After a setback in his ongoing fight with pancreatic cancer, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek will resume chemotherapy treatments, he revealed on Monday’s Good Morning America.
In an interview with GMA‘s T.J. Holmes, Trebek shared that continued chemotherapy was not the original plan: As recently as May, his tumors had shrunk by more than 50 percent, and doctors said he was nearing remission.
“I was doing so well, and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer,” he said.
But shortly after Trebek stopped chemo, with plans to begin immunotherapy instead, he lost 12 pounds in one week, and “my numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed. So the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Trebek remained candid about the side effects of his treatment, including “excruciating pain” in his lower back, fatigue, nausea and the occasional “surge of sadness.” But he assured Holmes that he’s staying optimistic as his fight continues.
“When I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon,'” Trebek joked. “Hey, guys, I’m 79 years old. I’ve had one hell of a good life, and I’ve enjoyed it. The thought of passing on doesn’t frighten me. It doesn’t.”
Season 36 of Jeopardy! is currently underway, with Trebek back as host. Watch his full GMA interview below: