Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva said in an interview published this week that he feared losing his voice more than dying when he was diagnosed with larynx cancer.
“I was more concerned about losing my voice than about dying. Losing my voice would mean death,” the popular former president, whose cancer is “in complete remission” according to his doctors, told the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
“But fear, fear, I live with fear,” he said.
“I am a coward. I want to be alive,” added the 66-year-old statesman who announced this week that he planned to return to political life to help improve the lives of millions of Brazilians.
The former president, who lost nearly 16kg since his cancer was diagnosed in October, compared the chemotherapy and radiation therapy he underwent to the “Hiroshima bomb” and said that at times he would have preferred “to go into a coma”.
He said he still suffers from pain in his throat and dreams of the day when he can “eat hard-crust bread”.
Lula said that while he intends to return to politics, he will “never again have the hallucinating and crazy schedule” he maintained from the time he left office at the end of 2010.
He visited more than 30 countries in 10 months.
Lula said his biggest wish was to help his successor and protégé, President Dilma Rousseff. However he refused to say whether he planned to run for another presidential term in 2014.
“What I want now is help my colleague (Rousseff) be a better president, work for her re-election,” he added.
The former metal worker and labour leader refused to confirm or deny press reports that he met at least three times in Sao Paulo with self-described medium and spiritual healer Joao Teixeira de Faria, better known as “John of God”.
“Various people came here and there are many people looking for me. And I will receive, talk to all those who look for me because I believe this helps,” he said.