Robin Roberts GMA return coming as soon as February
NEW YORK (AP) - Robin Roberts' grueling road to recovery will be bringing her back to the "Good Morning America" anchor desk soon.
Appearing from her home on Monday's show, Roberts wore a broad smile as she announced that her most recent bone marrow test showed no sign of the life-threatening disease that has kept her off the air for months.
That means she can begin the process of returning to the anchor chair, she said, emphasizing she needs to go through a "process of re-entry."
She said she hopes to be back "in weeks, not months," perhaps as soon as February.
"I'm coming home," she declared during a festive appearance complete with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" played as a musical accompaniment.
One of Roberts' physicians, Dr. Gail Roboz, said the test last week gave them the results "we were looking for: Right now, did we get rid of what we started out trying to get rid of?"
She described Roberts' recovery process as "no vacation - this has been brutal."
The good news came 138 days after Roberts' September bone marrow transplant. The donor for the 52-year-old Roberts was her older sister, Sally-Ann.
"Her cells continue to make themselves at home in my body," Roberts said.
In June, she disclosed that she had MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease. Her last day on "GMA" was Aug. 30 before she began extended medical leave from the ABC morning show, which last summer overtook longtime ratings leader "Today."
"I haven't been live on television since the end of August," she reminded her colleagues Monday. "My heart is beating so fast right now. But that means I'm alive. I'm alive!"
But since Roberts began her leave, she hasn't exactly been absent from "GMA." Reports on her condition have been faithfully showcased on the show, maybe to excess in the minds of some observers.
Pressed for details on her return by her co-anchor, George Stephanopoulos, Roberts likened her getting back on the air full-time to an athlete getting back on the field after an injury.
"They don't go right back into the starting lineup. They go to practice, they throw the ball, and see how their body reacts," she explained.
One preliminary step: "I got up at 4 a.m. this morning," she said proudly. "I've got to get back on 'GMA' time."
Next week, she will go through a dry run: arriving at the studio and getting into makeup as if she were about to do the show, but stopping short of actually going on camera. This will be a test to see how her body reacts to the stress of being back in the studio environment, she said, adding that she will even need to re-accustom her skin to the studio lights.
After the dry run, Roberts and her doctors will re-evaluate her status to further pinpoint a return date.
"We're going to take it step by step," she said.