Actor Sam Neill revealed in his upcoming memoir “Did I Ever Tell You This?” that he was diagnosed with “ferocious” stage 3 blood cancer in March of last year, stating that he wrote the book to give himself “a reason to get through the day” during chemotherapy.
(Video Credit: Access Hollywood)
The “Jurassic Park” star, who hails from New Zealand and is now 75, first told the BBC about his diagnosis.
“The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying,” he sadly noted in the first chapter of his new book. “I may have to speed this up.”
The Kiwi actor noticed the glands in his neck didn’t feel right while doing a press tour for “Jurassic World Dominion” last year. His doctors broke the news and his response was fairly stoic, but it did force him to “take stock of things.”
“I found myself with nothing to do,” Neill told The Guardian in an interview. “And I’m used to working. I love working. I love going to work. I love being with people every day and enjoying human company and friendship and all these things. And suddenly I was deprived of that. And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’”
Sam Neill says he has been undergoing treatment for Stage 3 blood cancer. The cancer is now in remission.
“I'm not afraid of dying. What I don't want to do is to stop living, because I really enjoy living.”
(Source: https://t.co/jwuyRLyoJr) pic.twitter.com/zXr6d8M1fM
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 17, 2023
“I never had any intention to write a book. But as I went on and kept writing, I realized it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow … that will entertain me.’ And so it was a lifesaver really because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”
“I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing,” he told the BBC.
“A year later, not only have I written the book — I didn’t have a ghostwriter — but it’s come out in record time. I suspect my publishers, they’re delightful people, but I think they wanted to get it out in a hurry just in case I kicked the bucket before it was time to release the thing,” he contended.
Neill’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis is not the only thing covered in his new book because he asserts that he “can’t stand cancer books.” He chose to focus instead on his “fun” and “exciting” life.
The Mayo Clinic defines non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as “a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. Advances in diagnosis and treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have helped improve the prognosis for people with this disease.”
In his book, Neill recounts how he lost his hair after the first round of chemotherapy. When he looked in the mirror he saw “a bald, wizened old man there.”
“More than anything I want my beard back. I don’t like the look of my face one bit,” he confessed.
Neill will have to take a chemotherapy drug once a month for the rest of his life but he is currently in remission and cancer-free.
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The actor is remaining positive, “I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments. But those dark moments throw the light into sharp relief, you know, and have made me grateful for every day and immensely grateful for all my friends. Just pleased to be alive.”
“I’m not afraid to die,” he confided to The Guardian, “but it would annoy me. Because I’d really like another decade or two, you know? We’ve built all these lovely terraces, we’ve got these olive trees and cypresses, and I want to be around to see it all mature. And I’ve got my lovely little grandchildren. I want to see them get big.”
“But as for the dying? I couldn’t care less,” Neill declared.
“The last thing I want is for people to obsess about the cancer thing,” Neill told the BBC, “because I’m not really interested in cancer. I’m not really interested in anything other than living.”
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