Angie O’Reilly says she isn’t supposed to have survived the past eleven years but she’s done more than that – she’s really, really lived.
“Sixteen years ago, I got the very bad news,” Angie told us. “‘Angie,’ the doctor said, ‘it’s not good news, you have breast cancer.’ I’m not meant to be here, in fact I always celebrate the anniversary of that day. I was supposed to be gone about eleven years ago but here I am.”
Angie says triumph over illness has helped her to triumph in other areas of her life. “I do something each year as part of that celebration and mindset and this weekend it was winning a gold medal at the dragon boat regatta,” she says. Angie also project manages the Dragons Abreast Festival which was held on Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour last Saturday which is the major fundraiser for Dragons Abreast Australia, a national not-for-profit charity that raises awareness of breast cancer through the sport of dragon boating. Angie has been a ‘dragon’ lady for 14 years and it’s a sport that’s taken her to surprising places. “I’ve competed internationally, including, Canada, America and recently in Europe, and at fifty-seven, I’ve learnt that age is not a real number, not in my life anyway.”
“I think we have this mindset that we can’t do things, but one of my mottos is ‘if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space’. It helps me to achieve and finally, this year, I kicked another big goal, losing 10kg with intermittent fasting.”
Angie says weight gain had been a problem for her for a long while. “I’ve gone through a rollercoaster with it over the years. When you’re carrying a lot of weight you don’t really feel motivated, but now that I’ve lost 10kg with SuperFastDiet and I’ve got a new wardrobe and new hot boyfriend (laughs) my mental health is just so much better.”
“I’d been body shamed in the past and that spun me into a cycle of lose a lot of weight/pile it back on. It’s abuse really, of one of the lowest degrees, I had to re-own myself after everything I’d been through and it really is about mindset. I never thought I’d ever wear a bikini again and yet I did on the Amalfi Coast in Italy in June; I never thought I’d wear white jeans again and yet I’m wearing a size 10 pair today. Celebrate the wins, I say!”
Angie is certainly doing that by acknowledging her sixteen-year milestone in public this week, putting her pictures out there of when she was sick and when she struggled with self-esteem and weight and, of course where she is now. “I was still smiling whether things were going well or going bad, even just before my surgery and during chemotherapy, and I wanted to show that, because if I can inspire anybody by telling my story, I’ll tell it forever.”
So, what has kept her so positive? “Optimism is my middle name and even though I’ve had some big issues in the way, I love life and I love giving back to the community and if I can help one person my job is done. Then I’ll help another one. And another one.”
“I know it can be tough,” Angie says, “but I’ve survived cancer and I’ve bought up two wonderful, smart, handsome and loving sons who both have beautiful partners. I have a supportive family and a beautiful community of friends. I’ve loved, lost and loved again and now have finally met the man of my dreams. I’ve delivered a speech to Prince Andrew and made him laugh out loud! I’ve achieved in my corporate and working life and won medals and I’ve lost 10kgs this year with the amazing SuperFastDiet. At the end of the day, life is what you make it, it’s not about how many medals you’ve won, how rich you are, how pretty you are or how many friends you have – life is about being happy and content within yourself and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, let you be you and who make you laugh, love and feel secure.”
“Life is amazing,” Angie concludes. “Never, ever give up.”
Intermittent Fasting a Breast Cancer Preventer?
Latest evidence reveals that intermittent fasting may do more than help women lose weight – it could actually help lower their risk of developing breast cancer. A recent study conducted by research dietitian, Dr. Michelle Harvie revealed that following a 2-Day on, 5-Day off fasting method produced cancer-preventing changes in breast tissue.
Published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, the study, entitled Breast Risk Reduction Intermittent Diet Evaluation (BRRIDE), had pre-menopausal and overweight woman who were considered at high risk of developing breast cancer follow the intermittent fasting method for a month. Biopsies taken both before and after the trial period revealed a change in 55% of the subjects, showing the production of proteins known to make cells more stable, thus rendering them less likely to become damaged – meaning the risk of developing breast cancer is reduced.
The study, although relatively small in scale, was extremely controlled, and the results are both surprising and encouraging. Needless to say, having a normal-range body weight improves a woman’s chances of remaining healthy, regardless, and with yet another potential health benefit it’s easy to see why intermittent fasting is rapidly becoming the most popular diet method in the western world.
Harvie MN, Sims AH, Pegington M, Spence K et al “Intermittent energy restriction induces changes in breast gene expression and systemic metabolism” Breast Cancer Research Journal 18(1):57, May 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27233359