Sen. Edward Kennedy enjoyed the Father's Day weekend surrounded by family at his home and preparing to "do battle," undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for his brain cancer, said his son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
The Rhode Island congressman told The Associated Press his father had been comforted by the company of friends and family in recent days, but that his visitors were aware he needed moments of quiet and breaks from entertaining as he fights the cancerous brain tumor.
"Everyone wants to be with him. But we also need to give him space and time to recover, where he doesn't have to be 'on,'" he said. "He's been through a lot. We want him to be strong for when he needs to do battle."
The Massachusetts Democrat returned to his home at Hyannis Port, Mass., on June 9, a week after undergoing aggressive surgery for the malignant glioma at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. He will undergo further treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was diagnosed with the lethal tumor last month.
The younger Kennedy spoke late Saturday at a gala for the Diabetes Foundation of Rhode Island, where he received an award for his support of the group and diabetes issues.
Not saying when treatments will begin
He would not say when the radiation and chemotherapy treatments would begin, but said his father was considering a pill form of chemotherapy that would allow him to stay home for treatment. Radiation treatments would take about 15 minutes each, he said.
The course of the treatment will depend largely on how his father feels, Patrick Kennedy said, adding that advances in medicine have provided more options.
"When my brother had cancer, it was one type of chemo for all types of cancer. Now, it's such specific chemo for specific types of cancer. Now they have it in pill form in addition to IV form," he said. "It makes it much more accessible for him. That's a great thing."
Patrick Kennedy's older brother, Edward Jr., was treated for bone cancer at age 12.
Edward Kennedy attended Mass at his Cape Cod home on Saturday with his sister, Eunice Shriver, Patrick Kennedy said. He also has been sailing in recent days with his son and with his niece, Maria Shriver, wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Other visitors to the Kennedy home have included Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, as well as buddies from his days at Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School, Patrick Kennedy said.
The younger Kennedy said he expects the presidential season will give his father a respite from politics, as Washington shifts its attention to the campaign. That will give him father time to focus on his recovery and get ready for January, when he hopes to see Sen. Barack Obama move into the White House.
Then he can focus on health care, the issue Patrick Kennedy said has been his father's top priority in his more than 45 years in office.
"I think my dad's going to be ready," he said. "In a sense, he's fought for everyone else his whole life. This really personalizes it."