'I feel the love': Brave Robin Roberts looks frail in hospital video message before today's bone marrow transplant
The GMA anchor, 51, has spent the past 11 days in hospital preparing for the procedure, undergoing eight days of intensive chemotherapy
16:14 GMT, 20 September 2012
A brave and frail-looking Robin Roberts has released a video from her hospital bed as she prepares to undergo a bone marrow transplant today.
The Good Morning America anchor, 51, who was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, earlier this year – a disease which attacks blood cells and bone – has spent the past 11 days at New York Presbyterian Hospital preparing for the procedure, undergoing eight days of intensive chemotherapy.
The treatment appears to have taken its toll and Ms Roberts had clearly lost a significant amount of weight as she addressed the camera.
Staying strong: GMA anchor Robin Roberts looked frail as she addressed fans in a video update from her hospital bed. Today she will undergo her bone marrow transplant
Cast of support: Ms Roberts gets a visit from GMA co-worker Sam Champion, who wore a mask to protect her from germs from the outside world
Wearing a pink baseball cap and navy top and pants, clutching a cold drink, she said in the video on her GMA blog: 'This journey is as much about the mind as it is the body.
'Thoughts. Thoughts are so powerful. You've got to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel,' she continued.
Then, repeating the words, almost as
if to remind herself: 'You've got to change the way you think in order
to change the way you feel.'
She also thanked fans for their love and
support, adding: 'And let me just say this lastly, I feel the love and I
thank you for it. Thank you.'
Positive thinking: Wearing a pink baseball cap and navy top and pants, clutching a cold drink, Ms Roberts said: 'This journey is as much about the mind as it is the body'
Robin's room: In another clip, she showed off her 'disco pole', which had been dressed with tinsel
Ms Roberts, her doctors and her 'ABC
Family' have been keeping fans up-to-date on her progress and today, her
oncologist, Dr Gail Roboz, joined George Stephanopoulos on GMA to
explain her progress so far.
On form: The TV host pictured on GMA in August, before her admission to hospital
Explaining the difference between the therapy that Ms Roberts was having over the summer, compared with the the last week, Dr Roboz said: 'We could see in watching Robin over the summer that she looked
fantastic, she was having an easy time with it.
really MDS-directed treatment. That was to mow the lawn, get rid of as
many MDS cells as possible, boost the bone marrow and get ready for the
For the past eight days, though, Ms Roberts has been having two-and-a-half hour chemotherapy every six hours, followed by a staggering continuous 18 hours on Tuesday.
'This type of therapy over the last week has been much more
intensive,' Dr Roboz said. 'This isn't just mowing the lawn and not getting
rids of the weeds on top, it's digging down deeper and really trying to
empty out the bone marrow cells and get rid of the immune system cells
so that the new ones from Sally-Ann can come on in.'
Unsurprisingly, the aggressive treatment, which has wiped out the television presenter's entire immune system, has left her feeling wiped-out.
Dr Roboz continued: '[Robin is] a powerhouse but she feels
crummy. Her mouth hurts. She's got a headache that won't quit. Nothing
tastes right. It's hard to get up and even move around in the room.
is someone who's used to 50 hours a day and an athlete with tremendous
stamina. It's powerful to hear her say that reading a few emails or
sitting up in bed is a lot of work.'
Wiped out: For the past eight days, Ms Roberts has been having two-and-a-half hour chemotherapy every six hours, followed by a staggering continuous 18 hours on Tuesday
The next few months will mark the 'rebuilding phase', Dr Roboz explained. 'Rebuilding is not immediate. It takes weeks to months… Sally Ann's cells will be trying to set up shop to set up an immune system and marrow to fight off infection.'
Ms Roberts wrote a touching message on her blog on Tuesday to let people know that she's staying positive.
'Last Sunday to lift my spirits I threw a
little party at my apartment for my GMA family,' she wrote. 'The next morning I
walked through the hospital doors, with my guardian angels – mom &
dad – back together and blazing a trail ahead of me.'
She also described how her body was responding to the daily doses of chemotherapy.
start of last week went well but the daily chemo/treatment caught up to
me by the weekend,' it read.
The GMA family: Ms Roberts tweeted a photo from her send off, before her admission to hospital. She is seen between her co-host Josh Elliot (left) and ABC's senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski (right)
'My body is so weak but not my mind. YOU
give me the courage to keep going.'
'So today is my last day of chemo…
Wednesday is called a day of rest, yay, right! The transplant is
scheduled for Thursday morning.'
WHAT IS MDS
Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells.
It affects about 18,000 people each year – but only several hundred of those are as a result of cancer treatment.
Symptoms can include shortness of breath, weakness or feeling tired,
skin that is paler than usual, easy bruising or bleeding and fever or
The primary approach to treating MDS is a bone marrow transplant.
The more closely matched the donor and recipient are, the more likely
the immune system will not reject the new marrow and treatment will be
The star will undergo the bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS – her sister Sally-Ann is the donor.
The procedure is expected to last between 30 to 60 minutes, and afterwards Ms Roberts will stay in a room designed to keep the air as clean as possible in order to protect her from any germs or infections, though friends and family will still be welcome to visit.
The disease has damaged the GMA host's bone marrow, and likely arose as a result of the chemotherapy Roberts' underwent in 2007 to successfully treat her breast cancer, according to GMA's chief health and medical editor, Richard Besser.
Ms Roberts isn't expected to reclaim her seat on GMA for several months, to allow her time to recover.
The TV anchor suffered another emotional blow on August 30 when her beloved mother, Lucimarian, passed away at home in Mississippi at the age of 88 – her father, Lawrence, died in 2004.
'I think she misses her mom a lot and I think it's been really hard to
go through this,' Dr Roboz revealed.
'She said yesterday this is the first hard
thing that she's had to go through without her mom. So I think that's
been a real challenge but she is a trooper and fighting through it and
doing very, very well.'