He has spent years encouraging people to survive on his iconic adventure reality show, but Jeff Probst recalls a time he had to fight to get back to normal while dealing with a rare form of amnesia.
While on Live With Kelly and Ryan, the 58-year-old recalled how his temporary memory loss kicked off. “It gets to [his wife Lisa Ann Russell] birthdate. And I went, ‘What is my wife’s birthdate?’ And I couldn’t figure it out, so I texted my wife and I said, ‘Could you call me?’ So she called me. She said, ‘What’s going on?’” the TV personality explained to the hosts. “I said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s happening? I don’t know anything. Like, where are the kids?’ She said, ‘They’re at school.’ I said, ‘Where are you?’ She said, ‘I’m at work.’ I said, ‘Something’s wrong.’”
That was just the beginning of Jeff’s nightmare. “I had no idea who I was, where I was,” the Survivor host continued. “I even wrote a note on my laptop, I wrote a note that said, ‘For our records, I have no idea why I’m wearing these clothes, I have no idea where our kids are, I have no idea what day it is, I have no idea why I’m writing this.’ And then a little later I type, ‘I just read this. Have no memory of writing it.’” However, things became a bit more clear when Jeff headed to a neurosurgeon.
“Right before I did the MRI, my memory came back,” Jeff said. “And it was that quickly. I was like, ‘Oh wow, I’m back.’ … When I could think, I hit the elevator belt to go up to get the MRI, and I had a moment of — cause I didn’t know what it was at this moment — ‘What if this is it? What if this is early dementia?’ ”
“[The neurosurgeon] figures out that — what I had for three hours, I had absolutely no memory, don’t know what I did during those three hours — he said it’s called, global transient amnesia. Or TGA. And it’s just what happens, you lose your memory,” the Emmy-winner explained. Now that he’s back with a full bill of health, Jeff isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Now, more than ever I think of Fridays. I think of the weekend and I’m like, ‘I got one more weekend, let’s go.’ [But I’m fine now], 100%,” he gushed. And this of course has not impacted Jeff’s gig on the CBS show he has led for years — the 40th season will debut on February 12.
We’re looking forward to seeing him do what he loves!