WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who turned 77 Sunday, says it's premature to eulogize him or write his obituary as he battles brain cancer.
Rather than looking back, Kennedy told Sunday's New York Times that his illness is prompting him to instead race forward, saying the eulogy-style media coverage he has been receiving in recent months is jumping the gun.
"Obviously I've been touched and grateful," Kennedy told the Times. "Beyond that, I don't really plan to go away soon."
Saying he has been battling the sense that his time is too short or he is too ill to be effective, Kennedy, between chemotherapy treatments, physical therapy sessions and naps, has been lobbying the White House on possible nominees for secretary of health and human services, the newspaper said.
Kennedy said he is wired to be optimistic, adding, "That's the way I was born and brought up. That's the way we're dealing with the challenges we're facing now."