11/12/2013 02:42 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Amy Robach's Shocking Announcement


As someone who works from home, I am not the type to need absolute stillness in order to concentrate. In fact, I find a little background noise to be a welcome companion in my empty house.

Even with family and chaos surrounding me, I am able to get in the zone when the creative urge strikes. I can write while sitting next to my husband, who watches Monday Night Football very, let's say, interactively, or peck away while my children and their friends clatter about.

So, even though morning news is usually a background drone that accompanies my first cup of coffee as I get to work, I happened to catch a segment yesterday that caused me to stop what I was doing and pay attention.

Amy Robach, an ABC reporter for "Good Morning America," announced on air that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy this week. It was a shocking piece of true reality TV.

But that's not the whole story.

As she described it to the viewers, she had to be convinced to get a routine mammogram. Busy with her family and career, she knew as a 40-year-old woman it was time, but kept putting it off. She was healthy, took care of herself and there was no history of cancer in her family.

Ultimately, she was persuaded by her colleagues at GMA to undergo the procedure on air (but obscured from view) as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, with the hope that viewers might be inspired to do likewise.

Her friend and GMA colleague, Robin Roberts, a breast cancer survivor herself, told her that if she saved one life by doing this, it would be worth it.

Little did Amy know that the life she would save would be her own.

The procedure went smoothly and she got high fives from her colleagues. Done, I'm sure she thought.

But then she got the dreaded phone call.

Turns out the mammogram images were abnormal. She was called back to undergo more tests. And then more tests. Finally, she received the shattering news.

Amy faced the cameras yesterday to tell this story. Visibly shaken, she nonetheless put on a brave face and said she was ready to fight this disease. She credited her producers and colleagues for pushing her to do this, for saving her life.

I applaud her for the decision to go public with this story is so that others may learn. My heart goes out to her and her family, and I pray that the early detection will mean she will win the fight against this terrible disease and, like Robin Roberts, show other women through her example the importance of getting a mammogram.