Alex Trebek Opens Up About Surges of "Deep, Deep Sadness" During Cancer Battle

Longtime Jeopardy host sits down for his first interview since revealing his diagnosis in March

By Jamie Blynn May 01, 2019 1:33 PMTags
Alex TrebekPicture Perfect/Shutterstock

Alex Trebek is a fighter through and through. 

The Jeopardy host sat down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts this morning for his first live interview since revealing he has stage four pancreatic cancer earlier this year

"People all over America have been sharing their good thoughts, their advice, their prayers and I feel it's been making a difference in my wellbeing," Trebek said. "I've had so many contacts from people who have survived cancer for 10 years, 12 years, 14 years. I am now a 30-day cancer survivor. I'm going to catch up to those other people. But they have been an inspiration to me."

Celeb Cancer Survivors

Still, it has not been an easy battle. Though his oncologist says he is doing well, "I don't always feel it," the 78-year-old confessed. "I've had kidney stones, I've had ruptured discs, so I'm used to dealing with pain. But what I'm not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness and it brings tears to my eyes. I've discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentlemen, that I'm a bit of a wuss. But I'm fighting through it."

And learning to accept the array emotions he's typically not used to experiencing. "Chemo affects people in different ways, and people have to understand that," he said. " There's nothing wrong with saying ‘Hey, I'm really depressed today and have no idea why. Why am I crying today?'"

Next week, he will undergo another chemo treatment—"I joke with the nurses and I'm there for an hour and a half while they inject all this stuff into me," he said—and then his doctors will elevate where everything stands. So far, his weight, blood count and platelets are steady and his cancer indicator numbers are beginning to lower, he revealed.

During Jeopardy's summer hiatus, his focus will be on building up his strength. And, as he has continues to insist, he will be back in the fall for season 36. "The chemo takes it out of you. I feel so weak all the time," he added. "We are dealing with it chemically and spiritually and those are positives. Hopefully everything is going to turn out well and I'll be back on the air with original programming come this September."

In true Trebek style, he has turned this journey's ups and downs into a lesson. "I've learned that I'm an extremely lucky individual," he concluded. "In spite of the fact this diagnosis is not a good one, I have managed to receive so much love from so many people and quite often you don't get that during your lifetime...It makes me feel really, really good."

Our thoughts and prayers are with Trebek and his family during this time.