On Thursday, August 20, former President Jimmy Carter held a press conference to announce the cancer that was found in his liver was also in his brain. In the 38 minutes he spoke to the people assembled at the Carter Center, President Carter remained upbeat and calm, often bringing laughter to the room with characteristic humor and candor.
That has always been the Carter way: talking directly about whatever the issue was, and in this case, his health.
At the beginning of his remarks the former president outlined exactly how his cancer was discovered, noting that when he fell ill in Guyana in May and was rushed back to Emory University in Atlanta, GA, the doctors did a full check up on him and found the tumor on his liver.
Doctors were not convinced it began with his liver, because it is melanoma, so they have been monitoring Carter ever since May.
President Carter delayed his livery surgery so he could finish a book tour and allow his doctor to take a vacation, but now with the discovery of the cancer in his brain, the former president said he will now follow the advice of the doctors so he can prolong his life as long as possible.
Carter will turn 91 in October and quipped this would be a “propitious” time to slow down his schedule at the Carter Center.
“For a number of years Rosa and I had planned on dramatically reducing our work at the Carter Center. We haven’t done it yet. We thought about this when I was 80, we thought about it again when I was 85, we thought about it again when I was 90. So this is propitious time I think for us to finally carry out our long delayed plans. So I am going to cut back fairly dramatically on my obligations at Emory (University) and the Carter Center.”
When he was asked about how he felt when the cancer was first diagnosed, Carter answered, “I was surprisingly at ease. I’ve had a wonderful life, I have thousands of friends; I’ve had an exciting, adventurous and gratifying existence, so I was surprisingly at ease …”
Throughout the questions, President Carter emphasized his acceptance of the situation and the long road of treatments to come. “I’m perfectly at ease with whatever comes. I have deep religious faith, which I’m very grateful for, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t go into an attitude of despair or anger or anything like that. I was completely at ease, as Rosa would testify.”
In true Jimmy Carter spirit, he added, “I’m ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure.”
••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••
Here is the entire press conference, via YouTube and the Carter Center.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.