Sheryl Crow Adds Healthy Living to Her Repertoire
After a traumatic year, the singer-songwriter is making music, raising a son, and learning the art of balance.
Sheryl Crow: breast cancer survivor continued...
Before she could welcome baby Wyatt through that door, however, Crow had to
heal, physically and emotionally. During the frenzied paparazzi aftermath of
her split with Armstrong -- “When you’re most down, the tabloids are most
interested,” she says ruefully -- she did her best to stay above the fray by
lying low and following doctor’s orders.
First, there was the routine mammogram that revealed “suspect”
calcifications in both of her breasts. A radiologist suggested she return for
another mammogram in six months’ time to take a second look, but her ob/gyn
urged immediate biopsies. “Thank goodness I listened to [my doctor],” Crow
says, “because my cancer was caught in the earliest stages. I am the poster
child for early detection.”
“Early detection saves lives,” says Eric Winer, MD, chief of the Division of
Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at
Harvard Medical School. “Stage 1 breast cancer -- like Sheryl had -- is defined
as a tumor less than or equal to 2 cm with negative [presence] in the lymph
nodes, and it has a very, very good long-term prognosis because it’s been
caught so early. Ninety-five percent of women with stage 1 will be alive in
five years, and a great many are cancer-free. In fact, most are cured of their
“I was told I had dense breasts,” Crow tells WebMD, a factor that has been
linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, according to Winer,
who is also the chief scientific adviser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and a
leading expert on the disease. “We’re not exactly sure why there is a
correlation, but there seems to be one. Breast density also makes it that much
more difficult to find cancer on mammograms,” he says.
Sheryl Crow on breast cancer recovery
Crow’s breast cancer treatment consisted of minimally invasive surgery -- a
lumpectomy, where a surgeon excises only the tumor and a clear margin around
it, leaving the breast intact -- followed by a seven-week course of radiation.
A post-treatment mammogram showed she was in remission and cancer-free. She
remains so to this day.
The experience “woke me up,” she says. “I was no longer dulled out. … I
think I was conscious before, but having cancer really opened my eyes.” After
staring down her own mortality, Crow knew it was time to build the family she’d
always wanted, and on her own terms.
In the wake of a broken heart and a recovering body, Crow “didn’t go out
much. … I took care of myself, and I learned the only way to get through grief
is to grieve, to experience those emotions. I would tell people when I needed
space, if I needed them to run an errand for me. And I allowed myself to sleep
as much as I wanted to, and to do absolutely nothing … and I let myself feel