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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.
By Lauren Paige Kennedy
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow is in a good place. Yes, she’s back on her farm just outside of Nashville, Tenn., close to family and friends again after keeping a demanding winter schedule that took her across the country and to Japan. The rock-country crooner, 47, promoted two albums (Detours and Home for Christmas), made the rounds of chat shows, and performed for the new First Family in HBO’s “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (No slacker, she played a few inaugural balls there, too.) She was also a presenter at the 2009 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February. Nine-time winner Crow’s Detours was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But simple geography -- the slower, familiar pace below the Mason-Dixon Line -- is not the only thing making this Kennett, Mo., native smile. The good place Crow is enjoying right now is coming from within.

“I’m not nearly so hard on myself anymore,” she tells WebMD. “I’ve learned to stop putting everybody before myself, and to say ‘no’ sometimes, which was a huge lesson for me. I think women get caught up in that, forgetting about their own needs.” Even with the international, bicoastal itinerary she’s just wrapped, Crow claims she does “only what I want to do” these days, and that “for every 10 requests I get now, I might say ‘yes’ to one.”

Crow’s other, more publicized, “huge lessons” -- game-changing events that forced her to reassess her relationships and well-being, leading to a newfound sense of serenity and self-acceptance -- came in threes: A very public, broken engagement to world-famous cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in February 2006. The shock of being diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer a few weeks later. And finally, becoming a mother for the first time the following April. In just over a year’s time, she went from canceling a wedding and getting a lumpectomy to changing the diapers of her newly adopted son, Wyatt, and singing him lullabies.

“In a way, it was a wonderful life-shifter,” says Crow. The recent upheavals helped launch the singer on her own winding road toward parenthood, contentment, and good health.

Sheryl Crow: breast cancer survivor

For Crow, the painful breakup with one of cancer’s leading advocates is forever linked to her own battle with the disease -- and to Wyatt’s adoption, which she began pursuing while undergoing radiation treatments.

“I’ve had maternal instincts since I was really young,” she says now. “But I had to let go of what I envisioned a family was supposed to look like. I always saw myself with the traditional husband and the kids and the dog, but letting go of all that created opportunity. The best thing I could do was to open that door.”

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