By Sandra Mitchell

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.”

Comments (8)
  1. Earl Smith says:

    Sandra is already a great Anchor/Reporter. Her actions are not at all shameful. She has dealt with a lot having cancer. I will say that she absolutely does not use her situation for ANY personal gain! Her career can head nowhere but up!!!

  2. Dottie says:

    Her story could save a life. It’s all about getting a mammogram once a year Some one who has their name out there has a better chance of getting women to think.

    1. Not a Moron says:

      You are a sick, sick sick hater. Please keep your sick hatred to yourself and try to find a therapist who is willing to treat you. Shame on you. Shut up.

      1. Not a Moron says:

        My comment was in response to ‘mindy’, whose posts have been deleted. I applaud this reporter and Ms. Crowe for doing their best to encourage others to get early screening. I hope ‘mindy’ gets psychiatric help.

    2. Dottie says:

      You sure are bitter about their stupidity. Does that mean you don’t have yourself checked?

  3. sara says:

    I agree with mindy this will not get people to get checked more your right her aunts sisters were dumb. but the point stands that very few women over all get checked and the numbers do not go up based on someone else going public about it.. i did a study for a paper in high school about this went to 12 diffrent doctors in my area asked them out of all the females in there files how many get regular checks all 12 doctors told me less then 10% of all their patients EVER have a mamogram. i then asked if the numbers are affected by cancer in their familys. all 12 told me that when cancer is in the family tree the numbers go down so if people dont worry when its in their own family line why would they care that its in a reporters line there is no public service in this blog and those who think there is are fooling them selfs

  4. Patricia Bunin says:

    I commend Sandy for reaching out to others with her online story blog. I did a similar thing for my newspaper 13 years ago when I was diagonsed with cancer in both breasts. The responses I received and the people I am still in touch with, tell me it did help many women.
    Blessings to you Sandy,

  5. Michele says:

    I Just celebrated my four year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor on October 10th. I applaud you Sandy for creating your blog. It will help others going through this journey and new chapter in their lives as well as yourself. I did not do a blog but kept friends and family updated through emails – it helped them and me!!! Knowledge is power on this journey. And having a great team of Drs. is fantastic – my team is part of my family!!! Best to you and your family. Michele

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