In 2006, after a routine mammogram, Grammy award-winning musician Sheryl Crow was told she had breast cancer.
The “If It Makes You Happy” singer changed her habits and started making self-care a priority.
Now, more than a decade later, the singer-songwriter reflects on some of the techniques she used to get through a very low point in her life.
An unexpected diagnosis
Crow, who started her career as a backup singer for Michael Jackson and Rod Stewart, has been an influential entertainer in the music industry since the early 1990’s. To date, the nine time Grammy award-winning recording artist has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
At 44 years of age, Crow was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Fortunately, it was in the early stages and treatable. The mother of two had a minimally invasive lumpectomy in both breasts to remove the cancerous tissue. She also had to receive radiation for seven weeks as part of her treatment plan.
The successful musician told People she was shocked to find out she had cancer, saying, “I was extremely, and still am, very healthy, very athletic and fit. I just didn’t think I would be a candidate at all.”
Sheryl Crow learned to slow down and practice self-care
Crow, who is now 59 years old, told Health that she learned a lot from her diagnosis, explaining that it taught her to make self-care a priority. The singer-songwriter said, “Women are overachievers. We take care of the people around us while we work and do a thousand other things.”
She added that women battling cancer must “learn how to put on their oxygen mask first before putting it on anyone else.”
In remission for more than a decade, Crow is passionate about staying involved in a community that encourages women to put their own health first. She is a strong advocate for using meditation as a healing technique.
The country singer recalls being overwhelmed by her cancer diagnosis. She explained, “Our brain is so overactive, and it’s been programmed to judge everything.”
Crow now practices daily meditation, saying, “It definitely does help in stopping the constant overload of brain stimulation that is constantly telling us where our shortcomings are, where we’re failing.”
She has also found that meditation helps her to practice patience while being compassionate towards others. In addition to keeping her mind clear, Crow has cut dairy products from her diet and eats mostly gluten-free meals. She also uses a rowing machine to stay physically fit.
Remembering to breathe
Crow admits that she learned a lot from her battle with cancer. When her treatment was completed, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by buying a horse farm in Nashville. She adopted her first child in 2007, and in 2010 adopted another son, fulfilling her dreams of being a mother.
The “All I Want to Do” singer has partnered with Genius 3D Mammography to encourage women to schedule regular mammogram screenings. Crow was surprised when she found out she had breast cancer since she has no family history and was very healthy.
She wants women to understand that there is no excuse for not making their own health a priority. In the interview with Health, Crow said, “I say to women who want to put it off: It can be the difference in having a minimal treatment or having chemo or worse than that – the risk of it being fatal.”
Crow is quick to point out that women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis need to remember, “Don’t stop breathing.” She says that “the only way to keep yourself in your body…is to remember to breathe.”
In 2019, the singer-songwriter announced that Threads would most likely be her last album.