Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is continuing to battle stage 4 pancreatic cancer. While his experimental immunotherapy treatment has seen him "going in the right direction," it hasn’t always been easy. Speaking with Good Morning America Monday ahead of the release of his memoir, The Answer Is …: Reflections On My Life, the 79-year-old game show host recalled a more difficult moment amid his battle in which he told his wife Jean that he wanted to die.
"There was one day a few weeks ago when Jeanie asked me in the morning, 'How do you feel?’ And I said, 'I feel like I wanna die.' It was that bad," Trebek, who called his wife a "saint" and credited her with helping him through his battle, recalled. "I apologize to her and explain that it has nothing to do with my love for her or my feelings for her. It just has to do with the fact that I feel like I’m a terrible burden to her. And that bothers me tremendously."
Trebek went on to explain that amid the treatment, he has had many difficult days, though he said that he is "good at faking it." He said that those "tough moments" have occurred at both home and work, explaining that he experiences pain at night, and along with crediting his wife for helping him through those days, Jeopardy! has kept him going. Trebek said that "it's something that I can’t explain intellectually" and that "at a gut level, without even thinking about it, it just happens." He said that despite the difficulties he has experienced, "I suddenly wake up and I'm able to perform and handle the show because I like it. It's a good job."
The experimental treatment that he is receiving is the same treatment that former Sen. Harry Reid, who was also diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is now in remission, received. Trebek explained that doctors perform blood tests to check his CA 19 numbers, revealing that within the span of just eight weeks, his numbers have dropped from 3,500 to "below 100," signaling that he is "going in the right direction."
He said that the positive progress he has made, along with important things going on in his life, such as the release of his memoir, have given him a will to survive, which he admits might be keeping him from "getting his affairs in order." He said that "there's something in the back of my mind that says, 'Woah, hold on a second, host, breathe. Maybe you're gonna be around for a little while longer.'"
During the interview, the Jeopardy! host revealed that doctors have expressed hope that he will be around to mark the two-year anniversary of his diagnosis in February. He explained that "I expect to be around 'cause he said I will be around." He also said that as that date rolls around, he still expects to be hosting the game show.