a difference in people's lives, and you get paid pretty well for doing it. I love my job.

And to blog about my job, my highs and lows, laughter and tears, was fun. But I wanted to do it anonymously, for a number of reasons. The biggest was probably that I wanted to tell patient stories, and when you work in a very small town the way I do, many small details are recognizable to many people. And even if I changed patient information to disguise patients, I was afraid it would be easy in a small town to be the focus of misidentification. I also wanted the opportunity to be my casual, unprofessional self. If I want to let the blogosphere know how hilarious my celebrity boob twin is (pictured above), I don't want it to come up the next day in the exam room (not that it's happened already).

Henry's illness obviously changed my life, and changed my blog. Instead of cute stories, snarky comments, and medical news my readers are now subjected to the trials of life with a kid with cancer. Frankly, I'm surprised so many of you have hung on. I know this isn't exactly light entertaining reading anymore.

And I'm far from anonymous at this point. I've shown the blog to many friends and relatives. There are a number of easy ways for me to be 'found out', and I'm sure there are some real life readers I don't know about. Which doesn't really bother me. Actually, I'm much more protective of my Dr. Smak persona than my real one. What I am able to write on this blog is so much more naked, more raw than what I can express in my real life, except to my closest friends and family. A lot of people don't want to hear this stuff. And there are a lot of people, in my "real" life, I can think of whom I wouldn't want to read it.

What a strange new outlet, these blogs. Why does it help me to communicate my pain and confusion with people I don't know? For whatever reason, it does. So thank you again, to my readers, for giving me this outlet.


TBTAM said...

I , too, think a lot about my (relative) annonimity and what it brings to the blog. And I. too, feel very attached to my blog persona, who is, I think, a better and more complete version of myself than I would be if I were non-anonymous.

My pseudonym - I think I'll keep her.

Dr. Smak said...

One long night in the hospital I listened to your archived interview with Dr. A, TBTAM. Your conversation about your pseudonym got me thinking a lot about my own!!

Rach said...

I was actually thinking about tthe issue of blogging anonymously... so thanks for the food for thought!

Anonymous said...

I never comment because I really don't have anything relevant to add. But I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for your writing.

Your honesty, your humility, your courage, and your gentle humor have touched me very deeply.

My thought life is richer because you are in it.

Thank you.

SOCKS said...

WHEW - I thought it was "good-bye" to Dr Smak the way this post was going.

So glad it isn't - - -

Anonymous said...

I feel just like Socks! hlnc