The patient steps out of the mammography room. She looks comfortable in her faded denim and scuffed brown cowboy boots. It has been five years since her diagnosis and she is back for her regular exam. The mammogram will show if her cancer has returned.
“I don’t really get nervous anymore.” She confides. I believe her.
She has this way about her that makes me like her immediately. She eases her wavy brown hair out of a elastic band and fluffs it just a bit.
“I’m cancer free,” she smiles. “Knock on wood.” But there is no wood to knock on, only the paper cover of the exam table she is sitting on.
We met just a minute ago. She leaned in to hug me without hesitation. The rock star and the TV reporter.
“Hi, I’m Sheryl.” The voice that had won nine Grammy Awards, speaking right to me!
Sheryl Crow has been gracious enough to grant me an interview for a special series of reports that will air on CBS 2 and KCAL 9 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I’m kinda the poster child now,” she laughs.
We are sisters of sort. The average age for breast cancer diagnoses is 61. Both Sheryl and I were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer at a young age. Our diagnosis, the minimally invasive surgery, our treatments are similar. From what I can tell, we also share a similar attitude: Breast cancer changes your life. But sometimes it changes it for the better.
The red light on the camera is blinking. We are recording when she shares her story.
“Before, I had this image of the perfect family. Married, white picket fence, kids the whole thing.” When her doctor told her she had a malignant tumor, she had just gone through a very publicized break up, she was childless and the only picket fences were the ones she could see from the window of her tour bus.
“Breast cancer made me realize I had to create the life I wanted,” she continues. Within weeks of her radiation therapy, Sheryl began the adoption process. I marvel at that. Just a few months after she was told she had cancer, she was so convinced that she was going to recover, she decided to take responsibility for another life! She is now mommy to two little boys.
Sheryl Crow could have kept her diagnosis a secret. She went public almost immediately .
There is a pamphlet on the counter in the Sheryl Crow Imagining Center in Beverly Hills.
It has her picture on the bubblegum pink cover and the words: “A mammogram Saved my Life.” Every time I see it, I think to myself : “Me too!”
We end the interview.
She is jetting off for a concert in Vegas. For a moment I imagine her looking at me and saying the words to her song:
“Jump in…let’s go, lay back enjoy the show…..every day is a winding road.”
There is another hug. She pulls me closer. She is not just being polite.
“Good luck to you” she whispers. “Really…. good luck.”