Veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw said Sunday morning that the cancer he had been diagnosed with a year ago in August was "in remission" and that "he'll undergo a drug maintenance regimen" to keep it there.
The unusual statement certainly puts to rest a concern that many at NBC have anxiously wondered about the last year — that the symbol of the entire news division and a member of the triumvirate of anchors that dominated television news for a generation — was declining. But after his diagnosis of multiple myeloma, Brokaw took any opportunity to tell well-wishers he was fine — and even during a '"Today" segment in September said this:
"I've gotten some very good news in the last week. I hope that within six weeks, I can be on a drug maintenance program. The myeloma (an incurable cancer of the blood cells found in bone marrow) appears to be gone. I've got one more marker to get down, then I'll be all right."
But Sunday's statement was the most positive declaration yet. While Brokaw stopped short of using the word "cured," he certainly came close. Here's the statement in full:
To my NBC FAMILY, A year ago my future was more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge but now I face the New Year with very encouraging news. The cancer is in remission and I will shortly go on a drug maintenance regimen to keep it there.
Last weekend I was reminded of how fortunate we all are and whatever challenges I faced were footnotes compared to the men I was with. I was a Presidential delegate to the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the fight which went on for most of December 1944, in one of the worst winters in 20th century Europe. Hitler tried to break the advance on Germany by throwing 200k of his best troops, tanks and artillery at the Americans who were outnumbered almost 3-1.
Monty Meigs and I went into the forest surrounding Bastogne where remains of the original 101st Div fox holes still are visible. They slept in heavy snow, water pooled at the bottom, eating cold rations. About 30 vets returned. The oldest was 96 and the youngest 89.
One Airborne old timer kept struggling to lift himself out of his wheelchair when the occasion called for a salute. I finally whispered to him, "Stay seated. No one will give you KP for not standing." We both had a good laugh.
The King and Queen of Belgium attended many of the ceremonies and could not have been more cordial. I flew home reflecting again on how lucky we are that generation gave us the lives we have today — how my last year was a challenge but I was meeting it in world class hospitals with brilliant physicians, not in a foxhole in the Ardennes.
Happy New Year all. T Bone