ATLANTA, Ga. (BNG)—Former President Jimmy Carter said he was “surprisingly at ease” after being diagnosed with cancer, which has spread to parts of his brain.
Carter, 90, addressed a news conference Aug. 20 at the Carter Center in Atlanta. He announced Aug. 12 recent liver surgery indicated he has cancer that has spread to other parts of his body.
Carter acknowledged when he first heard the word cancer, “I thought I just had a few weeks left.”
“But I was surprisingly at ease,” the 39th U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize winner reflected.
“I’ve had a wonderful life,” he said. “I have thousands of friends, and I’ve had an exciting, adventurous and gratifying existence. So, I was surprisingly at ease, much more so than my wife was. Now I feel it’s in the hands of God, whom I worship, and I’ll be prepared for anything that comes.”
Carter revealed in addition to the tumor removed from his liver, doctors found four “very small spots” on his brain. He was scheduled to begin radiation treatment Aug. 20 and also is receiving intravenous injections of a drug designed to boost his autoimmune system.
His cancer is melanoma, which most typically originates on the skin, and he will continue to be monitored for other occurrences throughout his body, Carter said.
After promising for years he would curtail his work at the Carter Center, a humanitarian organization associated with Emory University he started after his defeat for a second term as president in 1980, Carter said, at last he plans to reduce his schedule “fairly dramatically.”
He still hopes to travel in November to build homes in Nepal with Habitat for Humanity, but doing so would require him to interrupt his treatment schedule.
The “haven” from his busy life is his home in Plains, Ga., and his membership in Maranatha Baptist Church, he said.
“I plan to teach Sunday school this Sunday and every Sunday as long as I’m physically and mentally able in my little church,” Carter said. “We have hundreds of visitors who come to see the curiosity of a politician teaching the Bible. … I’ve just had a lot of blessings.”