Robin Roberts Told 'Humans of New York' a Very Personal Hospital Story
The TV personality was diagnosed in the past with two life-threatening illnesses — first breast cancer and then a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome. During her treatment, there was a time when Roberts was in so much pain that she began to slip away. Then, something happened to bring her back.
“Before my bone marrow transplant, I had to have my immune system completely wiped out with chemotherapy,” Roberts told HONY. “I went into the hospital thinking that I was going to do a lot of reading and watch old movies and catch up on work. One thing that I didn’t fully anticipate was the isolation that I’d feel. I knew I’d be physically isolated. The doctors and nurses wore masks so all I could see were their eyes. And nobody touched me unless they were administering medicine. But the pain and weakness brought me to a place where I felt completely alone. I got so weak that I couldn’t even formulate a thought. I dropped to 115 pounds. The pain got so bad that I felt like I’d swallowed a blowtorch. At one point I actually gave up. I made everyone leave my room, even my partner, and I started slipping away. I hallucinated my mother’s voice calling my name. I heard it very distinctly. But when I opened my eyes– it was my nurse Jenny that was calling me. At the point of my greatest isolation, it was almost as if my mother used Jenny’s voice to call me back.”
Roberts first took a leave of absence from GMA in September 2012 to undergo treatment for her diseases. She made her triumphant return to the show in January 2013.