Sheros: Olivia Newton-John, My Friend Helshi

The June 19 edition of People was on top of the stack of magazines in the waiting room where I “relaxed” before my recent mammogram.

I had time to read the entire article that caught my eye and was probably the disconcerting reason that the magazine was on top of the pile: “Olivia Newton-John’s cancer returns–how she’s staying strong.” The copy read, “25 years after first facing breast cancer, the star, 68, learns it has spread.”

Definitely not the grabbing (no pun intended) coverline a gal should see before heading in for the annual smash job but I’m glad I read the article. In fact, I brought the magazine home (with permission!).

Her cancer returned

Two months ago, Newton-John announced that she is facing breast cancer again. This time, the disease has metastasized into her sacrum, a bone in the lower back. According to her doctors, taking 25 years to reappear is good news. The bad news is that metastatic breast cancer is incurable and in this case, because of the location, causes an extreme amount of pain.

My takeaway from the entire article is not the details about the cancer, however. It’s this quote from her husband: “We both have the same unshakable belief that she’s going to have a wonderful success story,” said John Easterling. “We’re not trying to be positive. We have an absolute knowing that we can turn this around.”

Here are the things that Newton-John has working for her, I believe. 1) Her husband is a natural health entrepreneur, according to People, 2) Her sister Rona called her Pollyanna because she always sees the good in everything and focuses on the positive and, 3) She gets treatment on two continents–the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre is in Melbourne, Australia.

I love that her husband (they’ve been married nine years) says, “We share a complete world. We can appreciate the joy in nature and the little things. We wake up and start each day with gratitude and we are able to maintain a sense of humor.” Their closeness is apparent in the photo that accompanies this post (First printed in People, the pic carries both the sweetness and the fierceness of their love.).

Speaking of a sense of humor . . .

Helshi in the middle flanked by Becky and me

My friend Helshi Lockwood was also recently diagnosed with breast cancer. To say we were all relieved to hear that it is stage 1A with clean margins and lymph nodes is a tremendous understatement. But then, we also know that Helshi–I call her one of the original Amazon women–is as tough as they come and probably flat-out told God that she would only do cancer if it was manageable.

That’s the way my 6-foot-plus friend rolls. She, like Newton-John, has a faith that is completely convicted and totally grounded. She knows what she knows and that’s all there is to it.

Helshi has the sharpest wit and will not hesitate to state what needs to be said. And, she will tell you that she doesn’t give a shit who needs to hear the truth.

I have to assume that Newton-John has an incredible life force. I know for a fact that Helshi’s force is strong like Luke Skywalker; I don’t know many other 76-year-olds who can get a cancer diagnosis, take a pill for it (so very grateful for no chemo or radiation!) and then take her Golden Retriever on a two-mile walk.

While I have huge admiration for Olivia Newton-John and wish her the very best, I love me some Helshi Lockwood and want her around forever!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my mammo results are all good!

Photo courtesy of Robert Lynden

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6 Comments

  1. Galen Pearl says:

    This reminds me of Myrtle Fillmore’s self healing of cancer in the 1800s by repeating to herself “I am a child of God and I do not inherit sickness.” She and her husband went on to found Unity Church.

    It also reminds me of the teachings in ACIM about sickness, which, I confess, I have never really understood. But they seem to be in keeping with your point here about a positive attitude.

    And of course, Jesus said to the healed, “Your faith has made you well.”

    Great post and sending good energy to Olivia and your friend!

    • Beth says:

      Once again I have to say that I am so thrilled my comments are fixed and I can see your thoughtful comments, Galen!

      Yes, I am very familiar with Myrtle Fillmore’s story–I’ve always been awed by the deep faith that assumes wellness.

      And speaking of ACIM (this is a bit off-topic), the lyrics to Melissa Etheridge’s song Only Love keep dancing in my head (We saw her in concert last Thursday night!):

      Only love is real.
      Everything is love.
      Everything you feel,
      That’s what your world is made of.

      Good stuff! Peace and love to you, my friend!!

  2. Helshi Lockwood Tunnell Hewson says:

    Beth, I am soooo touched that you mentioned me.
    Glad your mammogram were good. And here’s to all your readers making sure they never put off having a mammogram and get one EVERY year!

    Lym, Helshi

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