Rep. Mike Carter of Ooltewah diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after COVID-19 treatment

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Tennessee state Rep. Mike Carter poses for a portrait next to his 1940's flatbed truck on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Ooltewah, Tenn. On good days, Carter says since coming home from the hospital, the days he feels best, he goes into his shop and works on his cars.

State Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, who recently survived a life-threatening coronavirus infection, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Since returning home from the hospital in August, Carter has battled unexplained symptoms that he and his doctors believed were due to lingering effects of the virus.

Carter was undergoing tests in Nashville as a potential COVID-19 "long-hauler" - former coronavirus patients who experience a prolonged recovery - when a radiologist noticed an abnormality on his pancreas. Additional tests confirmed the cancer, and he's now receiving chemotherapy through Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"I had a severe battle with COVID - so I don't want to take anything away from that - I just had a double dose and didn't know it," Carter said, adding that he hopes his diagnosis helps to remind people that there are other important medical issues needing attention despite the pandemic.