Diane’s Book

“If you’re not moved, you don’t have a pulse.”

“An unvarnished account about her hard-won victory; inspirational for those diagnosed with cancer and the loved ones who are trying to understand and help.”

“Her inspiration in this book makes me feel as if I can conquer anything!”

“A must-read—sensitive, honest, no-nonsense, and straightforward. Sad at times and LOL funny at other times.”

During the early days of her cancer diagnosis, Diane became so overwhelmed with her emotions that she started keeping a journal. She captured the smells, sights and sounds of her 16 rounds of chemo followed by two lumpectomy surgeries and 33 daily radiation treatments.

Instead of keeping her inner circle of friends and family informed of her experience via social media, Diane sent e-mail updates. Her updates were shared with others going through similar cancer treatment challenges, and she was encouraged to publish her journal once treatment ended. After working with a writing coach, Diane decided to combine the details of her journal with back-story from her life,, resulting in her new book, The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer, which recently received the Readers’ Favorite Five Star award.


Check out book reviews below:

  • Sandy Neves
    The first word to hit me after I finished reading was "impactful." I laughed and cried, feared and delighted, soul searched and related, and most of all felt so proud of Diane. Frankly, after I was halfway through the book, I was too uneasy to continue because I was too afraid to hear her unvarnished account of the physical and mental hell she was going to share about the months of treatment. I felt a sense of anxiety, so I put the book down for a few weeks. I kept it on my bedside table, and each night I looked at her and Rene on the cover. I already knew the glorious outcome: her survival and healing, her gift of COPE, her champion Rene who remained by her side throughout. One day as I glanced at her and Rene's picture of love on my table, I knew I was missing a huge opportunity to learn more about how to go through and not back away from suffering. So, I began to read again, was hooked and could not put it down. I was impacted by her brutal truth, her humor, her pain, her love and her courage. Weaving fun stories, tales of family, childhood memories, and love and romance between her journal of excruciating physical and mental pain allowed me to recoup my emotions throughout the book. My feelings ventured up and down, and I struggled with what was worse, the mental or the physical pain? By the end it did not matter. What impacted me was the courage it took for Diane to feel and tell all of it. So many of us can privately relate to what she felt beyond the physical, like soul searching, insecurities, anxieties, but it takes a few courageous women like her to reveal it, fight through it and come out on the other side making a difference for ourselves and others.
    Sandy Neves
  • Edith Wairimu
    The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer is Diane’s honest and encouraging account of her journey. She opens up about different aspects of the process and what she felt along the way. Like other survivors, she admits that the whole experience with cancer never goes away. It changes who you are and your outlook on life.

    Diane does not paint a romantic picture of her journey towards healing; she maintains a raw approach. She also includes her bad moments when she felt discouraged or angry. This book is a moving memoir that anyone who has been affected by cancer should consider reading. It is sincere and it is told with a touch of humor.”
    Edith Wairimu
  • Mamta Madhavan
    “This informative memoir will reach out to many women and help them realize how breast cancer can shatter the myth that they know themselves very well until they actually discover themselves. It is a story of grit, determination, courage, mental strength, hope, survival, and recovery.

    The book is unapologetically honest and straightforward, and the author shares all the details of how she battled the ugly disease that turned her world upside down and came out a winner. Her handling of the disease and her life will inspire many women who are struggling to deal with cancer.”
    Mamta Madhavan
  • K.C. Finn
    “Diane confesses an incredible amount of raw personal experience in this emotive and inspirational tale of being at a mid-life stage and suddenly awakening to the reality of mortality and the meaning of life. From the journey of reflection over her first five decades on the planet to the process of treatment for cancer and what happened after it was complete, readers will be drawn into her varied emotions and those around her as she realizes many things about what she terms ‘her true self’.

    As a powerful woman who has had many interesting and influential careers, Diane’s true realizations about success, motivation and inspiration come as she undergoes the cancer treatment process and considers what it might mean if her life is now cut unexpectedly short. The book is well balanced, highly emotive but also not so much that it becomes unreadable, and the inspirational qualities of her story are told in real terms which make them very engaging and almost practical to read about. Overall, The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer is certainly an unlikely gift of a read, and certain to inspire anyone who journeys through it.”
    K.C. Finn
  • Jane Kotsiopulos
    "Diane is an amazingly-talented, creative, introspective, brutally-honest writer. Her sharing of her story will be so helpful to those fighting their own battles, and for their loved ones and caregivers as well. And to those of us who have fought and won the battle, her story brings assurance that we were or are not alone in feeling crazy, weak, and foolish for our doubts or questions. She brought tears to my eyes, made me laugh, gave me insight and challenged me to rethink about how I am living my life. Diane is also an incredibly bright, strong, determined woman who recognized the need for individualized psychological counseling for cancer patients and had the determination to do something about it. Because of her, there is the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE) at the University of Denver—the very FIRST such program at any university in the country. Thank you, Diane, for this book and for ALL you have done to help others with their battles!”
    Jane Kotsiopulos
  • Ellen Dupont
    "Diane’s blog is beautifully written, and so interesting to read."
    Ellen Dupont
  • Christine Benero
    "Searingly honest. Wildly inspirational. Diane M. Simard has captured all the heartache and all the surprising grace that breast cancer brings when it barges into your life. For those of us who have been there, The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer is our story. As Diane discovers herself, she brings us with her. Truly, an unexpected gift."
    Christine Benero
    CEO, Mile High United Way
  • Mary Ann Villarreal, PhD
    “Diane’s writing of her experience drew me in from the moment I started reading, rooting for her, and crying in those moments of anguish when she poisoned her body in hopes for a new day. As a caregiver and a sister, I only witnessed the pain, frustrations, and small wins that my sister experienced during the final 14 months of her life. I applaud Diane’s openness and willingness to tell her story, to offer hope, and to remind us that the fight never ends.”
    Mary Ann Villarreal, PhD
  • Victoria De La Torre
    This moving depiction of battling cancer is both sobering and uplifting. Diane doesn’t hold back in her recounting of every low and high, of each challenge, and of every success. Her compassionate, thoughtful voice guides the reader through her transformative journey and leaves us endeavoring to emulate her courage and her kindness.
    Victoria De La Torre
  • Teri Mingilton
    Diane’s manuscript was educational and insightful on the emotional and physical aspects of cancer. Her use of humor helped when dealing with a very difficult disease. Her insights are helpful in understanding some of what a person with cancer is feeling.
    Teri Mingilton
    Elemintal Photography
  • Writing Coach
    Diane’s book is for successful people who think they know themselves, then get cancer and realize their true selves. It is a breast cancer-centered memoir about waking up in mid-life and learning to lead with your heart instead of your head.
    Writing Coach