Just one week after Alex Trebek returned to host his 36th season of Jeopardy!, the 79-year-old host has revealed that he is facing more chemotherapy because his “numbers went sky high.” Trebek received a diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in March, and while his first rounds of chemotherapy were successful, things went south once he switched to immunotherapy.
Trebek told ABC News that he was “doing so well” after his initial chemotherapy treatment and he cried “happy tears” when he found out it was working.
“My numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic. And they said, ‘Good, we’re gonna stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy,’” explained Trebek.
But then he lost 12 pounds in one week and his numbers skyrocketed to higher than they were when he first received his diagnosis, and doctors told Trebek that his best course of action was more chemotherapy.
When he first received his diagnosis, Trebek says he was down on himself. He says that he didn’t realize how fallible each of us is in our way, and he would get teary-eyed for no reason when talking to the audience. However, he doesn’t try to explain it anymore. Instead, he just experiences it because it is part of who he is, and he just keeps going.
Trebek says he has experienced depression as well as “excruciating pain” and “fatigue” while battling cancer, but he knows his chemo was successful the first time around because he had a “couple million people out there” who have “their positive energy directed” toward him.
The beloved talk show host remains optimistic about his cancer battle, and he even has brought humor to the fight. When he announced his diagnosis on YouTube, he ended the video by telling fans that he has to beat cancer because he has to host Jeopardy! for three more years.
Now, he says that he realizes there is an end in sight for him, but the thought of passing on doesn’t scare him.
“I’m 79-years-old. I’ve had one hell of a good life. I’ve enjoyed it,” said Trebek.
Despite all of this, he doesn’t have any plans to stop working. Trebek says as long as he can walk out and greet the audience and contestants and run the game, then he is happy.
New episodes of Jeopardy! air weekdays in syndication and classic episodes are currently streaming on Netflix.