Tom Brokaw, a veteran journalist, has opened up about his battle with cancer in a powerful memoir, which will be released in the United States on May 12. The memoir, entitled A Lucky Life, Interrupted, talks about his diagnosis of an incurable, but treatable blood cancer, multiple myeloma, in August of 2013. He is now in remission after months of treatment.
The 75-year-old, former NBC Nightly News anchor, said he has had a lucky life with good fortune, so he could not believe the battle that was in front of him, when he received the cancer diagnosis. When he discovered the devastating news, he did not want his colleagues at NBC to know. He did not want the pity, and as a person that delivers the news, he did not want to be in the news.
Although that did happen in the end, but Brokaw was very touched with the concern of his work mates and the general public. He paid tribute to these people when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When the news broke of his cancer battle, he received letters of support from all over America. A number of celebrities had reached out to him, including President Barack Obama, David Letterman, former President George Bush and Charles Barkley, just to name a few.
Brokaw did not even want his three daughters to know about his cancer diagnosis, and that he was told by his medical team that he had about five years left in his life. He only told his wife, Meredith, initially.
Within days of his diagnosis, he and his wife of more than 50 years, had no choice but to tell their children about their father’s cancer, which affects the bone marrow’s plasma cells. Brokaw had collapsed suddenly just four days after being told the news.
He was enjoying a fishing trip near his ranch at Montana when he just collapsed and was transported to Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic for emergency treatment. Brokaw was unaware of what was happening at the time with his pain being so severe. During his hospital stay, he also had treatment for compression fractures that he had in his spine.
He is determined to stay around for as long as possible. He does not think he will die just yet. In the last line of his book about his cancer battle, Brokaw says to bring on whatever is next in his life.
The veteran journalist did not write the book for sympathy, but instead, as a guide to help other cancer sufferers and their families. The American Cancer Society has said that about 27,000 people in the United States are affected by this rare cancer each year.
In the memoir, Brokaw reflects on his life and divulges what he still wants to achieve. He also explains how Tom Brady helped him cope with the treatment of his cancer, without even knowing about it. A billboard of a healthy and young Brady outside the writer’s apartment would mock him every time he went past in excruciating pain, as a result of the multiple myeloma. He would curse Brady, which proved therapeutic to him in the long run.
He finally got to meet Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, about six months later and confessed his habit to him. Fortunately, Brady saw the funny side to it.
In Brokaw’s memoir on his cancer battle, he talks about a number of goals he wants to achieve before his death. These include learning to play chess, having a short story published, learning to sail solo, fish more saltwater and river flats and spend more time with his wife by the sea.
By Rebecca Brown
Photo by University of Iowa Foundation – Creativecommons Flickr License