Health & Wellness

'Awful': Tom Brokaw's daughter recalls learning about her dad's cancer diagnosis

After a harrowing incident in which Tom Brokaw had to be medevaced to the Mayo Clinic in 2013, his daughter was devastated to learn that he had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

"It was awful, especially since, (my son Archer) was only six months (old),'' Sarah Brokaw explained on TODAY Thursday. "And I was mad, too. I thought, 'You only had six months with him.' I wanted to envision you playing baseball with him and fly fishing, and not knowing if that was ever gonna happen."

Brokaw, 75, was battling multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. The father of three daughters had kept the diagnosis between himself and his wife of 52 years, Meredith, before Meredith was forced to tell Sarah when Brokaw collapsed only four days after learning he had cancer. Sarah had an indication something was wrong when Brokaw, who was suffering from back pain, leaned in to get a kiss from his grandson.

"Your body just convulsed,'' Sarah said. "Your body became paralyzed, and I thought, 'Something is seriously, seriously wrong.' All of the sudden, recognizing that life is so finite, and you might be gone.''

The former NBC Nightly News and TODAY anchor, who writes about the experience in his latest book, "A Lucky Life Interrupted," spent two days in bed in immense pain before his wife called for emergency medical technicians to take him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"I thought, 'Where in the world is this gonna end up?''' Brokaw said on TODAY. "And by the time we got down to the ambulance, I think I was kind of hallucinating. I don't think I was checked in at that point."

"I think that you were in so much pain that it's hard to even recall, for you, what that was like, I think,'' Meredith Brokaw said on TODAY.

Brokaw, who told Matt Lauer that he is doing much better, will be on a maintenance program for his condition for the remainder of his life.

"It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, and we tried to keep that a secret obviously,'' he told Lauer. "I didn't want to show up on the Internet (as), 'Tom Brokaw, cancer victim.'''

He added that he hopes others can learn from his book about the impact that cancer can have on families in addition to the patient. Brokaw will have more on his book and his battle with cancer on"Dateline" on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

For more information on multiple myeloma, including how you can help, visit The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

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