To the triumphant strains of "The A-Team" TV series' theme music, "Today" co-anchor and weather forecaster Al Roker rejoined his colleagues on the NBC morning show on Monday, two weeks to the day after surgery for prostate cancer.
With fellow co-hosts Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Carson Daly sitting to his left, socially distanced from one another at Studio 1A in Rockefeller Center, the Queens-born Roker thanked the medical community, his family and his colleagues for their vociferous support.
"Well, I'll tell you," Roker, 66, said near the start of the show, "I had great surgeons, and a doctor, Vincent Laudone, at the Josie Robertson Surgical Center" at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where in a 5-hour operation on Nov. 9, his prostate and some accompanying tissue and lymph nodes were removed. "I had a lot of love from my family and Deborah and Nick and Leila and Courtney," Roker went on, referring to his wife of 25 years, ABC News reporter Deborah Roberts, and their children Nick, 18, and Leila, 22, as well as Roker's daughter Courtney, adopted as an infant in 1987 during a previous marriage.
"And a lot of you," he added of the TV audience, "and all of you here, just really took care of me."
Roker assured, "I feel good, I really do. … " The first week of January, I'll go and have blood work and hopefully my PSA [prostate-specific antigen] has dropped considerably," he said of a protein used as a marker for possible cancer. "For the next five years I'll get tested every six months."
Calling himself "a blessed man," Roker went on to joke, "Y'know, usually you're dead when you get all of this love!"
Later that morning, Roker on his Facebook page posted a screenshot of his wife's tweet reading, "2 weeks after prostate cancer surgery I'm thrilled to see my tenacious hubby bringing a sunny mood to morning TV again." Roker wrote in response, "Humbled and grateful …"
Last Tuesday, Roker appeared on "Today" via remote video from his home to declare he felt fine. "The technology has gotten so good — they did it with a robot — that I felt much better after the surgery than I did with any of my joint replacements," he said. Hearing his doctor say the prognosis was "excellent" proved "this great relief. I mean, look, we're not out of the woods … but for a first start, this is terrific news."