As he battles Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek told Good Morning America that he was worried about the impact of the disease on his wife, Jean.
“There was one day a few weeks ago,” she said, “when Jeanie asked me, ‘How do you feel?’ and I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ It was that bad.”
He apologized immediately, and then explained: “I feel like I’m a terrible burden to her. And that bothers me tremendously.”
“She’s a saint,” he said, talking about Jean. “She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out to help me overcome difficult moments. I’m just in awe…” he trailed off and then added emotionally, “the way she handles it.”
Jeopardy! will begin taping in a few weeks and Trebek stated that he was confident he will still be able to host, if only because how he feels when he steps on stage.
“I’m good at faking it. Suck[ing] it up,” he said, revealing the powerful effect taping has for him. “I suddenly wake up and I’m able to perform and handle the show. Because I like it. It’s a good job!”
He also revealed that his numbers were good health-wise.
“They do a blood test to see what my CA 19 numbers are, and the CA 19 numbers are an indicator of how your pancreatic cancer is progressing,” he explained. “Eight weeks ago, the numbers were at about 3,500. Now, they’re below 100. So I’m going in the right direction. The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks…They usually see it going up [steadily]. I’m a bit of an anomaly.”
In a YouTube video last week, Trebek stated that his one-year battle included “moments of great pain” and “massive attacks of great depression” which left him wondering what the point of “fighting on” was – he brushed aside these doubts as a betrayal to his wife, his family, fans, other cancer patients, and his faith in God.
“My doctor has told me that he is counting on me celebrating two years of survivorship past the diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and that two years happens in February,” Trebek told GMA. “So I expect to be around — because he said I will be around — and I expect to be hosting the show if I am around.”
However, he stated that he wouldn’t take any other extraordinary measures if the experimental treatment didn’t work.
“I’ll just continue with chemo and see what happens,” he said. “If the quality of life is not there, it’s hard sometimes to push and just say, ‘Well, I’m going to keep going, even though I’m miserable.’”
Speaking about the show, he stated he couldn’t wait to get back to work: “It sure as hell would be nice to get back to work. I miss it.”
Sources: America Now