Strength Through Cancer & Divorce
- TV journalist Amy Robach, 50, is celebrating beating stage 2 invasive breast cancer 10 years ago. We admire Robach for her ongoing resilience and strength through adversity, as she’s also recently overcome divorce.
- Robach’s health journey had an impact on strengthening her resilience in the face of adversity.
- She’s been hit with cancer treatment and a divorce, however, she maintains a smile on her face throughout life and continues to set goals for herself, life running marathons.
- Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik previously told SurvivorNet that emotions will be fluid when battling cancer. SurvivorNet has other great mental health resources for you, as well as films that will inspire you.
- Cancer patients oftentimes find themselves navigating a wide range of emotions that impact their mental health. When it comes to dealing with anxiety and stress, psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin says it’s important to have a healthy relationship with your anxiety and get to know it rather than fear it, avoid it, or push it away.
We admire Robach for her ongoing resilience and strength through adversity, as she’s also recently overcome divorce from her husband of 13 years, Andrew Shue.Read More
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Robach is photographed sitting in a chair, with blanket covering her lap and a smile on her face, while she holds up one arm to show off her bicep muscle, showing her strength.
Meanwhile, the former “Good Morning America” host has been dating fellow and former “GMA” host TJ Holmes after her divorce from actor Andrew Shue.
Robach, who has two daughters Ava and Annalise, whom she shares with her first husband Tim McIntosh (they divorced in 2009), appears to have handled the major life change well. She was declared legally single this past April according to US Weekly. While married to Shue, Robach was the stepmother to Nate, Aidan and Wyatt, her now ex husband’s three sons, whom he shares with Jennifer Hageney.
Expert Breast Cancer Resources
- Introduction to Early-Stage Breast Cancer
- Is a Preventative Mastectomy Right for Me?
- 5 Things That Do Not Cause Breast Cancer, Because Facts Matter
- Breast Reconstruction After Cancer is Not a Boob Job; What To Know About The Surgery & Clearing Up The Misconception
- What are the Treatment Options for Late-Stage Breast Cancer?
- Should I Have a Lumpectomy or Mastectomy?
Robach refused to let cancer get in the way of her living her best life, in fact, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with her family four years after beating cancer in 2014, to say, “I’m alive and kicking and have a lot more living to do,” she told US Weekly in an earlier interview.
She admitted the January 2019 trip was a “hard” climb, but it helped her better understand that she can get passed any tough time.
“You’re also thinking, like, ‘I’m alive, I can do this. I’m with the people I love, so it was an awesome way to celebrate,'” she added.
As the mother of two continues life in remission, with divorce behind her, Robach and Holmes are preparing for the New York City marathon, something they often take to their social media platforms to show them training.
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Amy Robach’s Breast Cancer Journey
Amy Robach’s cancer journey began after being encouraged by Robin Roberts during a segment on the morning show. Like Roberts, who also learned of her cancer diagnosis while undergoing a self-exam, Robach underwent a mammogram on the program to promote breast cancer awareness.
.@ABC News anchor @arobach opens up about the lessons she learned while battling breast cancer in 2013: "Realize how precious time is and no one is guaranteed a tomorrow." 💗 https://t.co/9BUBbAnKcD pic.twitter.com/aCkglXFn8p
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 29, 2020
It was Robach’s cancer screening which led to her diagnosis of stage 2 invasive breast cancer. She also learned cancer had spread to her sentinel lymph nodes.
After her tumor was detected, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy (also called a double mastectomy), where both breasts were removed. Following the procedure, Robach underwent six months of chemotherapy. Luckily, her treatments helped her reach remission.
Robach previously told SurvivorNet in an interview that her cancer diagnosis brought her closer to her ex husband, Melrose Place star Andrew Shue. Sometimes, a major health condition can strengthen relationships as both individuals find support and strength with each other. However, the opposite can also be true if the relationship is already struggling.
The former ABC News reporter also spoke about some of the trials and tribulations you undergo as you take on cancer.
