Sheryl Crow: 7 Things That Having Breast Cancer Taught Me

Sheryl CrowPhoto Credit: Warner Bros Music
Sheryl Crow is a survivor—a breast cancer survivor. The rocker was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2006, and beat it; she has now been living cancer-free for the past ten years. That said, she’s doing her part to help others beat the disease. This month from Oct. 3 to 13 in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the 54-year-old singer has partnered for a second time with eBay for Charity to support cancer research. In the last year alone, eBay for Charity helped to raise over $92 million globally, and to date, has raised more than $650 million. More than 100 items from Sheryl’s closet will be available to bidders, including dresses, skirts, blouses, pants, hats and more; 100% of the proceeds will go to Stand Up To Cancer. Since Stand Up To Cancer was founded in May 2008, over 160 clinical trials have been planned, initiated, or completed by SU2C scientists, in which more than 9,000 patients have participated.SU2C’s mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and, as a result, save lives. You can bid on Crow’s clothing here. In the meantime, check out the lessons the singer—now a happy mother, living in Nashville—learned from having breast cancer—and realize that some stories can have a happy ending.
  1.  I learned that early detection saves lives. I feel very lucky that my diagnosis was caught so early which meant I had minimal treatment. I was diagnosed with invasive cancer detected by a routine mammogram 10 years ago. Had I not gotten my mammogram, I might have had to have a much harsher treatment.
  2.  I learned that anyone can wind up with cancer. I was extremely fit and what I consider to be very healthy. I also had no family history. I was the last person I would have imagined to be diagnosed with cancer.
  3.  I learned that for most people who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness there is a lesson tailor-made for that person. I remember my radiologist saying to me, “don’t miss out on the lesson that comes along with your diagnosis.” For me, I realized I was a caretaker and a people pleaser. My self-appointed role in life was to make everyone happy. Every morning, as I lay on the radiation table, I faced the fact that I am the only person who can take care of me and that unless I take care of myself, I am no good to anyone else, including my children. I had to learn to say no to things I didn’t want to do, even if that meant disappointing people.
  4. Through my breast cancer experience, I began my interest in food as a source of wellness. There are so many benefits and high antioxidant and high omega foods that are proponents that serve to strengthen the immune system and cellular activity. Spices such as tumeric and cinnamon can help with fighting off cancer. There are so many things about what we put into our body that can help with our wellness.
  5. My cancer diagnosis demanded that I do not sweat the small stuff. Since I was diagnosed, my life has never been the same. Things I would have taken personally or beat myself up over, no longer bother me. I have a genuine broader outlook on life.
  6. As I said earlier, I was very healthy and I seemingly had everything under control. My career, my life, my productivity, etc. With the moment of my diagnosis, I realized I can’t control everything. I can simply be a good person and work hard and have everything fall into place. Sometimes things don’t go as planned but there can be wonderful transformations that come from those experiences that come from those detours.
  7. One of the great things that came out of my having had breast cancer was letting go of the stories that I had always told myself about what life was supposed to look like. The idea that there is an order to the way our lives are meant to fall into place became limiting to me. I had always yearned to be a mom and at which point I let go of the story of how families are meant to be made, I opened up the door to adoption and within a year I had a beautiful baby boy.