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Country Singer Coffey Anderson's Wife Criscilla Is Battling Stage 4 Cancer — What We Know

Photo: Instagram
Country Singer Coffey Anderson's Wife Criscilla Anderson Battling Stage 4 Cancer

While a cancer diagnosis is always terrifying, it's arguably even more terrifying when you're a mom of three young children whose husband lost his own mother to cancer when he was only 10-years old.

That's the situation currently facing Criscilla Anderson, 39, wife of country music star Coffey Anderson, who recently revealed she's battling stage 4 colon cancer.

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Criscilla's battle with colon cancer began in May 2018, though it had been in remission following multiple surgeries. Unfortunately, the dancer, choreographer and devoted mom has just revealed that her cancer has come back and it's more complicated this time, having spread through her para-aortic region and up her back.

Now, she and her family are trying to plan for a future dealing with what doctors say is treatable, but not curable, metastatic cancer.

Who is Coffey Anderson's wife Criscilla and how is the couple coping with her new diagnosis?

Read on for all the details.

1. Who is Coffey Anderson?

Coffey (pronounced Coff-ay) Anderson, 40, is a country singer and social media star who, according to his website, started playing guitar in college, going from messing around for friends in his dorm to performing at local bars.

Originally from the tiny town of Bangs, TX, he pursued a record contract but struck out repeatedly before deciding to take matters into his own hands, starting a YouTube Channel called Coffey Southern Man to promote his music. After building an impressive following of 100,000 subscribers, he began producing his own albums and booking his own gigs.

Here are just some of the impressive facts about his home-grown social media following (all without the help of a record label):

As his popularity grew, he was featured as a contestant on the USA Network's "Nashville Star" in 2008, making it to week 8 of the competition. Since then, he has been touring and recording everywhere from the Houston Rodeo to performances in churches.

It was at a church show, where he met his wife Criscilla.

2. Who is Criscilla Anderson?

Criscilla is an actress, dancer and choreographer, as well as a wife and mom.

Before the church show where they met in person, Coffey was already aware of who she was, as Criscilla recently revealed on Instagram.

In a 2018 post dedicated to wishing Rihanna a happy birthday, Criscilla shared a clip from the video for Riri's 2006 hit "SOS," in which Criscilla can be seen dancing next to the pop star.

"Coffey saw me in this video b4 he met me and said he wanted me as his wife ... that’s how god worked us out!" she told her fans.

The couple wed in 2008 and have three adorable children together — Ethan, 8, Emmarie, 6, and Everleigh, 2. Coffey also has a teenaged daughter, Savannah Jean, from a previous marriage.

3. Her scary cancer diagnosis

It was 2018 when Criscilla started experiencing unusual symptoms. She told People that she would find herself dealing with terrible abdominal pain, but tried to work through it.

She was away from their home in Los Angeles for a dance event in Louisville, KY, when she wound up in the emergency room due to the severity of her pain. The staff there diagnosed her with colitis and sent her home with antibiotics, but the pain continued.

When doctors finally attempted an emergency colonoscopy to find the cause of her problems, they found a tumor so large it required surgery to have two-feet of her colon removed.

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4. Her initial treatment and brief remission

As explained on the couple's ​GoFundMe page, "Criscilla underwent surgery on [June 13, 2018] where the doctors removed 2 feet of her colon along with a large mass. She was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and went through months of chemo and treatment."

The removal of her tumor and subsequent chemotherapy were successful enough to put her in remission for a period of time, but at a recent follow-up appointment with her medical team, they discovered swollen lymph, indicating the cancer was growing again and, this time, it was spreading to other parts of her body.

5. What does stage four cancer mean?

Criscilla's latest diagnosis shows a recurrence of cancer in its original site that it has also metastasized (i.e., spread) beyond that and is making its way up her back. She has clarified that there isn't cancer in any of her other organs, which is good news.

While she hasn't given up on the idea of a full recovery, she and her medical team are hoping at the very least to they'll be able to halt its progress.

"My ultimate goal," she explained, "is to be in remission and have it not be chronic but be in a situation where it can be completely healed. The ideal, if that cannot happen, would be to keep it maintained and have it not spread any further for the rest of my life."

WebMD explains that doctors use a five-stage scale to classify cancer ;based on how far the cancer has spread from the initial location in the body.

Stage one cancer refers to cancer when it's still in the place where it first started to develop. Stage two and three refer to cancer that has spread into tissue in the immediate area around the first site and into the lymph nodes nearby. Stage four cancer means the disease has progressed to more distant areas of the body.

Staging helps doctors understand the extent of the disease and make treatment plans to best address the nature of the cancer in the patient at hand.

While stage four cancer means a more complicated road for treatment, it does not mean the cancer is automatically terminal. The American Cancer Society reminds us that every case is different and patients should always work with their doctors to determine and understand their prognosis.

6. Coffey lost his own mother to cancer when he was 10 years old

In a tragic coincidence, Coffey has shared that his own mother died of lung cancer just 10 days before his 11th birthday.

“Life is not fair, but God is always good,” Coffey says. “I hate the smell of hospitals. I was 10 years old when my mom was going through her treatments, and I can still remember that smell. But I can also remember how my dad took care of my mom, and how he was the one carrying her to the bathroom and washing her back.

"So now," he continued, "I’m taking care of my wife.”

In an emotional video she shared with her with her nearly 45.000 Instagram followers the same day she received the news her cancer was back, Criscilla said, "I've been crying all day because I have three babies that need their mom, and I have a husband who lost his mom to cancer at a young age, and he shouldn't be losing his wife, too."

7. What happens next for the Anderson family?

Doctors told Criscilla the disease has progressed to a point where they consider it treatable but probably not curable, meaning that while they hope to stop the disease's progress throughout her body, it will likely remain a chronic condition requiring ;lifelong care.

Criscilla is trying to maintain an optimistic outlook despite the severity of her diagnosis.

She has been exploring treatment options, and is currently planning to begin a chemotherapy regimen in California followed by holistic treatments at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, which is ranked the number one hospital in the country for treating cancer, according to the US News and World Report's "Best Hospitals" survey.

Criscilla has shared revealed that she is considering treatment options overseas. She noted, however, that all of these possible treatment plans are expensive, especially those outside of California, because her insurance won't cover services provided outside of her home state. (And remember, while Coffey may be making a name for himself in the music industry, he currently remained unsigned by a major label.)

She and Coffey set up the aforementioned GoFundMe campaign to help defray the cost of her medical care. As of today, they've raised $35,481 toward their $50,000 goal.

The road ahead for the Anderson family is likely to be difficult, but Coffey is ready to be there for his wife.

“When you say that you will be there for each other through thick and thin and through sickness and health, you have to mean it,” Coffey said. “There are a lot of moments that you can never prepare for. I mean, I never thought I would be helping Criscilla brush her teeth or get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But we are willing to do it for each other. Each of us are giving 100 percent.”

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.