Since the end of the 35th season of “Jeopardy!” beloved host Alex Trebek has been talking about how he’s dealing with his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and the side effects and pain that go along with trying to survive it.
In a clip from an interview set to air on Mother’s Day, the 78-year-old Trebek talks about the horrific pain he is in at times and his choice to push through and keep his promise to himself and viewers that he would continue to host the trivia show despite being sick.
“This got really bad. I was on the floor writhing in pain. It went from a 3 to an 11. And I just couldn’t believe. I didn’t know what was happening,” Trebek explained.
Earlier this year, doctors discovered a fist-sized lump in Trebek’s abdomen when he went to the doctor about stomach pain. The pain turned out to be a critical diagnosis of one of the deadliest forms of cancer due to its late-stage symptoms.
Patrick Swayze, Joan Crawford, and Steve Jobs all succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
But Trebek isn’t letting the grim diagnosis get in his way as he white-knuckled his way through days of taping rounds of “Jeopardy!”
“And it happened three or four times a day while we were taping,” he said. “So that was a little…little rough on me.”
“I taped the show and then I made it to the dressing room on one occasion, just barely, before I writhed in pain and cried in pain,” Trebek continued. “And I had 15 minutes before the next show. So, I got myself together and spasms of that kind usually last about 10 to 15 minutes. So, all right, here we go again: ‘Anybody got any pain pills?’ And, I don’t like taking pain pills. But I got through it.”
“And, the producers were very kind,” he recalled. “They said, ‘Look, if you don’t wanna do the show, we’ll just cancel taping.’ I said, ‘No. We’re here. We’re doing the shows.'”
Alex Trebek has been the host of “Jeopardy!” since 1984 and says he plans to return for the 36th season of the show in the fall, in which he says he has a challenge for viewers as well.
“And so what the challenge for ‘Jeopardy!’ viewers is right now is to figure out, ‘Is that Alex’s real hair or is that a full hairpiece?’ Because they all know that when you start chemo, you lose your hair. So, which is it?”
If there’s one thing Hollywood hair and makeup artists can do it’s make something fake look nearly indistinguishable from what’s real. Viewers will certainly have a time trying to figure it out next season.