Robach’s cancer journey strengthened her compassion for others. She says she developed a new kind of compassion that wasn’t possible before her experience with breast cancer.
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“Cancer is something that has changed my life forever, something that I will always live with. There’s anger at first because you’ve lost security, and you’ve never had it to begin with. None of us have security, but you are grieving this loss of security because we all feel like there’s tomorrow,” Robach said.
“We all feel like there’s another day. When you get to something like this, you’re angry that you lost that. That’s been taken away from you. From that anger, I think, grew compassion and empathy.”
Robach considers that loss of security one of the gifts that cancer can bring. “You truly can feel other people’s pain in a way that you couldn’t have before.”
How to be Resilient in the Face of Adversity
Robach’s health journey had an impact on strengthening her resilience in the face of adversity. She’s been hit with cancer treatment and a divorce, however, she maintains a smile on her face throughout life and continues to set goals for herself, life running marathons.
Resilience is an important trait to have in the face of adversity such as cancer.
WATCH: Resilience: Staying Positive Despite Adversity
SurvivorNet spotlighted this important cancer-fighting trait in the film “Resilience,” which is streaming on SurvivorNet. It follows the lives of three athletes who are living with a health challenge yet overcame adversity.
You can build resilience the way you build muscle through patience and steady exercise of the skill. Here are some lessons taken from the film.
- Be willing to learn. If one way doesn’t work, find a different way. If an obstacle lands in your way, build a path around it or over it.
- Spend time with people who inspire you.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Don’t push away or dismiss your frustration and sadness. Give yourself grace when your emotions run high.
- Be flexible. Understand there are multiple ways to accomplish a goal. If your original method does not work, find another.
- Lean into your community. Consider using your support group made up of your friends, colleagues, and family. Remember when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by a problem, their support can carry you.
Managing Your Mental Health in the Face of a Health Challenge or Major Life Change
It’s only natural for health challenges and divorce have some sort of effect on one’s mental health. Although Robach appears to be coping well with all the changes, it’s important to note that the diagnosis of a cancer or disease or some external stressor like a troubled relationship can offset your mental health in ways you least expect.
Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik previously told SurvivorNet that emotions will be fluid when facing a diagnosis. SurvivorNet has some tips to help keep your mental and emotional health in a good space if you find yourself coping with a stressful situation.
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Struggling to leave bed in the morning because of your mood
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
- Inability to perform normal daily functions and responsibilities
Equally as important is recognizing the value of self-care. The National Institute of Mental Health offers practical guidance on how to boost your weekly self-care routine.
- Regularly exercising
- Eating healthy, regular meals
- Staying hydrated
- Prioritizing sleep
- Exploring relaxation programs or techniques
- Setting goals/priorities
- Staying positive
- Connecting with others
Battling cancer comes with a ton of emotions. These can range from “anxiety, depression, financial toxicity, social isolation, and PTSD,” SurvivorNet expert and researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center Dr. Shelly Tworoger says.
Psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin also shared some simple tips to help you maintain good mental health and reduce stress amid adversity.
When it comes to dealing with anxiety, Dr. Strongin says it’s important to have a healthy relationship with your anxiety and get to know it rather than fear it, avoid it, or push it away.
Dr. Strongin explained, “By learning more about your anxious thoughts and tendencies, one can begin to answer their anxious thoughts even in moments when there aren’t any answers. For cancer patients, the worry thoughts tend to be, ‘Will I survive?’
“It’s important to let those thoughts come in and really be able to tolerate them before answering them. This is a very powerful coping skill.”
Dr. Strongin suggests medications to help with anxiety and depression if other approaches are not as effective. She also urges cancer warriors to explore telemedicine.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you find yourself struggling with a diagnosis or helping a loved one cope with their emotions, consider asking your doctor the following questions:
- How can I go about improving my outlook/mental health?
- Are there any activities I can do to encourage positive feelings?
- When should I seek other interventions if I’m still struggling?
- What are the steps to finding a different therapist if the one I’m using is not working out?
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff