In May of this year, Olivia-Newton John got news that the cancer she beat 24 years ago had returned. This time, in her lower back.
She initially thought she had sciatica. Still performing, Newton-John, who made a name for herself in the movie Grease, says she’d grit her teeth, pop some aspirin and go on.
Turns out, her breast cancer had metastasized to the sacrum. The prognosis? Newton-John says she doesn’t read into prognosis and statistics because “I’m not going to be one of those statistics, I’m going to be fine,” the 68-year old told the Today show. She says that she will probably deal with cancer the rest of her life but thinks “you can live with cancer the way you live with other things if you take care of yourself.”
And for her, that includes medical marijuana, which she credits for helping her get back on her feet during bouts of crippling pain.
“People have this vision from the ’60s of people just sitting around, you know, getting stoned, and I think it’s not about that. This plant is a healing plant. I think we need to change the vision of what it is because it helped me greatly and it helps with pain and inflammation.”
When she was treated for cancer the first time, NJ said she felt the need for more than just traditional treatment. She supplemented chemotherapy with meditation, yoga, art and music — all of which she offers other cancer patients at her wellness and research center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
What has cancer taught her about herself? “I think it taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was, because even though you have a team around you and people are helping you, really in the end it’s up to you.”
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Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Grease. Newton-John plans to auction off her famous leather pants from the movie to help fund her wellness center.