The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Photo courtesy of NMU WellBeing
A Q&A with WellBeing
Rachel PottDecember 4, 2023

Michigan senator’s wife releases new book

Diane Casperson, an Upper Peninsula resident and wife of Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Mich., has released a new book called “New Breast Friends: Surviving Cancer, Twice,” detailing her fight with breast cancer not once, but twice.

According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women will have a form of breast cancer at some point in their lives. Rosemary Magidsohn, an NMU freshman nursing major, understands this; two of her aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer.

“[My aunt] went through six rounds of chemotherapy and 37 rounds of radiation. On her last day of treatment, my other aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Magidsohn said.

Magidsohn has seen the ugly side of cancer, the one not many have. She describes how cancer is about “not being able to eat anything because the thought of food makes you want to vomit” or “sitting out because you don’t have the energy to go in.”

Story continues below advertisement

She said that it was difficult to see both of her aunts, women who were both strong and independent, become weak and dependent upon others.

“Attitude is everything. A good support system is key,” Magidsohn said. “And don’t let cancer define you. Instead, define yourself by how you fight cancer.”

Casperson too, talks about how she battled her cancer. She praises her family for their support but her statement also correlates with what Magidsohn says.

“I live with cancer but I don’t let it control me,” Casperson said. “I think you keep up your fight because you have to, for your husband and children, your friends and family. You don’t want to think of the future without you in it.”

Casperson was 39 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer and then again in 2006. She gets personal in her book, saying that she wants to “invite women to get behind my front door.”

She talks about some of her experiences while she was battling cancer, including one of her worst.

“I stood in front of the mirror and had a very surreal moment with no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, no body hair to speak of and I was pale and sickly. I broke down in front of the mirror,” Casperson said. “I said ‘wow, I’m a cancer patient.’”

Casperson said she didn’t focus on that.

“We’re human,” she said. “We have highs and lows.”

Casperson has been cancer-free for five years now, an important mark in the cancer world. She says that she is thankful for the time she’s been given, especially when she watched her daughter walk down the aisle. She said it was what inspired her to write her story.

“After the wedding, I was overcome with emotion, that I was just so incredibly thankful to witness the day, that I didn’t think I would be around for some of my children’s milestones,” Casperson said. “So out of my thankfulness of being alive to witness the day, I thought it was time to get it on paper.”

Casperson wrote the book with help from her daughter’s mother-in-law, Cynthia Wakefield.

Casperson said she had thought for years of writing a book, but nothing came into play until the two were planning the wedding.

“I happened to have an interest in writing and I hadn’t done it for several years and I said, ‘I have some time and if you’re serious about getting this down on paper, then I would love to help you with [it],’” Wakefield said.

Wakefield and Casperson wrote the book, which is available on Amazon, through sessions when they would get together and work out a couple pages at a time.

Sometimes Casperson would record her thoughts, or they would use some of her entries she had written while fighting cancer.

“There were many times during the writing of the book, where we went from laughing to the next minutes crying because it is such an emotional thing to go through,” Wakefield said. “Any kind of trauma, but especially someone that you care about, hearing about their struggles and just what it does to them physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

Wakefield said part of the appeal of the book is that Casperson is such a relatable person.

The first line on the back of the book states, “I’m not famous but unfortunately cancer is,” and Wakefield agrees with this.

“Often times the stories we hear about, they are famous and it’s difficult to relate to them because their lives seem so different from ours or privileged compared to ours,” Wakefield said. “Diane’s story is personal. She’s just like you and me and everybody.”

More to Discover