Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek revealed several months ago that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But now, Trebek has revealed that it’s not the cancer that is hitting him the hardest.
According to Newsweek, Trebek recently told ABC host Michael Strahan that the chemotherapy he’s receiving as treatment is taking its toll. “The cancer won’t kill me, the chemo will kill me,” he said.
A “part of life”
Speaking of when he first received the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Trebek told Strahan: “I knew as soon as the doctor came back and mentioned the pancreas, ‘Uh oh, this is going to be cancer.'”
But to Trebek, it’s just “part of life.”
“Does that mean I’m courageous because I’m dealing with it? No. Maybe I am courageous,” the game show host added, joking: “Way to go, Alex.”
As for the chemotherapy, Trebek said he has been looking into other treatment options, including experimental procedures and medications. “I don’t know what comes next,” he said, according to Newsweek. “Let’s go for it.”
The power of prayer
Perhaps keeping Trebek grounded during this undoubtedly difficult time is his faith. “I believe in a higher power,” he told ABC. “He or she is busy enough looking after more serious problems in the world. But I don’t minimize the power of prayer.”
The game show host went on to admit that prospects for the future look grim for someone with Stage 4 cancer. “Most of us have an open-ended life. [For me,] it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a close-ended life,” he said. “I’m not sure I always have this positive frame of mind…[but] my self-deprecating humor is worth its weight in gold.”
Trebek also spoke about his inevitable final day of hosting Jeopardy! — the job he has held for more than 30 years.
“It’ll be a significant moment for me,” Trebek explained. “But I’ve kind of in my mind rehearsed it already. And what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end, that’s all I want.’ And I will say my goodbyes.”
He went on: “I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me, because I have no say in that whatsoever, but I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you’ve shown me for the past 30-however many years, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you, and goodbye.'”
No one knows for sure how much longer Alex Trebek has with us, but in the meantime, his calm demeanor and expressed faith in God in the face of a life-threatening disease should serve as inspirations for us all.