ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Evangelist Billy Graham returned to his mountainside home Tuesday to continue his recovery from surgery to update a shunt that controls excess fluid on his brain, officials said.
Graham, who underwent the elective surgery last Wednesday, is recovering well, and his physicians are pleased with his progress, said Mission Hospitals spokeswoman Merrell Gregory.
Dr. Ralph Loomis, Graham's neurosurgeon, said doctors will continue to calibrate the updated valve at Graham's home. The shunt was first installed in 2000 and drains fluid from Graham's brain through a small tube, relieving excess pressure that can cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.
Graham spokesman Larry Ross said the 89-year-old Southern Baptist minister will continue regular exercise to regain his strength and is looking forward to returning to a regular schedule, which includes working on a new book about the challenges and joys of growing old.
"His faith remains strong and he's optimistic about the future," Ross said.
Graham has also suffered from prostate cancer and macular degeneration. He was hospitalized last year for nearly two weeks after experiencing intestinal bleeding.
The conditions have left Graham mostly confined to his mountainside home in Montreat for the past several years. His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June following a lengthy illness.
For six decades, Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums with believers and allowed him to counsel every U.S. president since Harry Truman. President Bush called Graham last week to express his support.