Alex Trebek remained in good spirits through an appearance on Good Morning America Wednesday despite the topic of discussion. In once again opening up about his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis, the Jeopardy! host revealed he’s “fighting through” the treatments, but has been plagued with “surges” of “deep deep sadness” from chemotherapy.
“My oncologist tells me I’m doing well, even though I don’t always feel it,” Trebek told Robin Roberts on the morning show. “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 are 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.”
Roberts, who was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer in 2007 and beat it, understood what Trebek meant by these sudden states of depression. “Been there, done that,” she said.
“Chemo affects people in different ways and people have to understand that,” Trebek continued. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘Hey, I’m really depressed today and I have no idea why. Why am I crying today?'”
The game show host joked that he timed his diagnosis right with the end of the current season of Jeopardy! He’s hopeful he’ll be back hosting again come September, but it means taking the summer months to “recuperate and get strong again.”
“I just have to get strong because, as you know, the chemo takes it out of you,” he told Roberts. “I feel so weak all the time and that’s not a good place to be.” Currently, he said, “my platelets, my blood counts are steady, my weight is steady. The cancer indicators, those are coming down. So, I’ve got another chemo next week and we’ll do another review to see where things stand.”
Since announcing his cancer diagnosis in a video message on March 6, Trebek received an outpouring of support from fans of Jeopardy!, as well as cancer survivors. He counts himself “an extremely lucky individual” in the face of his current condition. “I have managed to receive so much love from so many people and, quite often, you don’t get that during your lifetime,” he said.