Al Roker supported by Today colleagues as he reflects on health crisis one year later: ‘Life can turn on a dime’
This time last year, Al Roker was in a much different place; in and out of the hospital and away from his beloved Today Show role because of blood clots that traveled to his lungs, requiring multiple surgeries and a long recovery.
In the nearly two months that he was recovering, his Today co-stars and fans alike waited with bated breath for his return – which he did so in January – even as he missed hosting the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years.
Now recovered and back to both reporting the weather and gearing up to host the parade, the veteran meteorologist is reflecting on the bittersweet health milestone.
“The parade was not the same last year without Al,” his co-star Hoda Kotb reflected on the Today Show on November 20, to which Al added: “I feel pretty good… I feel like I’m back to like 100%.”
Reflecting on his long recovery – and realizing his condition was far worse than he initially believed – Al wisely noted: “Maybe you didn’t get there as fast as you wanted to, but as long as you get there, it’s OK.”
Though he had initially been discharged from the hospital right before Thanksgiving last year, he was eventually readmitted shortly after.
Doctors subsequently discovered he had two bleeding ulcers, and after performing a seven-hour surgery to resection his colon, remove his gallbladder and redo his duodenum, he was finally discharged for the last time on December 8, and made his return to Today the following month.
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Now, though he said he is “not one much for looking back,” and “would prefer to look forward,” he is still keeping the lessons he learned from the health scare close to his heart.
He said he knows all too well now how “life can turn on a dime,” and noted: “We know that intellectually, but when you’re faced with it, it really does hit home.”
“[Life] is an ephemeral gift that we’re given, and you need to appreciate and honor it,” he added.
Al also recently took to Instagram to further reflect on the health milestone, sharing a video while walking on his treadmill (a familiar sight for his fans) and saying: “It’s about a year since I was in the hospital. I had all your thoughts and prayers and it meant so so much. My family meant so much.”
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In the caption, he wrote: “It’s been a year since I was in the hospital and thanks to @debrobertsabc and family, your thoughts and prayers and the music of @eltonjohn and this song in particular, I am here today,” referring to “Philadelphia Freedom” from 1977.
The comments section under the post was quickly flooded with fans further cheering on Al, with one writing: “So glad you are doing well Al. You are so loved. Wishing you the best of health always,” as others followed suit with: “I’m happy you are healthy. Al you’ve always been my favorite weather guy,” and: “Happy you’re doing well and get to spend the holidays healthy and with your family this year!” as well as: “Love you Al! You are always an inspiration! What a blessing you are to so many!”
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