Surviving COVID-19 & Breast Cancer, Rita Wilson Has Learned to ‘Accept the New Normal’

When it comes to her health, Rita Wilson has been through it in recent years. After a diagnosis with double breast cancer — leading to a double mastectomy — in 2015 and, most recently, the highly publicized case of she and her husband (Tom Hanks) being one of the earliest confirmed cases of celebrities diagnosed with COVID-19. In an interview with Health for their June cover story, Wilson went in on the health challenges she and her family have overcome and how they’ve affected them.

“You always think that bad things happen to other people — until it happens to you, and you realize you’re not immune to it,” Wilson told Health, referring to the COVID-19 diagnosis. “It was similar with my breast cancer diagnosis. While all this was going on, I actually said to Tom, ‘Before breast cancer, it was a thing that was sort of in the distance or something that happens to other people.’ And then I said, ‘But I don’t feel that way anymore. I mean, who’s to say we won’t get [COVID-19]?’ And then we got it.  It was so strange. But we had really great medical care, and thankfully we are doing well.”

 

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Our June cover star is @RitaWilson—and she’s opening up about facing difficult moments, like being diagnosed with coronavirus in the public eye: “You always think that bad things happen to other people—until it happens to you, and realize you’re not immune to it,” she says. Wilson is also a breast cancer survivor and attributes this to shifting her perspective: “I actually said to Tom, ‘Before breast cancer, it was a thing that was sort of in the distance or something that happens to other people.’ And then I said, ‘But I don’t feel that way anymore. I mean, who’s to say we won’t get [COVID-19]?’ And then we got it. It was so strange.” . Now that #RitaWilson has recovered, she’s spending more time on her passions such as songwriting. “I have so much that I want to say,” she explains. “Every day I wake up and I’m excited to write.” . Tap the link in bio to read the full interview 👆 (📸: @jimjordanphotography)

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For many of us, the unknowns of living in the pandemic — will we catch this virus? Will our kids be okay? Will we be okay? — remain at the forefront of our minds. Wilson says that her experiences with breast cancer really did inform how she views her health and her body — leading to a proactive and protective approach to her health paired with accepting that the negative, scary things can still touch you.

“Once you realize that there’s something in you that is trying to kill you, you have to accept that there’s going to be a new normal,” she said. “Look, I’m five years clean now, and it evolves. When it first happens, you’re like, ‘What is this?’ It’s different…It’s been a few years of feeling back to normal. I think the relationship to my body is that I don’t take it for granted.”

As for her lifestyle, she says there’s been shifts in diet (plant-based, less alcohol) because of what health experts know about fighting breast cancer. While it’s not nothing, in terms of changing how you approach your body and your life after experiencing something like a cancer diagnosis, Wilson seems to have embraced the quiet, zen of accepting what “normal” can look like.

“That is not a lot when you really get down to it, and so there’s a discipline that comes to that,” she said. “I’m healthy today. I am not going to take it for granted, and I’m not going to mess with it.”

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