Fitness

"I can finally breathe properly again..." Sally Obermeder celebrates 5 years free from cancer

After reaching the five-year all clear milestone, the TV presenter says she's experiencing an unexpected emotion that has inspired her to make a change.

By Bettina Tyrrell
TV presenter, author, mum and businesswoman, Sally Obermeder, is celebrating a truly important milestone - she is five years clear of cancer after beating a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. But this moment is bittersweet for the TV personality, who, in a recent interview with Body + Soul, says she's feeling relief, great joy but also another unexpected emotion: guilt.
In 2011, life couldn’t have been better for Sally. Her career was on the up and she was pregnant with her first child. However, tragically, at 41-weeks pregnant Sally discovered a breast lump the size of a tennis ball. She was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer and just days after giving birth to a healthy little girl, Annabelle, the TV personality endured 16 rounds of chemotherapy and two mastectomies.
Her year-long battle with the disease was played out very publicly, but this was Sally’s personal choice.
"I remember thinking, 'If I’m going to go through this, I want to speak about it', because I didn’t really know where to go," Sally told Body + Soul.
"I didn’t know anyone who’d had it and I needed someone’s steps to follow, to know what other people did to cope."
WATCH Sally Obermeder shares gorgeous video with first daughter Annabelle and newborn Elssya. Article continues after video...
Sally spoke about the reactions from the public when she would go out with baby Annabelle while in the middle of her treatment and looking very ill. She said she would see the pity and sadness in onlookers' eyes.
"I found it really hard to feel normal when the whole world was going on and I was in this bubble of chemo," she said.
"I’d hear people say things like 'Oh, next summer I’m doing this' and I’d think, 'I don’t know if I’ll even be alive next summer'."
Sally did live to see another summer and the relief she feels after reaching the five-year mark is overwhelming.
"I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for five years and I can finally breathe properly again," she said.
"There’s always a low-level anxiety you live with – will it come back? Is this going to be it? – especially before a scan. I know the routine well but the inner dialogue and emotion is so full on, I was nervous going to that scan and when it came back clear... My gosh, the relief!"

Today, Sally is triumphing is all aspects of her life. She has published four books, opened an online fashion boutique (SWIISH), is a fan favourite on the desk of channel 7’s The Daily Edition and has welcomed, with her husband Marcus Obermeder, her second child, Elyssa, born via a US surrogate.
"We celebrated [five years all clear] by having Elyssa!" she says. "We really felt like it was a new beginning for us."
But Sally tells Body + Soul that her joy is somewhat dampened by something she didn’t expect to feel after receiving the five years' all clear: guilt.
"The thing I’ve really noticed after reaching the five-year mark is survivor guilt. You know how blessed you are to have made it but it makes you deeply aware of all the other people who haven’t and how unfair that is. You want everyone to get to that point, so if anything it makes you realise how important it is that we find a cure," she says.
Sally has channelled her guilt into a good cause, working tirelessly to help raise awareness of cancers that effect women and the importance of funding research to find a cure.
"If I can help one person, then it was worth it. I believe that firmly," she says.