After Duke surgery, Kennedy heads home, goes sailing

Fresh from his hospitalization for an aggressive surgery on a cancerous brain tumor, Sen. Edward Kennedy announced it was “good to be home” at his family's Cape Cod compound Monday and headed out for a sail.

Kennedy left the Duke University Medical Center in Durham on Monday morning and arrived at his family's Hyannis Port compound just before noon. He told reporters he felt “good to be home, good to be here.”

Within hours, he went out sailing with his wife, Vicki. It was the same homecoming routine he followed last month when he was released from a Boston hospital after being diagnosed with a malignant glioma, a lethal type of brain tumor that usually carries a poor prognosis. Malignant gliomas are diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year.

“His doctors are pleased with his progress since surgery a week ago, and he will continue to recuperate at home before starting the next phase of his treatment,” Kennedy's office said in a statement. “He is thankful for the extraordinary care of the doctors and nurses at Duke, and also for the continued prayers and well wishes from the people of Massachusetts and all over the country.”

Kennedy, 76, underwent the risky, 31/2-hour surgery June 2 to remove as much of the tumor as possible, a procedure aimed at improving the success of chemotherapy and radiation. His surgeon at Duke, Dr. Allan Friedman, said Monday that Kennedy “is making an excellent recovery.”

Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., told the Providence Journal on Sunday that his father was looking forward to working with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on universal health care legislation should the Illinois senator win the White House.

“It adds a great deal of poignancy to his recovery,” Kennedy said. “But that's how he sees it; he has to recover so he can get health care for the millions of people who don't have access to the care that we do.”