A Renewed Sense of Purpose After Cancer
- Journalist Amy Robach, 50, preparation for the New York City marathon shows she’s continuing to focus on her health years after surviving breast cancer. The former “GMA” host was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) and chemotherapy to treat it and reach remission.
- Robach told SurvivorNet in an interview that her cancer experience changed her outlook on life and that she is more compassionate and empathetic towards herself and others.
- Your mental health will likely be impacted when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik says leaning on your support group helps navigate your emotions, and sometimes, seeking help from a mental health professional is also helpful.
Journalist Amy Robach, 50, is spending much of her time preparing for a big marathon run in New York City. Recent Instagram posts show the former “Good Morning America” host donning blue spandex and orange sneakers with her game face in full form. Her marathon preparations illustrate how she’s been able to move ahead with life after battling breast cancer. Her strength and resilience continue to offer hope for other women still in the thick of their journeys.
View this post on InstagramRead More“The Sun” photographers snapped photos of Robach training for the New York City marathon just weeks away.
She’s remained committed, rain or shine, to be at her best.
“Pushing through the rain and the wind today!” Robach wrote in her Instagram caption.
The breast cancer survivor and advocate serve as a beacon of hope for others who faced adversity and still managed to push through. Robach’s challenges have been publicly documented, from her ousting from “GMA” to, more importantly, her public breast cancer journey.
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Robach’s Breast Cancer Journey
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
Robach’s screening 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 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.
Robach also discussed a few 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.
“Cancer is something that has changed my life forever, something that I will always live with,” Amy expressed. “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. 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.”
Amy 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.”
Helping You Cope With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik tells SurvivorNet that cancer patients’ emotions can range from anger to sadness and fear in a short span of time.
WATCH: Helping you cope with complex emotions.
“The patient or person going through the stressful event should accept that emotions will be fluid. You may feel fine one day and then feel a massive wave of stress the next. It’s also important for those you look to for support, whether that’s a therapist, friends, family, or both, to understand the fluidity of stress-related emotions,” Dr. Plutchik said.
SurvivorNet recommends checking in on your mental health if you are coping with a stressful diagnosis. Your mindset impacts your ability to cope, and the added stress may require the assistance of a mental health professional. This could mean traditional talk therapy, medication, changing lifestyle habits (like exercise and diet), seeking a support group, or many other approaches.
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?