'My blood counts are GREAT': Robin Roberts says her prayers have been answered as she recovers from bone marrow transplant
21:07 GMT, 4 October 2012
Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts has revealed that her bone marrow transplant, which she underwent two weeks ago, appears to have been successful.
The procedure, which saw donor stem
cells from her sister Sally Ann injected into her body, took just five
minutes, and according to the 51-year-old, who wrote fans an update from her hospital in New York City this morning, her sister's cells 'feel right at home' in her body.
'My blood counts are GREAT,' she wrote on her GMA blog, after being hospitalized or 25 days now. 'It's an answer to so many prayers'.
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Pulling through: Robin Roberts, 51, said her friends near and far (pictured here with Sam and Josh yesterday) have been lifting her spirits, she says
Ms Roberts, who was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, earlier this year – a disease which attacks blood cells and bone – added: 'My doctors and rock star nurses are very pleased with my progress and I could not be more thankful for the excellent care I am receiving.
'I have had some extremely painful days and it’s still difficult for me to eat because of all the chemo. [But] I continue to learn so much on this journey, especially when it comes to true friendship and love.
'My friends near and far… have been
lifting my spirits,' she continued. 'I am hopeful that I MAY be well
enough to continue my recovery at home next week and my sisters plan to
come back to NYC for that milestone in my journey'
'My rock star nurses are very pleased with my recovery'
Her bone marrow transplant procedure was filmed on Good Morning America earlier this month, where surgeon Sergio Giralt was seen injecting the stem cells into Ms Roberts through an IV, and on completing the procedure, said: 'Go Sally, go!'
ABC News co-workers Diane Sawyer and Sam Champion were among the intimate group present.
Mr Champion told GMA at the time: 'It
was emotional, scary but at the same time it was exhilarating. I don't
think I'll ever forget the power and the love that was in that room.'
Positive atmosphere: GMA host Robin Roberts grins at the camera by her hospital bed as her closest friends and family sing before her bone marrow transplant
Go Sally, go! Surgeon Sergio Giralt was seen injecting the stem cells into Ms Roberts through an IV
GMA host will be continue to be closely monitored by doctors, as it
is crucial that they protect her from any possible germs or infection,
as her immune system was wiped out in preparation for the new cells, and
she is still vulnerable as they continue take hold.
'We actually check blood sometimes several times a day,' Dr Roboz said.
'You can start seeing normal blood cells recover and usually what I tell
people is when you get three days in a row of the white blood cells
coming up, then you’re starting to get excited that the graf is taking
The short procedure is a far cry from what many people expect a transplant to be, the oncologist added.
can believe it. People have in their mind all kinds of images of what
can happen in a transplant but it’s still an incredibly powerful
moment,' she said.
of that syringe are millions and millions of stem cells that are now
circulating around and trying to find their home and start growing which
is what we’re going to be looking for over the next couple of weeks.'
High-five! Ms Roberts greets her doctor as he arrives to inject the new stem cells into her body
Aint No Mountain High Enough: Ms Roberts sings with sisters Sally-Ann, her donor, and Dorothy
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
Ms Roberts released a video to fans prior to the transplant, in which she thanked them for their love.
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.
On form: The TV host pictured on GMA in August, before her admission to hospital
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.'
Ms Roberts, her doctors and her 'ABC
Family' have been keeping fans up-to-date on her progress.
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 has continued to write touching messages on her blog to let people know that she's staying positive.
The morning she was admitted to hospital, she wrote: 'Last Sunday to lift my spirits I threw a
little party at my apartment for my GMA family.
'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.
'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.'
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)
The star's bone
marrow transplant is to treat a rare blood disorder called
myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS – her sister Sally-Ann is the donor.
Ms Roberts will now 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.
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 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.'
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