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'When It's Time to Go, It's Time to Go': Alex Trebek Reflects on His Devotion to Wife, Family and Jeopardy!

07-20-2020
alextrebek
Alex Trebek. (AP Photo)

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, who has battled Stage 4 pancreatic cancer for more than a year, said he admires how well his wife Jean is handling the situation.

The 79-year-old became emotional when he referred to Jean as a "saint" for helping him through the "difficult moments," Good Morning America reports.

"I'm just in awe of the way she handles it," he said.

Trebek shared that the journey hasn't been easy and there are good and bad days.

"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 said. "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."

He revealed that during the difficult times, he has to overlook the pain so he can get through the workday.

"I'm good at faking it," he said. "There have been tough moments. And I don't know what it is, but when it's time to go, it's time to go. Let's do it. Get out there, suck it up, make it happen."

But his devotion to Jeopardy! makes each day easier. 

"It's something that I can't explain intellectually. At a gut level, without even thinking about it, it just happens," Trebek said. "I suddenly wake up and I'm able to perform and handle the show because I like it. It's a good job."

He is currently undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment for the disease.

"I'm going in the right direction," Trebek explained. "The doctors have said they have never seen a chart like mine because there are peaks. I said, 'What do you mean - you don't - you haven't - you don't see that often? What do you usually see?' They usually see it going up. I'm a bit of an anomaly."

Even though the cancer treatment appears to be working, Trebek said if that changes, he's "not going to go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival."

He said it was difficult to explain to his family, but "they handled it beautifully."

"They understand that there is a certain element regarding quality of life," Trebek said. "And if the quality of life is not there - it's hard sometimes to push. And just say, 'Well, I'm gonna keep going even though I'm miserable."

Trebek's new memoir, The Answer Is...Reflections On My Life is available on July 21. Proceeds from book sales will be donated to charity. 

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