Sheryl Crow Opens Up About Being 10 Years Cancer-Free, Praises Shannen Doherty: 'Knowledge is Power'
By Desiree Murphy
Sheryl Crow is living every day with a positive mindset.
It's been over 10 years since she beat breast cancer, and while speaking with reporters at the #BlogHer16 exposition in Los Angeles on Friday, the "All I Wanna Do" singer revealed that her outlook on life has completely changed for the better.
"My diagnosis was a real game changer," Crow explained. "At that point, I was 44, and I was the picture of great health."
"I've had a lot of people say, 'Yeah, these things help you redefine your life,' but for me, I really refined my life," she continued. "I began to really hack away at the things that were not important anymore and the things that were energy sucking. I learned how to say no."
The 54-year-old rocker admitted that part of that happiness comes from finally learning to "quit taking care of everyone," something she says comes naturally as a woman. She also learned to stop putting so much pressure on herself and her achievements, whether they're measurements of her career or relationship status.
"I was at the bottom of my totem pole, and it caught up to me," Crow confessed. "And I believe that was really my relationship to the physical aspect of cancer. It [also] redirected the story I was telling myself. That story, that when you're raised by two parents in a loving home, that that's what life is going to look like."
Crow, who is now raising two boys -- Wyatt, 9, and Levi, 6 -- in Nashville, revealed that during the time of her breast cancer treatment, she felt a void in her life.
"I was about a year out [of treatment], and I [asked myself], 'What's missing?' And maybe there's another way there," she explained. "So I started the adoption process."
"You can't just write your story and live by it. If there are things you want that are outside that story, because it can be so confined," she continued. "So I just said, 'Hey, I'm going to start the process and we'll see what happens.' And now I have these great two boys and they roll with it. It's just been an amazing journey."
In addition to taking care of her kids, Crow is also a big advocate of raising awareness for the disease that redirected her life. During the interview, she praised Shannen Doherty for her strength and courage to publicly share her own battle with breast cancer. While chatting with ET's Jen Peros earlier this month, the Beverly Hills, 90210 star revealed her cancer had spread.
"I think that [talking about cancer] takes the fear out of it," Crow explained. "I mean, it is a scary thing, but one of the problems we have with breast cancer in general is getting women to go and get a mammography. A lot of us who are moms are too busy, or we don't really want to know. I think a lot of women really kind of don't want to know. In some instances, we're poorly insured or uninsured. And until we find a cure, early detection is our cure. The statistic of the cure rate at five years is 100 percent if it's detected early."
"So I love women who are coming out and saying, 'This is what I've done. I've been proactive and I'm celebrating my life,'" she added. "It's just really hard to imagine that 30 years ago, no one had spoken about having breast cancer until Betty Ford. When she came out and announced [she had it], it was very taboo and shocking. And now we can talk about it and it's a part of our everyday life. Knowledge is power."
Crow said she is beyond ecstatic that we're "closer and closer to a cure." She encourages women 40 years of age and older to never skip their annual mammography exam, and to take advantage of the new Genius 3D technology, which is now available in all 50 states. (You can find the facility closest to you HERE.)
"[I'm cancer free] all because of a mammography. I had a little calcification that showed up, or maybe a couple on my mammography, and they said come back in six months," Crow explained. "That was even before the 3D. Now we have the Genius 3D machine, which can detect things 15 months earlier. When you consider by the time your cancer shows up, you probably had it five years. This is cutting off 25 percent of that time already, which means that the treatment you're going to have is so much less taxing than what you would have if you were stage three or stage four."
"I'm not going to get sick again," she confirmed, knocking on the arm rests of the white chair she was seated in. "I'm not a superstitious person -- I wouldn't have said I was going to be a good candidate for cancer to begin with. [But] I do believe that a healthier life comes from a life that is less stressful, and there's a lot of stress in our lives in general."
"When it comes to the events that are natural to our lives -- divorces, deaths in the family, paying our rents, not having jobs -- but to bring in other added stresses, to invite those things in, is just needless and ridiculous," she added.
In conclusion, Crow shared her top three tips for living a less stressful life:
1. Find time to unplug. "I find that having the TV on all the time, having a phone attached to me with emails and texts and social media and all of that stuff is a distraction that creates a kind of stress that we're completely oblivious to. I mean, we get in elevators and we don't even acknowledge mankind anymore."
"[Being on the phone] you miss out -- you make yourself unavailable and you miss out on the little moments in your kids' lives. So that's one thing I would tell parents - to put your phones away, even when you're out with friends, but definitely around your kids."
2. Meditate. "Meditating is a big one. Not necessarily getting into TM [transcendental meditation], but just sitting quietly and trying to quiet your brain, even for 10 minutes a day, is valuable for people in our generation, and definitely for younger people to sit and be able to quiet their minds and take away some of the messaging that is just constant."
3. Make time for YOU. "What I would tell my younger self is, just to be selfish about my life, and to not be so hard on myself. The other thing I would say is, love is not attached to achievement. Love isn’t something you earn, that you come in being worthy of love, no matter who you are. That's a lesson that you have to learn over and over."