When Sally Obermeder woke up on 13th October 2011, she thought her life was perfect. She had a glamorous, successful career as a reporter for Today Tonight, she had a wonderful husband and she was about to give birth to her baby who she had conceived through IVF following years of struggle to conceive naturally. Finally, she had everything she had ever wanted.
But then, during a routine appointment with her obstetrician, Sally was told she had a severe form of breast cancer. Her baby had to be induced and treatment needed to begin immediately. This was the start of the hardest year of Sally's life. A year where she would be tested to the very limits and would be forced to fight for her life.
A year on Sally has a gorgeous baby girl and is finally on the mend. Following her second mastectomy in September, she received the good news that she is now cancer free. Despite her life changing struggle and the hardships she has had to endure, Sally is one of the warmest, most vibrant people. She was determined to beat cancer. And now she is determined to help others.
Sally is a wonderfully inspirational person whose story is filled with raw honesty but also love, laughter and warmth.
Sally Obermeder is best known for her reporter role on the 7 Network's Today Tonight. But she has also presented on The Morning Show and Sydney Weekender. She lives in Bondi with her husband and baby daughter Annabelle.
Never Stop Believing
Allen and Unwin
Author: Sally Obermeder
Question: Why was it important for you to write Never Stop Believing?
Sally Obermeder: I wanted to share my story because I know that cancer can be a lonely disease for the person going through it. I also discovered that that for those supporting a cancer sufferer it can be confusing and stressful and they quite often feel helpless.
I wrote honestly and from the heart in the hope that it would help at least one person.
Question: Was it difficult reliving the hard times you've encountered when writing Never Stop Believing?
Sally Obermeder: It was extremely difficult. I cried while writing quite a lot of the book but it was also strangely cleansing to take the time to think and process my feelings and try to articulate what was going on. I also enjoyed having the time to reflect on how I had changed. There were some fun parts too - writing about the ins and outs of the TV industry and all the celeb talk was a nice balance to the heaviness of cancer.
Question: What did you learn, about yourself, from writing Never Stop Believing?
Sally Obermeder: I learnt that I was tougher than I knew, but not in a good way. I knew that I was strong and resilient and persistent, but I discovered that I was tough on myself. Too tough. Too hard. Too judgemental. In a way that I wasn't with others. Facing death has taught me to be kinder to myself and to treat myself with the same love and care I give others.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from Never Stop Believing?
Sally Obermeder: I hope they realise that life's too short - you have to dream big, follow your heart and go for what you want even if others don't think you can do it. Ignore the naysayers and believe in yourself.
Question: What advice do you have for other women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Sally Obermeder: I would say be kind to yourself and don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. As women we are always looking after everyone else so when something like this happens it can be hard to let go of the reigns and say "please give me a hand" but this is the time to do it. People around will be feeling helpless and unsure of what to do so let them chip in, it helps you and it helps them. Cancer is tough enough on its own, so take all the love and support and use it to fuel your fight.
I would also say that there is no guide book for cancer, no right or wrong way to deal with this disease and its effects. Do whatever you want. Do whatever you need. Whatever is right for you is all you need to focus on. People will chip in with advice and it's of course well meaning, but it's you who is going through it, so take what you need, leave what you don't and don't feel bad about it. All anyone wants is for you to get better.
Interview by Brooke Hunter