Over the past two months, Al Roker has been absent from his usual spot on Today. On Friday, Roker finally returned to NBC and opened up about his recent health struggles. According to Roker’s wife, ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, a joke is how she knew he was going to be okay.
Roberts Recounts Roker’s ‘Medical Mystery’
After his two-month absence, Al Roker and Deborah Roberts sat down to talk to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on a recent Today broadcast. “He is a living, breathing miracle,” Roberts said of her husband of 22 years. “I’m not overstating it I don’t think, Al was a very, very, very sick man…and I think most people did not know that.”
According to Roberts, she and Roker didn’t even know the full extent of his illness in the early days. “It was a team that had to figure out what was happening, he was a medical mystery for a couple of weeks. It was the most tumultuous, frightening journey we have ever been on,” she explained. “Al went through a lot of tests, a lot of scopes, and there was just so much that had to be done—and a surgery if you don’t mind me saying—a major, major surgery, and we were just on pins and needles every day.”
Roker’s Medical Journey Began With COVID
Roker revealed that the ordeal initially started when he contracted COVID in September. Complications arose, and he subsequently developed blood clots that spread to his lungs. However, doctors soon realized he was suffering from internal bleeding, although it was hard to identify the source. “I lost half my blood, and they were trying to figure out where it was,” Roker revealed.
When doctors began operating on Roker, they tracked the bleeding down to two ulcers in his digestive system. “Finally they went in, did the surgery, and it ended up that I had two bleeding ulcers. They had to resection the colon and take out my gallbladder … I went in for one operation, and I got four free,” the meteorologist joked.
Roberts Was By Roker’s Side The Entire Time
According to Roberts, her husband never lost his sense of humor. In fact, as he was recovering, Roker’s good spirits are what made her certain that he was going to pull through.
“I was sitting there one day in the hospital and through this very scratchy voice—he was so gaunt and exhausted—he said, ‘I’m going to make a spatchcocked turkey for Christmas.’ And I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or just to beam,” Roberts recalled to Kotb and Guthrie, both of whom were noticeably teary-eyed.
“That was the moment for me, and it will always be the moment for me, where I knew [he would be okay]. I’m sitting here hoping he’s got to make it to Christmas, and he just wants to make a turkey.” Thankfully, Roker made it through Christmas and into 2023!