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The One Symptom Alex Trebek’s Wife Noticed Before His Cancer Diagnosis

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek's wife Jean noticed a symptom on a vacation in 2018 that helped lead to his pancreateic cancer diagnosis.

In the months before “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his wife Jean knew that something was wrong. Jean’s story of how she discovered Alex Trebek’s first cancer symptom is an important cautionary tale for us all.

Alex Trebek’s Wife Noticed His First Cancer Symptom

According to TODAY, it was during a family vacation to Israel in December of 2018 that Jean first noticed Trebek’s complexion looked a bit different.

When she asked if he was okay, Trebek admitted that he was suffering from some stomach pains, and she thought that was because he was eating new foods in a foreign country.

When the couple returned to California and Trebek’s condition did not improve, however, Jean made him go see a doctor. 

“His doctor ran some tests, then some more. 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,'” Jean wrote in a new essay for “Guideposts.”

They immediately cut their New York trip short so that the Emmy-winning host could get a CT scan at home.

Hours later, they were informed that Alex Trebek had stage 4 pancreatic cancer with a tumor that had already spread to his stomach.

In the end, Jean might have saved Trebek’s life by simply noticing that her husband’s complexion had changed.

Jaundice and yellowing of the skin/whites of the eyes is one of the telltale symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

Jean Trebek Recalls Moment She Learned Of His Diagnosis

In her essay, Jean wrote that hearing that her husband had cancer reminded her of when she was told that her older brother Chris had been killed in a car accident almost 35 years ago.

“All the terrible pain and loss I’d felt at Chris’s death came back. Only my faith in God’s ultimate goodness and love had gotten me through that period of my life,” the 56 year-old wrote. “Then I met Alex, as if the Lord had led me through my grief to the man I would love forever. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.” 

Alex Trebek has been getting chemotherapy since he shared his diagnosis with the world in March of 2019, and Jean is grateful for every moment she gets to spend with him.

“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,” she explained. “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.”

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek’s Children Post Touching Father’s Day Tribute Filled With Special Memories

How Jean Trebek Distracts Herself In Moments Of Sadness

Alex Trebek’s wife admitted she has her moments when she’s sad or angry about his cancer.  Jean also shared how she tries to distract herself at these times.

“Sending a reassuring email, calling someone, sharing a cup of tea,” she said. “Opening myself up. Accepting what’s happening. Thank goodness, I had already started insidewink.com, a lifestyle website, and my blog on the site is a way to share our journey with others.”

The 56-year-old then talked about some of the lifestyle changes she and her husband have made that have helped his survival. 

“Alex is definitely a meat-and-potatoes guy. We’ve cut back on sugar and shifted to a more vegetarian diet. We discovered quinoa pasta. He likes that,” she said. “And because the chemo and the pain meds affect his appetite, I give him a protein drink in the mornings loaded with good things. We usually eat one big meal a day at 5 p.m. Then we watch Jeopardy!”

Share this with others so that Alex Trebek’s story can help educate others on the signs of pancreatic cancer.

God bless the Trebek family and hold them tight.

Read next: ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek: Why ‘I’m Not Afraid Of Dying’

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