Sam Neill Reveals Treatment for Blood Cancer: Im Not Afraid to Die
Sam Neill is opening up about his health diagnosis.
The legendary actor revealed that he underwent chemotherapy after realizing he has angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma during the “Jurassic World Dominion” publicity tour in March 2022. The chemotherapy failed and Neill began seeking a new “very expensive” chemotherapy drug; he will need to receive monthly doses of it for the rest of his life, according to the star, but he is now cancer-free.
“I’m not afraid to die, but it would annoy me,” Neill told 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.”
The “Into the Mouth of Madness” actor noted that he signed a contract with the experimental drug company that if he was still alive after four months, the treatment would be free. “Have you noticed I have a slight look of lab rat about me?” the “Twin Peaks” actor said, citing that the drug has worked but he feels “shithouse” for two days after every dose.
“I’m not off the hook as such, but there’s no cancer in my body,” Neill said, citing that the treatment has changed his perspective on life and identity.
“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 “Possession” 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.”
That reflection led to Neill writing a memoir, “Did I Ever Tell You This?,” which he assured 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 recalled. “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.”
The “Apples Never Fall” actor summed up, “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.”
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