From Morgan Neill
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HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban leader Fidel Castro discussed details of his recent health problems for the first time Wednesday, telling his countrymen in a written message that he underwent several operations, some of which were unsuccessful, but that his condition has now stabilized.
In the message, which will be published Thursday in Cuban newspapers, Castro also explained his lack of public appearances since his illness, saying that such appearances require him to get haircuts and shaves that he does not have time for.
Castro said his prolonged recovery from the surgeries was due to the fact that the first operations he underwent were not successful. He also disclosed that during his illness, he received nutrition intravenously, although he said he is no longer doing so.
Castro said he reads, talks on the phone and performs rehabilitation exercises and that his weight has now stabilized at 80 kilograms (176 pounds).
The message, dated Wednesday, was provided to news organizations prior to its publication Thursday.
On July 31, Castro, 80, relinquished his presidential powers to his brother, Raul, after undergoing intestinal surgery, calling the move temporary. The switch touched off a flurry of speculation that the Communist leader, who came to power in 1959, might be dying.
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