Robin Roberts returned to the "Good Morning America" anchor desk this morning, five months to the day since she underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, a rare blood disorder.
"I have been waiting 174 days to say this: 'Good Morning America!,'" Roberts, 52, said in the show's open.
"I keep pinching myself and I realize that this is real. This is really happening," she said. "Faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment and I am so full of gratitude."
On hand at the show's Times Square studio for Roberts' return to "GMA" were her co-anchors George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer and Sam Champion, and a studio full of the family, friends and fans who supported her, as well as the doctors and nurses who guided her recovery.
"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," Roberts said.
"As my mother said, ‘We all have something,'" she said. "Everyone’s story has purpose and meaning and value and I share this morning, this day of celebration, with everyone."
The official announcement of Roberts' return was made Feb. 6 after her most recent test showed no signs of abnormalities and she received the all-clear from her doctors. Roberts then did a series of "dry runs" at the "GMA" studio in Times Square to start acclimating herself again to the anchor chair, testing the studio lights on her sensitive skin and eyes, and adjusting to those early morning wake-up calls.
Roberts and her doctors – Dr. Gail Roboz of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Dr. Sergio Giralt of New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - will now take a day-by-day approach to her recovery and listen to Roberts' body in determining how often she appears on "GMA."
"Today is a dress rehearsal," Giralt said on "GMA." "It's her first show and we're going to see how she feels tomorrow. Tomorrow we're going to debrief. We're going to sit down. We're going to talk. How do you feel? How was it? How tired are you? And depending on how this marathon weekend looks and how she feels on Monday, we'll decide is it good to do three times a week, five times a week."
Earlier this month, Roberts traveled to her home state of Louisiana with "GMA" co-anchors Elliott and Champion to see family and friends and enjoy some Super Bowl festivities. The milestone visit started with a warm welcome by students from her alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University, and was an important part in her emotional recovery, she explained in a Facebook post.
Another of Roberts' recovery milestones was reached when Stephanopoulos announced last Thursday on "GMA" that she would appear on the red carpet at this Sunday's Oscar ceremony. It was at the Oscars one year ago that Roberts has said she started feeling badly and one of her recovery goals was to be back in time for this year's ceremony. She will also soon interview first lady Michelle Obama.
"We didn't exactly have in mind an interview with Mrs. Obama and the Oscars for this weekend as an easy start," Dr. Roboz said to Roberts today on "GMA." "That was not right up there for what we had in mind for easing back in but Dr. Giralt and I are learning to cope and we're hopeful that the strength that you're showing right now is just going to keep on going."
Roberts will also share her personal journey on a special edition of "20/20" Friday, Feb. 22, at 10 p.m. ET. The hour will offer a candid behind-the-scenes look at Roberts' experience and those who have drawn hope and courage from her example.
CLICK HERE to Follow Roberts' Journey