In the candid interview with Good Morning America, the 78-year-old game show host spoke to Robin Roberts, who is a cancer survivor herself.
No one likes being told they're wrong, and people who are constantly correcting others are rarely ever liked. But that's far from true for Alex Trebek. Hosting a show where his job is to correct his guests, this 78-year-old has managed to become one of the most loved game show hosts in the world with his intelligence, humor, and observant attitude. The Jeopardy! host recently opened up about his battle with cancer and the toll chemotherapy takes on people, both physically and mentally. And the honesty with which he opened up about the ordeal has struck a chord with many.
In an interview on Good Morning America, Alex Trebek opened up to Robin Roberts, who is a cancer survivor herself, and spoke about how draining chemotherapy can be. "My oncologist tells me I'm doing well even though I don't always feel it," he said. "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."
Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which though rare, is just as life-threatening as any other form of cancer. However, it is much harder to detect. He went on his show and personally shared the news with his viewers in the same grace and style that Trebek is famous for.
"Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer." While the news of this diagnosis and even the cure for cancer is not always effective, Trebek went on to add that with the support of his family and the prayers of his viewers, "I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."
The diagnosis of a disease that can potentially kill you is, without a doubt, difficult to handle. What makes it worse is the fragile state the treatment for cancer leaves you in. From losing your hair and weak immunity to depending on the help and support of others for even the smallest of tasks, chemotherapy can leave you in a bottomless pit of depression. It takes a toll on your body and mind that perhaps only another cancer survivor can understand. In the GMA interview, Trebek spoke to Robin Roberts who understood his struggle well, given that she herself was diagnosed with and managed to beat breast cancer. "Chemo affects people in different ways and people have to understand that. There's nothing wrong with saying 'Hey I'm really depressed today and I have no idea why, why am I crying today?"
Trebek is known to joke and lighten up the room with an infectiously positive attitude. His witty humor, empathy, and calm demeanor have earned him the love and respect of his viewers and rivals alike.
The game show host is also known for his unbridled honesty, which was visible as he spoke about how dark the battle against cancer can get. "I have to get strong because the chemo takes it out of you. I feel so weak all the time and that's not a good place to be."
When asked about how the positive attitude has helped him through this tough time, Trebek said, "I go in, and I sit down, I joke with the nurses and I'm there for an hour and a half while they inject all this stuff into me and then I go home and I have a good day. Then the next day for no reason that I can fathom, it turns south on me. But that's okay, you have to deal with it. What am I gonna do, it is something that I'm afflicted with, we are dealing with it chemically and spiritually, those are positives [sic] And hopefully everything will turn out well and I'll be back on the air come this September."
Trebek hopes to be back on the family game show for its 36th season. Having been the face of Jeopardy! for the last 35 seasons, the 78-year-old has hosted almost 8000 episodes so far and holds the Guinness record for hosting the highest number of episodes for a single show ever.
Trebek also spoke about the need to raise awareness on this particular kind of cancer "because we never discover pancreatic cancer until its too late." He added that he will be running a walkathon in LA to raise awareness on pancreatic cancer to gather funds for research into it. The diagnosis may have been for the last stage of cancer, but the 78-year-old hopes to come out strong and back on the screens with his viewers. "I think I have learned that I am an extremely lucky individual because, despite the fact that this diagnosis is not a good one, I have managed to receive so much love from so many people."
Diagnosis of a disease with no cure can leave many in a pit of despair, and while Trebek opened up the mental toll it can take on you, he has also spoken about how he hopes to beat it. Coming from someone who has managed to win the hearts of millions over a long and enviable career as the face of one of the most loved shows by families across the US, Trebek's honesty and positive attitude is sure to give hope to many.
Watch the full interview here: