One Thing Sheryl Crow Wishes She’d Known Before Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis

February 11, 2020

In February 2006, Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer during a routine mammogram. At just 44 years old, she eventually underwent a lumpectomy (or removal of cancerous tissue) of both breasts and received radiation therapy.

Now 57, Crow says her ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) diagnosis taught her a lot and even shaped the way she approaches self-care today – especially putting her own health first and finding a community that advocates for that.

“The lessons that come with your diagnosis, it’s almost always the same for the women who share their lessons with me,” Crow tells Health – taking care of yourself should be a priority.” Women are overachievers,” says Crow.” We’re working and doing a thousand [other] things at the same time as taking care of those around us.”

Because of this, Crow says women who have gone through a breast cancer diagnosis, or are currently battling breast cancer, must learn “how to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on someone else’s.” For Crow, it’s hard.” I’m a caregiver, and that’s my challenge: to use my voice to explain what I need and what I don’t need – and to say no and listen to my body.”

Fortunately, Crosby found a community of women who shared her struggles to help her learn those lessons and push her forward.” Once you’re diagnosed, you find a whole community of women who will find each other and share their stories anywhere from Starbucks to airports to hotel lobbies,” says Crow.

Now in remission for more than a decade, Crow is currently working with Genius 3D Mammography and is still practicing the self-care methods she learned after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer – specifically meditation.” Our brains are so overactive, it’s programmed to judge everything – your own performance, everyone around us,” she says. That’s what meditation did for her.” It definitely helps stop the constant overload of brain stimulation that’s constantly telling us where we’re falling short, where we’re failing.” She adds that meditation helps us maintain patience and compassion for others.Crosby also believes that cutting back on dairy, going (mostly) gluten-free, and exercising with a rowing machine has helped her stay healthy.

In addition to sharing her self-care tips, Crow also offers advice for women who may not always be able to keep up with their annual mammograms.” Statistics show that one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime” she says.” I was one of those women who had no family history and was super healthy, and I ended up being one in eight.”

While Crow understands that cancellations and rescheduling appointments do happen – mostly with the excuse of “I’m too busy” – she says there’s really no excuse for not making health a priority sooner.” I say that to women who want to postpone.” It could be the difference between having a minimal treatment or having chemotherapy or worse than that – it’s a fatal risk.”

As for women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer or who have gotten another type of devastating news, Crosby has a message for them as well.” Don’t stop breathing,” she adds, “There are a thousand ways to be traumatized in life – from losing a job to a spouse running away, [to] a death in the family.” That’s why she says paying attention to your breathing is so essential.” The only way to keep your body …. . is to remember to breathe.”