Tom Brokaw has been a fixture in my house for as long as I can remember. My parents were always NBC people — from the Today Show to the Nightly News to Meet the Press. I was only four-years-old when he joined the Today Show as an anchor, and he has been playing on the screen in my home on a regular basis ever since. His deep voice is a familiar comfort to us all. Like many people across the country, I was personally taken aback to hear that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
Apparently he has been living with knowledge of the diagnosis for several months, finding out last August that he has multiple myeloma.
So, what exactly is multiple myeloma? It is a type of cancer that affects blood cells in bone marrow. According to the American Cancer Society, multiple myeloma is formed by malignant cells in the immune system, which can make it difficult for the body to fight off illness and infection.
Some of the symptoms include: bone weaknesses and breakage, low blood cell counts, anemia, calcium in the blood, severe back pain, thickening blood, kidney issues, or Pneumonia that recurs or persists. If you are experiencing changes such as feeling consistently weak, bruising easily, having shortness of breath, clotting issues, extreme thirst, frequent urination, severe constipation, loss of appetite, numbness, confusion, dizziness, or leg swelling, you may want to speak with a physician or healthcare practitioner. Your doctor may do blood work, lab tests, x-rays, or even a bone marrow biopsy to rule out multiple myeloma. The majority of cases in multiple myeloma occur in people over 65, so hopefully any tests done by your doctor will find something of a much less serious nature.
However, once diagnosed, there are a variety of potential treatment options for multiple myeloma. Though it has not been revealed which treatment route Tom Brokaw is taking, NBC has said that his doctors are “optimistic about the outcome of the treatment he is receiving.”
My guess is that he must be doing fairly well, or at least well enough to continue working on various news projects for the network, as well as documentaries. When the statement was initially released, Brokaw said, “I remain the luckiest guy I know.” We sure are lucky to have had him in our homes for all these years, and I look forward to seeing him in my home for many to come.
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