Caring for Loved Ones Impacted by Health Challenges
- Sharon Osbourne, 71, the wife of her famous “Black Sabbath” husband Ozzy, 74, says she’s been wrestling with weight loss because of a popular weight-loss drug and caring for her husband, who lives with Parkinson’s disease.
- Ozzy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003. It’s an incurable “brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination,” according to the National Council on Aging. Symptoms for this chronic illness tend to worsen over time.
- Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2002. During stage 3, the cancer has spread beyond the colon. She underwent surgery to remove part of her intestine and chemotherapy for treatment.
- Sharon also underwent a preventative double mastectomy. She opted for the procedure after learning she had a genetic mutation that increased her chances of developing breast cancer.
- A double mastectomy is a procedure that removes both breasts. Some women choose this procedure to reduce their risk of cancer, especially if they have a family history of cancer or possess the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation, which also increases their risk.
Sharon Osbourne, 71, and her rockstar husband, Ozzy Osbourne, 74, are on the cusp of a lifestyle change as they inch closer to moving from California to London. The change comes as Sharon assumed more of a caregiving role for her husband, who is dealing with several health issues, including Parkinson’s disease and spinal problems. Looking after her husband has caused her to view him differently, and his health has helped bring them closer together.
Sharon, a cancer survivor, has obstacles of her own, most notably maintaining weight. She told the U.K.-based media outlet the “Daily Mail” that she was taking the diabetes management drug Ozempic. However, this popular medication has a side effect that can trigger weight loss.Read More
Sharon and Ozzy have been married since 1982. Since then, she’s stood by his side even when his career tested their marriage. She said that she had her own way of dealing with Ozzy, especially when he was on tour and tempted by groupies.
“I was so used to it because that was the world I knew. That’s what comes along with being famous,” she said.
She focused more of her energy during the ‘80s and ‘90s on caring for the couple’s three children. She admitted when being married to a rockstar would strike a nerve; she resorted to antidepressants.
Although the famous couple split up briefly midway through their marriage before reuniting, they’ve been by each other’s side. The support they’ve shown each other was much appreciated when they experienced various health issues over the years.
When Sharon was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2002, Ozzy was very supportive.
Ozzy has been living with Parkinson’s disease since 2003. It’s an incurable “brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination,” according to the National Council on Aging. Symptoms for this chronic illness tend to worsen over time.
His condition has caused him to cancel tour dates to focus on his health. He publicly revealed he was dealing with the chronic disease in 2020, although he was diagnosed in 2003. His journey included several surgeries, including one last year that removed and realigned pins in his neck and back, according to Page Six entertainment outlet. Prior to surgery, Ozzy dealt with nerve pain, blood clots, depression, and staph infections.
More recently, the “Black Sabbath” frontman was seen in Los Angeles in a wheelchair. At the time, he declared that he wouldn’t be undergoing any more surgeries, the New York Post reports.
“For nearly five years, my husband’s been really sick. Relationships change all the time as we change,” Sharon said.
“We’re at a stage where I’ve been taking care of my husband, not because I have to but because I want to and I love him,” she continued.
Sharon admits it’s “heartbreaking” to see her husband not be “self-sufficient.”
RELATED: How to be a better caregiver.
The couple is making plans to move from Los Angeles to Britain for more space in a home constructed for them. Sharon says Ozzy’s health has delayed their travels across the Atlantic, but the move is more feasible since he’s done with surgeries. One of the most difficult parts of moving will be their inability to see their grandchildren at will.
“That’s the heartbreaking thing. I can see them whenever I want in L.A.; we’re together a couple of times a week. We’ll have to give that up, but they’ll come over for the holidays, we’ll go there for birthdays, and we won’t be parted for long,” Sharon said.
Helping Care for Your Loved Ones
Osbourne’s Cancer Battle
As previously noted, Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2002. During stage 3, the cancer has spread beyond the colon.
The most poignant signature of colon cancer includes a change in bowel habits. This may include constipation or diarrhea due to changes in the size or shape of bowel movements. A change in stool color, particularly black or tarry stools, can indicate bleeding from a tumor that lies deep in the colon.
WATCH: Colon cancer symptoms.
Other symptoms can be harder to pinpoint, such as abdominal pain and unintentional weight loss. Finally, some tumors bleed a small amount over a long period of time, resulting in anemia (low red blood cell count) that is picked up on blood work.
For treatment, Sharon underwent surgery to remove a foot of the large intestine and some surrounding lymph nodes. She needed chemotherapy to kill any cancerous cells left behind. With a powerful support group full of loved ones, she was able to overcome the cancer and beat it.
Osbourne also underwent a preventable double mastectomy, a procedure where breast tissue is removed to prevent cancer from developing in the future. She opted for the procedure after learning she had a genetic mutation that increased her chances of developing breast cancer.
WATCH: Understanding preventative mastectomies.
A prophylactic, or preventative, mastectomy is an operation where the breast tissue is removed to prevent cancer from developing in the future.
“A double mastectomy typically takes about two hours for the cancer part of the operation, the removing of the tissue,” Dr. Elisa Port, Chief of Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System, tells SurvivorNet. “The real length, the total length of the surgery, can often depend on what type of reconstruction [a patient] has.”
Other factors that weigh into the decision to get a mastectomy are the size and features of the tumor and your family history. However, the gravity of your decision comes into full view, especially if you choose to get a mastectomy and remove both of your breasts.