"He is a living breathing miracle," Deborah Roberts said about Al Roker who is recovering from the intense medical procedures he recently underwent.
Al Roker's triumphant return to the TODAY morning news program on Friday, January 6, was extremely emotional. The 68-year-old beloved weatherman also shared new information about the health emergency that had kept him away from the show for two months. His wife Deborah Roberts, 62, stood by his side, sharing that he endured a difficult 7-hour surgery to "correct a bunch of internal stuff."
Roker had no idea his condition was so serious when he first visited doctors in early November to address a few stomach aches, per PEOPLE. "Look, I had two complicating things," he said. "I had blood clots, which they think came up after I had COVID in September. And then I had this internal bleeding going on, I lost half my blood. They were trying to figure out where it was."
His wife corroborated the gravity of his medical condition, adding, "Al was a very, very, very sick man ... most people didn't know that." Roberts, an ABC News correspondent, explained, "He was a medical mystery for a couple of weeks. And it was the most tumultuous, frightening journey we have been on." At the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where Roker was receiving treatment, the medical team detected two bleeding ulcers after surgery. His colon was resected, his gallbladder was removed, and surgery was performed on his duodenum, which is a piece of the small intestine. "I went into for one operation, I got four free," joked Roker. "So I got that going for me," he added.
Fortunately for Roker, his loving wife Roberts took charge of his care and coordinated it with medical professionals. "Thank god for Deborah," Roker credited her, adding, "She basically shielded me from all of this." He further mentioned that he "was able to put all my energy into recuperating because I didn't know how bad this was. ... I thought I was doing well!"
Roberts added, "It's not lost on us that this is a major, major thing for Al to be here." She said, "He is a living breathing miracle. And I'm not overstating it, I think."
But Roker's drive and will were extremely strong. Roberts recalled laughing that she knew her husband was going to be okay when despite being "gaunt and exhausted" Roker told her that he was "make a spatchcock turkey for Christmas." She added, "That was the moment for me, and it will always be the moment for me, that this man — I mean, I'm sitting here hoping he's going to make it to Christmas and this man, he wants to make a turkey." She continued, "I just knew at that point, that will, that drive, is so, so strong."
Roker was released from the hospital on December 8 and has since been recuperating with family, celebrating the holidays with his lovely family. He came back on TODAY after 2 months, last appearing on a November 4 broadcast before his medical issues got him hospitalized.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Roy Rochlin