Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill revealed in his new memoir that he has been diagnosed with blood cancer and will need chemo for the rest of his life.
He learned of his condition in March 2022, and thought: “I’m crook, I’m dying.” As reported by the BBC, being unable to work, he turned to writing as a distraction and to “give me a reason to get through the day.”
Neill revealed that the conventional chemo treatments didn’t prove to be working so he turned to more expensive chemo drug which he would need to take in monthly doses. “I’m not afraid to die, but it would annoy me,” Neill said in an interview with The Guardian. “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.”
Further, he explained that the drug he’s currently taking is an experimental drug. He signed a contract with the manufacturer that if he is still alive after four months of receiving it, he would get it for free for the rest of his life. “Have you noticed I have a slight look of lab rat about me?” he said in an interview, adding that two days after taking the drug he felt “shithouse.”
“I’m not off the hook as such, but there’s no cancer in my body,” the New Zealand actor shared. He also added that he’s looking at life with
“It’s much easier to identify who other people are, but you hardly ever ask the question of yourself: who am I? You know, [when I was sick] I would look in the mirror and see a completely different person, not a hair on my head, no eyelashes, the beard had fallen off on a pillow somewhere in hospital. I was unrecognizable,” the Peaky Blinders actor shared.
“I would look at this alien…Really? Is that you? So that begs the question, who are you? And so I had to think about that. I mean, it’s never really interested me to sort of reflect on myself. You know, sometimes you go, you fucking idiot, why would you do that? But that would be as bad as it would be.”
This thinking is what made him write his memoir titled Did I Ever Tell You This? which he says is not a “bloody cancer book.”
“I found myself with nothing to do, 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?’” Neill said.
“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.”
Of course, being optimistic doesn’t mean the diagnosis didn’t take a toll on his life. “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.”
We wish Neill only the best life brings and we hope his treatment works and keeps him well many more years.
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