JIMMY Carter, the former US President, said he was "perfectly at ease with whatever comes next" as he revealed yesterday that doctors have found more cancer, this time on his brain.
The 90-year-old was told after surgery on a liver tumour last week.
"I've had a wonderful life," he said. "I had thousands of friends and an exciting and adventurous, gratifying existence. But now I feel it's in the hands of God whom I worship and I'll be prepared for anything that comes."
Mr Carter said he had only slight pain and would begin radiation therapy immediately on four "very small spots" of melanoma.
A Democrat governor from Georgia, he became President in 1976 after the Watergate crisis and the Vietnam War. His one term in office largely imploded after Iranian revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, holding 52 Americans hostage for 14 months.
Asked yesterday if he had any regrets, Mr Carter said: "I wish I had sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we would have rescued them, and I would have been re-elected."
Beaten by Ronald Reagan in 1980, Mr Carter then spent three decades negotiating peace deals and fighting disease in the developing world. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
He was cheerful yesterday as he discussed his "new adventure", saying: "I think I have been as blessed as any human being in the world.
"The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn," he said of his 88-year-old wife. "That's the pinnacle of my life and we've had 69 years together."
He thanked well-wishers, including President Obama and predecessors Bill Clinton, George W and George HW Bush, joking it was the "first time they have called in a long time."
Carter, the nation's 39th president, served in submarines in the Navy and spent years as a peanut farmer before running for office, becoming a state senator and Georgia governor.
His "plain-spoken" nature helped Democrats retake the White House in 1976 in the wake of President Richard Nixon's impeachment.
Carter spoke with good humour and unsparing honesty, revealing that he had kept suspicions of cancer from his wife for weeks until the diagnosis was confirmed in June.
The former president didn't discuss his long-term prognosis, but said he will cut back dramatically on his humanitarian work.
Rarely letting his grin fade, Carter said he has not felt any serious pain or weakness, and slept for 14 hours the previous night after receiving his first chemotherapy injection. "I think it's about the best sleep I've had in many years," he said.