(NEW YORK) — ABC’s Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts made her much-anticipated return to the show Wednesday morning, exactly five months after she went away on medical leave to get treatment for a rare blood disorder.
“I keep pinching myself and I realize that this is real. This is really happening,” Roberts, 52, said. “Faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment and I am so full of gratitude.”
“There’s so many people that I want to thank throughout the morning, my doctors and nurses and family and colleagues and people who have sat in this chair and those who have blazed the trail before me,” she added.
Roberts, underwent a bone marrow transplant in September to treat myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, a rare blood disorder. She received donor cells from her sister, Sally-Ann.
Since then, she’s been working with her medical team — and doing yoga and lifting light weights — to get her recovery on track.
“I just love how much stronger I feel,” Roberts said. “I love it. It’s so exciting.”
Staffers at GMA did their part to ensure a safe return for Roberts. There were voluntary flu shots — Roberts’ immune system is still vulnerable to infection — and her dressing room and workspace were diligently cleaned.
Roberts eased into her return by doing a test run of sorts last month. She did a rehearsal in the show’s Times Square studio, surrounded by a large group of people and bright studio lights. The result of that rehearsal would let her doctors know if she was strong enough to return to work.
She was ecstatic when her doctors approved her return, but she also acknowledged that she was nervous.
“I haven’t done live television since the end of August,” she said, speaking to her fellow GMA anchors in an interview that aired on the show Monday. “So I’m a little bit nervous, … but you got my back, … that’s what I’m not nervous about. … I know that you have my back.”
In a blog that she wrote earlier this month, Roberts thanked the public for its prayers and support, writing, “Your compassion has been an enormous source of comfort to me and my family.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Rachel Sande, EastIdahoNews.com
Jackie Wattles, CNN