Beloved NBC anchor Tom Brokaw got a devastating piece of news in August 2014, when he learned he was battling a treatable but incurable form of blood cancer.
The next day, he travelled to his family’s ranch in Montana to break the diagnosis to his wife Meredith, who picked him up from the airport late at night for the 40-minute drive home.
“I didn’t want to tell her on the ride because it was a bumpy, dangerous gravel road,” Brokaw, 76, said Monday on The Hoda Kotb Show. “I got up to the bedroom and I went down and made myself a very stiff scotch, sat down on the edge of the bed and I said to her, the best I can remember, ‘Our lives have changed. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer.’ Meredith kind of blinked her eyes, and I said, ‘It’s called multiple myeloma. I don’t know a lot about it, but I know it’s going to change us.’ And she asked a couple of questions and she was — typically of Meredith, she’s just so focused about everything — right away she’s quite clinical. What does it mean, how long does it take, what are the consequences? I said, ‘I don’t know. There’s just so much I don’t. I’ll try to find out tomorrow.’”
But Brokaw woke up feeling better and “did a dumb, dumb thing,” driving 100 miles away to go fly-fishing. He returned feeling crippled and, after trying to bend down to accept a kiss from his grandson, was evacuated out of Montana by a medical helicopter.
“It was like an electric shock to my body,” he said. “Everything was pain beyond my ability to control it.”
Now, Brokaw’s cancer is in remission, though he still receives chemotherapy daily.
To help others, he turned his struggle into a memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, now available in paperback.
The Hoda Kotb Show airs Monday and Wednesday at 2 pm ET on SiriusXM TODAY Show Radio (Ch. 108).