Alex Trebek Won't "Go to Extraordinary Measures" to Live If Cancer Treatment Fails
He writes that "quality of life was an important consideration" in his new memoir
Published Jul 21, 2020Today marks the release of Alex Trebek's memoir The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life, which arrives a day before his 80th birthday. While he had good news to share last week about his experimental immunotherapy, the book finds the Jeopardy! host looking ahead to a possible scenario in which the treatment doesn't work.
As the Canadian Press reports, Trebek writes in The Answer Is... that he will stop pursuing medical intervention should his current treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer fail to improve his health.
Trebek writes that he and his wife, Jean Currivan, and their two children had "a good cry" when he told them, writing that "quality of life was an important consideration" in his decision. Trebek adds that he's "lived a good, full life" and is "not afraid of dying."
"They handled it beautifully," Trebek told Good Morning America yesterday (July 20), explaining that he wouldn't "go to any extraordinary measures to ensure my survival."
He added, "They understand that there is a certain element regarding quality of life. 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.'"
The Answer Is... is also said to find Trebek reflecting on going public with his diagnosis, writing that he feels "a lot of pressure to always be tough." He also writes of continuing to work on Jeopardy! during his treatment, recalling days when he's been "a basket case" before taping only to have those feelings change when he gets onstage.
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: @Jeopardy host Alex Trebek speaks with our @tjholmes about undergoing an experimental treatment for pancreatic cancer and releasing a new memoir. https://t.co/gjPg9CURBj pic.twitter.com/TPLHOMprCL— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 20, 2020
"It all changes suddenly. I'm myself again. I feel good," he writes. "No matter how I feel before the show, when I get out there it's all forgotten because there's a show to be done. Work to do."
In a video update shared by Jeopardy! last week, Trebek said he was "doing well... [the treatment] is paying off, though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good, feeling great."
On Good Morning America yesterday, Trebek also spoke of his worry about being "a terrible burden" to his wife.
"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," he 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.
"She's a saint. She has so much goodness in her that she is always giving out, always putting out to help me get over difficult moments. And there have been some difficult moments. I'm just in awe of the way she handles it."
The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life is out today through Simon & Schuster.