The 71-year-old Australian chatshow host, critic and poet, who has a wife and two children, said that he is currently working on a poetry notebook but admitted that he is not sure if he will be "around" to see it published.
James told the Australian Literary Review: "In January 2010, in Cambridge, I got hauled in for kidney failure. I was immediately diagnosed for everything else as well, including several lung diseases and a version of leukemia that is supposed to develop slowly but in my case couldn't wait to get started, mainly in my lungs."
He also described it as "irksome" that he has not been allowed to fly recently because he is so "short of oxygen".
James said: "I hope that can be fixed, so that I can get to Australia. Since I fell ill I have had to turn down three different literary festivals in Australia and New Zealand. I still have hopes of being invited to the Sydney Writers Festival one day."
He added that he has had "little" energy to write more books but said that when he was "taking pills", he felt "quite wise".
Last year, Michael Parkinson blasted celebrities who become chatshow hosts but said that hosts such as James, Jonathan Ross and Piers Morgan had "talent".