Alex Trebek's Wife Jean Says His Cancer Diagnosis Made Them 'Truly Vulnerable'

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Alex Trebek Jean Trebek
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

Jean Currivan Trebek is finding joy in life even while facing one of her biggest challenges. The wife of Alex Trebek penned an essay for Guiding Post about what life has been like since the Jeopardy! host was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Jean recalls the first time she noticed that something was off with her husband. "We’d gone to Israel to visit the sites of the Holy Land in December 2018, taking our son and daughter, Matthew and Emily, then 27 and 24," she remembers. "We’d finished dinner one night, and I looked across the table at Alex. His coloring seemed off. 'You feeling OK?' I asked. 'I’m good,' he said. Alex is not one to complain. But he admitted that he was having some stomach pains. I figured, okay, we were in a different country. Maybe it was something he ate."

It wasn't long after they returned to the States that Alex was given the news by his doctor that he had cancer. Jean says it felt like "the bottom dropped out of my world."

"I looked over at Alex. How would he manage? Right away he exhibited that same strength he’d always had, that steadiness and calm I drew from him," she says of her husband's reaction to the news. "His attitude wasn’t 'Why me?' but much more 'OK, what do we do?'"

Jean adds, "No matter how resilient you are, cancer has a way of making you feel truly vulnerable. Alex and I needed each other more than ever."

The game show host's wife says his cancer diagnosis has been a "constant reminder of how precious life is," but admits that some days she can feel "really sad and angry."

She goes on to praise her family's support. "I’m not alone in taking care of Alex. Our son, Matthew, owns three restaurants in Harlem, New York. He closed them during the quarantine and came home to L.A. It has been a huge blessing to have him here, along with our daughter, Emily, who lives close to us and visits all the time," she writes. "My sister and my mom are another extraordinary source of support."

Earlier this year, Alex released a memoir, The Answer Is . . .: Reflections on My Life, where he too talked about what it was like being diagnosed with cancer. 

Check out some of the biggest revelations from the book in the video below.

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