Alex Trebek’s wife Jean Trebek opened up about the one symptom she noticed that lead to her husbands pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
It all started while the 80-year-old host and his wife were on a trip to Israel in December 2018 and she said she noticed her husband’s complexion didn’t look right, per Jean’s recent essay for “Guideposts.” The comments were noted by the “Today” show in a piece published Thursday. (RELATED: Alex Trebek Announces He Was Diagnosed With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer)
When she asked the host of “Jeopardy!” how he was feeling she said he admitted he had some stomach pains and she decided it must’ve been from eating different foods while out of the country. (RELATED: Alex Trebek Begins New Season Of ‘Jeopardy!’ After Completing Cancer Treatment)
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But when they got back home to California and his condition didn’t seem to improve, the pair decided to go to the doctors.
“His doctor ran some tests, then some more,” Trebek‘s wife shared. “We weren’t so worried that we canceled a trip to New York. It was there, in our hotel, that we got a call from his doctor. ‘We need to see you as soon as you get back from your trip. We have some concerns.'”
The two opted then to cut their trip short. Alex went in for CT scan and “within hours” she said doctors said he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and that the tumor had spread to his stomach.
According to Dr. Anirban Maitra, scientific director of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the tell-tale signs of that kind of cancer is “jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, per NBC News.
“‘We need to get you on chemo, to stop the cancer from spreading,'” Jean said the doctors told them. “That was the first protocol. Alex would start right away. Once a week, I would take him to his appointment. I’d sit with him and then drive him back home. Look after him the way I once did for Chris [her older brother who died in a car accident].”
“No matter how resilient you are, cancer has a way of making you feel truly vulnerable,” she added. “Alex and I needed each other more than ever. I wondered then how long we had. More than a year and a half later, we’re still at it, every day a gift.”
Trebek’s wife continued, “With each passing day, I have found so much to be grateful for. Alex’s work. Our kids, our friends, a sunset, a flower blooming in our garden. This didn’t have to be a death sentence. It could be a life sentence. A constant reminder of how precious life is. The smallest things that I once took for granted now carry more meaning.”