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Brokaw's daughter, Sarah, shares the moment she knew something was "seriously wrong" in an upcoming Dateline NBC special

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated May 06, 2015 11:45 AM
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Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty

As Tom Brokaw admits in his upcoming memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, being diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 74 forced him to confront his own mortality.

Brokaw also had to come to terms with the fact that his cancer wasn’t happening just to him but also to the people around him.

On Thursday, Dateline will air the special Tom Brokaw: A Lucky Life Interrupted, in which the newsman, now 75, will open up about his journey battling cancer. Notably, it will also feature appearances from his wife, Meredith, and daughter, Sarah, among others, in which he interviews them about their experiences learning of his diagnosis.

In the above clip from NBC News, Meredith reveals to her husband of over 50 years that she didn’t believe him when he broke the news: “That’s something that you just, out of the blue, cannot absorb in one take.”

She says that she wasn’t frightened, but that she “needed to know more. I didn’t panic. I didn’t think, ‘This is the end of the world.’ I just needed to know more. Because I really didn’t understand what we were dealing with.”

As for his daughter, Sarah (see clip below), she shares the moment when she realized that her father was more sick than she thought. “You were having a lot of back pain,” she tells Brokaw. “And you had asked to get a kiss from [your grandson] Archer. And we leaned down to give you a kiss. And your body just convulsed. Your body became paralyzed. And I thought, ‘Something is seriously, seriously wrong.’ ”

Sarah adds that she suddenly recognized that “life is so finite. And you might be gone.”

Brokaw’s form of cancer is incurable but treatable. Currently in remission, Brokaw recently told Parade magazine that cancer gave him a “dose of humility” and that he is “much more empathetic.”

While he still considers himself “the luckiest guy I know,” he told the magazine, “I believe you make your own luck.”

“My motto is, ‘It’s always a mistake not to go.’ Sometimes I get in way over my head, but then I think, ‘I’ll work my way out of this somehow.’ A big part of making your own luck is just charging out of the gate every morning.”

Tom Brokaw: A Lucky Life Interrupted airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC’s Dateline.