NY1 anchor and theater critic Roma Torre, who took a medical leave from her job on Aug. 22 to have colon cancer surgery, is returning to the air waves with a "good news!" attitude.
"The outpouring of love and support showed me there is so much more good in this world than evil," said Torre, who can be seen today in previously taped segments of "On Stage" and returns Monday as a daytime anchor. "We lose perspective being in the news business, because we're always covering something negative," but the innate goodness and warmth of strangers who reached out to encourage her filled her with optimism. "I'd forgotten there's such generosity in the world: It renews my faith in humanity," said Torre, who lives with her husband in a Montclair, New Jersey, house that "looked like a mortuary" as a result of all the bouquets she received.
Torre, who has a son and a daughter in college, returned to her other gig, introducing new movies on Time Warner's online site, Vutopia, Oct. 1.
The 56-year-old newscaster lost about eight pounds as a result of her operation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Despite delaying a routine colonoscopy for six years, her cancer was caught early (it was defined as "Stage 2").
"I feel terrific," she said.
Even more miraculously, she encountered no problems with her insurance: "So far, I haven't paid a penny," in uncovered costs, she reported.
Torre recently accepted an invitation to appear as a special guest at a fundraiser for "Michael's Mission," a charity devoted to improving the lives and treatment options for people with colorectal cancer. "I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to get the word out. Screening is absolutely mandatory," by age 50 for everyone, and even earlier for people who have a family history of the disease, said a grateful Torre. "My kids have to get (a colonoscopy) when they're 40. They're like, 'thanks, mom!'" she laughed.
Torre had a lifelong terror of cancer, but now realizes the disease "is just another health issue that has to be contended with: It's not the end of the line."
She is also amused to find herself as a high-profile member of a vast fraternity of people who have grappled with their own mortality and emerged the wiser -- and friendlier -- as a result of the fight. "I was at a subway on Canal Street and saw a gentleman pulling a cart. He just looked at me and said, 'I'm a cancer survivor too -- way to go!'"