I’m currently working as a writer covering public health, cancer prevention and survivorship, new breast cancer research (including mets) and more for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle. Before that, I worked as a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, humor, lifestyle and singles issues, regularly contributing to NBCnews.com (formerly MSNBC); TODAY.com; MSN.com, CNN.com and several national and local print publications.
From 2007 to 2009, I wrote a humor column about the single life for the now-defunct daily newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (best gig ever). I’ve also published a couple of books, How to Date in Post-Dating World and Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. More info about my writing (and links to my work) can be found at dianemapes.net.
In February 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer (invasive lobular carcinoma, or ILC, in both breasts) and underwent a double mastectomy two months later. I spent that summer doing chemotherapy (my cocktail was taxotere and cytoxan), followed by seven weeks of near-daily radiation treatments. I finished my breast cancer treatment with one last “rads” blast on November 8, 2011. Since I was diagnosed with ER+/PR+/HER2- breast cancer (the most common kind), I’m taking tamoxifen, an effective targeted treatment that suppresses estrogen, which my particular cancer feeds on. As of this update (July 11, 2016), I’ve been on it for nearly five years. My onc will be switching me to an AI (aromatase inhibitor) as soon as my body is ready.
It took about two years and four surgeries to do it, but I’m currently rocking a new set of reconstructed breasts. I lost some bits in the process due to complications and my chest often feels like I’ve got a couple of cereal bowls behind the muscle, but for the most part, I’m pretty happy with the new girls. Mostly, I’m happy to be done with surgeries and to be out of treatment. And to be healthy, or as we say in Cancerland, to be NED (no evidence of disease).
I’m also happy to be doing what I can to help others who are just starting down this lousy road. I started this blog shortly after my diagnosis as a way to make some sense out of the cancer crap I was going through. Hopefully, something here will speak to you or answer a question or maybe just help you know that you are most certainly not alone. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the ride.