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The news may still feel fresh to many, but believe it or not, it has been one year since Alex Trebek revealed his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The outlook for many with the illness is pretty grim, but Trebek has soldiered on and remained host of Jeopardy! while battling the illness. Now, on the anniversary of his public announcement, Trebek had an update to share with the world.
The one-year survival rate for stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%. I’m very happy to report I have just reached that marker. Now I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will. There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned, and sudden massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it was really worth fighting on.
That last bit of the above may be rough for Jeopardy! fans to hear, but Alex Trebek been open and honest to serve as a representative for others battling cancer. It would be disingenuous or potentially do others a disservice not to be honest about his low points, as opposed to being the superhuman game show host he has looked like on television in the past year.
The good news is, Alex Trebek told viewers in his message that he did eventually pull out of that funk. Ultimately, he realized continuing the fight was worth doing for his wife, and the many others who have followed his journey and offered their support in various ways.
But I brushed that aside quickly because that would’ve been a massive betrayal. A betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. I would’ve been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts of the value of living and hope. And it certainly would’ve been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.
In the final part of his message, Alex Trebek mentioned the two-year survival rate for those with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is even lower. 7% isn't a great number anyone wants to hear, but Trebek said his oncologist "was certain," the two of them would be sitting in his office a year from now celebrating another year of life since Trebek's diagnosis. Trebek felt positive about the future as well, and added that if anyone can take things one day at a time with a positive mindset, "anything is possible."
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