From heartache to hope

Reporter: Dr John D'Arcy

Imagine being just a day away from giving birth to your first child when you're told you have an aggressive form of breast cancer. Suddenly the joys of motherhood are overshadowed by a potential death sentence. This was the news delivered to our own Sally Obermeder a little more than a year ago. Now, free of the disease, she is using her experience to help others. After a tumultuous year, Sally Obermeder is cancer free - hopefully forever.

"I feel healthy, happy, grateful, and I feel an immense relief every single day," Sally said. Her new book, Never Stop Believing, goes into intimate detail of the struggle and the pain, including the chemotherapy that almost robbed her of the will to live. "One particular day, where I was just in the shower, it was the very first time I ever truly understood why sometimes people don't want to go on. I understood it. I understood in that moment what drives people, what drives people to end it," Sally said.

"Part of me was so pissed off at the cancer, like 'how dare you'. It ignites that fire from within which makes you go 'I will not give up' and it's that old saying 'game on'. It's me or you, and it's not going to be you, so it's going to be me." Sally's is also brutally honest about the other side-effects of cancer - the strain on those around her, loved ones desperate to do something who are left helpless. "It's tough because you're both trying to survive. It's a huge strain because you're changing as you're going through this experience. He's holding down a job. You try to keep your life afloat as if nothing's happening, but you've got this massive battle happening," she said.

"We're really lucky because we've been together for so long, and we've had a few hiccups along the way already, so I almost think we're as prepared as we can be for a battle of this nature." It's a battle that goes on for years. The 'Big C' always looms at the back of her mind, as it does with ever cancer survivor. "I'm aware. Cancers come back and I'm aware that if my cancer comes back that's really bad. It's not something they'll be able to treat really easily. I'm trying not to become a prisoner to the cancer, and not to live my life afraid it's going to come back," she said. Sally admits her book was tough to write but wants to share her story with the tens of thousands going through the same experience.

Her simple message is 'never give up'. "The odds for me were really bad. It's tempting for me to think 'what's the point in trying, they're saying this is no good.' Don't worry about that, just keep going. That's what I want people to get from the book," Sally concluded.

Never Stop Believing by Sally Obermeder will be available in all good bookstores in May.

Contact details

Allen and Unwin - www.allenandunwin.com

Swiish by Sally Obermeder - www.swiish.com.au