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Single Shot gets double whammied

As some of you may have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new on this blog. Part of the radio silence was because I was really busy with my writing; in addition to my usual freelance assignments, I started working on a novel.  

But in February of this year, I was sidetracked with something else: breast cancer.

I don’t know if breast cancer and the single life are all that intertwined —  there are plenty of studies regarding breast cancer and age, ethnicity, geographic location, etc., but nothing on marital status — but I thought I might as well start posting a few of my thoughts and stories on the subject. What the heck, it’s my blog.  ; )

But first a few vitals for those who might be interested.  After finding a weird “tuck” on my left breast, I went for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound on February 4, 2011 and was told I had three tumors in my two breasts. A needle biopsy the following week found yet another tumor. On February 11, my radiologist called to tell me all of the tumors were positive for invasive lobular carcinoma. On February 18, I met with my surgeon for the first time and she told me I would need a double mastectomy (talk about a bad first date). After two very rough months, that took place on April 18. 

While at first my surgeon thought I might be able to get away with “just” the double mastectomy and hormone therapy (i.e., tamoxifen for the next five years),   more fun awaited me when the post-surgery pathology report came back. Due to the size of the tumors (the “two” tumors in my left breast were actually one) and some minor lymph node involvement (again on the left side), I was told I would need further treatment.

So what did I do with my summer vacation?  Chemo, which is not nearly as much fun as it seemed on Sex and the City. I had four infusions total — my particular cocktail was taxotere and cytoxan — with my last infusion taking place August 8.  Chemo was every three weeks with only the first week being the really bad one. But it does wear a body down, so much so that by the time I was done, I could barely walk up the four flights of stairs to my apartment without stopping to rest about eight times. Thankfully, after a few weeks’ recuperation, I was up and running again – literally. At this point, I’ve been able to kick all of the chemo side effects to the curb (except for the hair loss, grrrr) and am halfway through radiation. Woo hoo!

So that’s the scoop on that.  As for the single life – particularly life as a single woman with breast cancer — I’m doing a series of stories on the subject for Today/MSNBC.com. I’ll post them as they go live. And I look forward to any questions you might have about this whole breast cancer thing, which I’m personally trying to treat like a really bad case of the mumps.

That’s it for now. Cheers to you all and thanks for reading.

Here’s the scoop …

Welcome to my official online emporium. I’m Diane Mapes, a Pacific Northwest native and fulltime freelance writer.

Some of you may know me from my Single Shot columns in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Others may know my byline from MSNBC.com, CNN.com, The Seattle Times, or any number of other publications, local and national. Incredibly, I’ve amassed about 200 published clips in the last few years. And two books.  No wonder my fingers are killing me! 

Most recently, I’ve been covering the health, lifestyle and singles “beat,” writing about everything from compulsive hoarding to hot-or-not dating sites, spelunking to singles’ rights, embalming to uncombable hair syndrome (check out the Clips section for links).

Like most writers, though, I’m versatile.  I also do a fair amount of copywriting.  And I teach, too, primarily on how to break into publishing. My classes are usually held up at Richard Hugo House; I also offer one-on-one private coaching by arrangement.

Don’t know that this site is going to be a blog in the traditional sense. But I will be posting links to new stories, throwing out the occasional bit of social commentary and perhaps talking about some of the topics I’m currently writing about. Like cutaneous horns, for instance, which grow on people. And not just on their heads but everywhere you can imagine. Yes, there, too.

I’ll post the link when the piece goes live. In the meantime, let me know if you’ve got a story that needs telling. It’s sort of what I live for.


What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My beats include health (with an emphasis on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship) and lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to stories, praise for my writing (*blush*) and the odd bit of social commentary about the single life. Also here, a few shameless plugs for my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

Oh! And if you're looking for my breast cancer blog, go to Double_Whammied

Check out my books!

How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

Single State of the Union
Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Follow me on Twitter!

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