Robin Roberts' Journey: The Diagnosis

Part 1: In the spring of 2012, Roberts learned she had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
6:57 | 02/22/13

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Transcript for Robin Roberts' Journey: The Diagnosis
complete mess. But tonight, I'm so grateful to be back and doing well. And I want to share with you what I have learned. I have met some amazing people along the way. They have given me courage and filled my heart. Ultimately, they taught me the true meaning of home. Whether it was a hospital room, my native gulf coast or this tv studio. So I hope you will come with me as I take you on an incredible year ago. Good morning. Until you come home, you know. I have been waiting 174s to say this. Good morning, america. You never really get to see the patterns of your journey or understand the meaning. I'm back. I beat breast cancer in 2007, good morning. Look at you. Five years later I was covering one of my favorite annual assignments. Welcome to oscars live! And I'll see you inside. People didn't realize, but i did, how exhausted I was. This was a bone-weary exhaustion, difficult to focus, difficult to concentrate and at that moment I said, "you know, I'm really going to, I'm going to see my doctor right away." Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, I have grown accustom to getting tested, but this was different. I went to see this specialist toward the end of march, and that was the first time I heard mda. And I thought, I have ms? And he said, no, and he spelled it out for me. Myelodysplastic syndrome. It was completely foreign to me. And I did the thing that we tell people not to do. I went on the internet. And I had a reaction that, um, man, I just started crying. I just, whoo! Telling my fame hardest part, especially sharing the news with my mom who was ill. It was very difficult to call my mom. I'm the baby. And I'd already put them through quite a bit with my breast cancer journey. With these two! Oh! I kept it on going on the air. Whoa! But on the inside, I was in turmoil. Ironically at the very same time "good morning america" reached a historic high point, becoming the number one morning show after 852 weeks. So when you, when people see this picture, they don't see it the same way I see it. Because on that same date is when I got the official diagnosis for mds. So, "gma" number one, we have a big party that night, and what was ahead of me. April 19, 2012. Soon the reality of my diagnosis became clearer. In the computer there was a graph, and there was one year, two years, and a dot in the middle. And the doctor kept pointing to that dot in the middle, between one year and two years. And I said, "what's that?" And the doctor said, if you don't do anything, that is your life expectancy. And I'm like -- I'm away from the office for quite a few hours. I turn on my blackberry and my phone. There were several messages and calls from the office. And I remember calling ben sherwood from the car, and he's say, you are interviewing the president tomorrow at the white house. And I'm like, "um, oh, oh, oh, ok." And I said, "ben, very excited. Can I get back to you? I'll call you back? I remember putting the foin down, and I remember thinking, "that is so strange. Something's going on." There's something going on. Hello, mr. President. Again, no one knows all these things that are going on, and, you know, sit down and ask the president, um, "are you still opposed to same sex marriage?" He's, makes his historic, response. I think same sex couples should be able to get married. All I could think about was finding a bone marrow match. I reached out to my sisters, dorothy and sally ann. But would one of them be a match? When only 30% of siblings are. So many people in this country depend on donations from strangers, hoping for a match like the one I would get. It's extremely humbling. So I am just filled with gratitude. After an agonizing wait my prayers were answered, sally ann was a perfect match. It's very hard for me to accept. I'm used to being the giver. Not used to receiving. But it's a great gift. It's a great gift. Thank you, jesus. My daughter judith said so many people, mom, wonder what their purpose is in life. And now you know your purpose. Your purpose is to give bone marrow to your sister robin. You were born for this. Now I could begin my preparation for a bone marrow transplant, a daunting series of daily chemotherapy sessions to wipe out my entire immune system so it can be built back from scratch with new life from sally ed ann's stem cell. So you after that, you will get her allergies, you will get her blood taste. You won't get her taste in music. Promise? Promise. But I also knew I had reached the point where I could no longer keep my diagnosis a secret from the public. How would I tell the viewers, and how would it I do while something else in my personal hey, me, insurance. You know, from our 4,000

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