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updated 05/29/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/29/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>Hamilton Jordan

Celebrated capital host Sally Quinn once called Hamilton Jordan "the second-most-powerful man in Washington," but Jimmy Carter's former White House Chief of Staff keeps a much lower profile these days. "People still recognize me," says Jordan, 55, "but now they think I was a TV weatherman."

Jordan has just resurfaced with No Such Thing as a Bad Day, a book that is part political memoir and part survival story: Within a decade he faced cancer three times—non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1985, melanoma in 1991 and prostate cancer in 1995—and is now free of the disease. "Becoming an active partner in medical decisions," says Jordan, who advocates early detection and aggressive treatment, "determines whether you will live or die."

Today, Jordan lives in Atlanta with his wife, Dorothy, 43, a former pediatric oncology nurse who is now a stay-at-home mom, and their three children. The couple devote some of their time to running Camp Sunshine for kids with cancer. Have three bouts with the disease made Jordan a bitter man? Far from it, he says: "I feel plain lucky to be alive." Gail Cameron Wescott

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