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Alex Trebek gives first interview since pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Alex Trebek discussed his cancer diagnosis with

 Alex Trebek discussed his cancer diagnosis with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" on May 1, 2019. Credit: Walt Disney Television/Paula Lobo

In his first live interview since announcing last month that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, longtime "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek says he is grateful for the public's support and that fighting the disease has taught him about himself.

"My oncologist tells me I'm doing well, even though I don't always feel it," Trebek, 78, said Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I've had kidney stones, I've had ruptured discs, so I'm used to dealing with pain. But what I'm not used to dealing with is these surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness. And it brings tears to my eyes," he said — adding jokingly, "I've discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentlemen, that I'm a bit of a wuss."

Still, he assured, "I'm fighting through it. My platelets are steady, my blood counts are steady, my weight is steady. The numbers that indicate the cancer … are coming down. So I've got another chemo next week and then we'll do a review to find out where things stand."

Trebek, who has won a slew of Daytime Emmy Awards since launching the syndicated version of the previously network gameshow in 1984, said chemotherapy made him weak, but otherwise downplayed it.

"It's no big deal," he insisted. "I go in and I sit down, I joke with the nurses and I'm there for an hour-and-a-half while they inject all this stuff into me, and then I go home. And I have a good day," he said, while conceding that, "The next day, for no reason that I can fathom, it turns south on me. But that's OK. You have to deal with it. … And hopefully everything is going to turn out well and I'll be back on the air with original programming come this September."

Despite the ordeal, "I've learned that I'm an extremely lucky individual, because in spite of the fact that this diagnosis is not a good one, I have managed to receive so much love from so many people, and quite often you don't get that during your lifetime. After you're passed, after you're dead, people say so, 'Oh, he was such a good guy, we really liked him.' But I'm getting that all before that event. So it makes me feel really, really good."

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