Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill recently shared that his cancer is in remission. However, doctors know it will eventually come back, and when it does, there isn’t much they can do for him.
The 76-year-old announced his diagnosis earlier this year. He suffers from angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, which is a rare and aggressive non-Hodgkin blood cancer. He immediately underwent chemotherapy, but it only worked for three months.
Neill and his head doctor, Orly Lavee, visited the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Australian Story and explained how they approached the disease once the chemotherapy failed. Lavee shared that patients often decide to stop treatment when that happens, but Neill kept fighting. Lavee placed him on a “novel” drug that requires bi-monthly infusions. The actor suffers from unpleasant side effects, but it worked.
“It’s not something I can finish,” Neill said of the medication. “I will be on this for the rest of my life. Every two weeks, I go in and get beaten up again. It’s like going ten rounds with a boxer. But it’s keeping me alive. And being alive is infinitely preferable to the alternative.”
Sam Neill is ‘Running Against the Clock’
Unfortunately, the new treatment is only buying time, however. Lavee said the cancer will return—but Neill says he’s “not remotely afraid” to die. He is, however, devastated by the thought of retiring.
Because of the new drug, Sam Neill has been able to get back to acting. He plans to work as much as possible while he still can. However, Neill is trying to prepare himself for the unavoidable reality that he will have to quit someday soon.
“The idea of retirement fills me with horror, actually,” he admitted. “To not be able to do the things that you love would be heartbreaking. But I’ve also got to be realistic in that one doctor said to me, ‘This stuff will stop working one day too.’ So I’m prepared for that. I’m ready for it. And I think I’ve done some good things… not all of them have been good. We all have regrets. But I think I can live by myself. And I can die by myself OK.”
The Primetime Emmy nominee isn’t just focused on his career, though. He’s also spending time enjoying his favorite hobbies, such as gardening. And he’s seeing his grandchildren as often as possible. In an effort to leave something for them and his children, he also penned a memoir titled Did I Ever Tell You This?, which hit shelves in March.
“I started to think I better write some of this down because I’m not sure how long I have to live. I was running against the clock…” He continued, “I thought it would be great for them to have some of my stories. I mightn’t be here in a month or two. We’ll leave something for them.”
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