Former President Jimmy Carter said on Thursday he is leaving everything to God as he discussed about his cancer that he said has spread to his brain.
"It is in the hands of God, whom I worship," the 90-year-old Carter and 39th president of the United States told reporters at a press conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Wearing a coat and tie matched with blue jeans, Carter spoke softly and with grace as he said he would begin a series of radiation therapy Thursday afternoon, reported CNN.
"I have had a wonderful life," Carter told reporters during the 40-minute press conference. "I'm ready for anything and I'm looking forward to new adventure," and added that he initially thought he has only weeks to live when he was first diagnosed with the disease.
But through his faith in God, the former president said he is now more optimistic even insisting he would continue teaching Sunday school "as long as I'm physically able," at the Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown in Plains, Georgia. He told reporters, "I do 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 just completely at ease."
He went on to say, "I can't really anticipate how I'll be feeling. Obviously I'll have to defer quite substantially to my doctors who are in charge of the treatment," Carter said Thursday, saying he'll get his first radiation treatment this afternoon.
"I just thought I had a few weeks left (to live), but I was surprisingly at ease -- much more so than my wife was." Carter described the former First Lady Rosalynn Carter as the "pinnacle" of his life. He said, "We've had 69 years together, still together."
On the advice of his doctors, Carter said he would cut down on his globetrotting activities but still expressed hope to visit Nepal this year. Carter heads the "Habitat for Humanity," a charity which builds homes for poor people across the globe.
Carter said his doctors first diagnosed his cancer during his trip to Guyana earlier this year after they found a small tumor on his liver and diagnosed melanoma. The cancer has spread to four spots on his brain, he added.
Folks at Plains Mount Support For Carter
Residents at the tiny town of Plains, Georgia paid their tribute to their favorite son and displayed hundreds of signs of support along the streets leading to the Carter residence. The former president and his wife are expected to return home in Plains Thursday evening after his treatment.
The signs reads, "Jimmy Carter for Cancer Surviver," littered the streets of Plains to show their support and love for Carter, reported The Guardian.
Jill Stuckey, a close friend of the Carters and a board member of the Friends of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site told the Atlanta Journal Commission, "If we can put a smile on his face, it's worth it."
Plains, with a population of 800 based on the 2010 census, is where Carter returned when he lost a bitter re-election against Ronald Reagan in 1981.