Renowned actor Sam Neill has disclosed his battle with an intensely aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The 75-year-old Jurassic Park icon was diagnosed with Stage three cancer in March 2022, believing, “I’m sick, I’m dying.” Unable to pursue acting, Neill turned to writing as a way to pass time and “provide a reason to get through the day,” he shared with the BBC.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a kind of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is a part of the body that helps fight infections. This cancer can make your body’s glands and vessels become swollen and not work properly.
In his latest memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, Neill delves into his illness and his nearly five-decade-long career in the film industry. While on a promotional tour for Jurassic World Dominion last year, Neill first observed swollen glands in his neck.
Upon learning of his condition, he described his response as “pretty phlegmatic” and it prompted him to “reevaluate things.”
“I figured I needed to do something, and I contemplated, ‘Should I start writing?'” he explains.
“I never thought I could write a book, but I decided to pen some stories. And I found it increasingly captivating.
A year later, not only have I authored the book without a ghostwriter, but it’s been published in record time.
“My publishers, who are lovely people, probably wanted to release it quickly in case I passed away before the launch.”
At one point, Neill considered Notes from a Dying Man as a potential subtitle for the book.
He admits there are “gloomy days.” After his initial chemotherapy treatment, he lost his hair and writes in his memoir about seeing “a hairless, withered old man” in the mirror.
“What I desire most is the return of my beard. I don’t like the appearance of my face at all.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rarer cancer, develops in the body’s extensive lymphatic system, comprised of vessels and glands.
However, the star of films like The Piano and TV’s Peaky Blinders remains optimistic, now in remission.
“I’m not scared of dying,” he states. “What I don’t want is to stop living because I genuinely love life.”
He adds, “I’ve treated it as a dark but intriguing adventure. The fantastic days are truly amazing, and receiving good news is absolutely thrilling.”
Neill emphasizes that his book is not centered around cancer. “I detest cancer books.”
Rather, it primarily focuses on his “enjoyable” and “improbable” life and lengthy career. He has appeared in over 70 movies, acting alongside the likes of Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, and Jeff Goldblum.
Key Takeaways in a Nutshell – Health Newstrack
1. Actor Sam Neill was diagnosed with Stage three non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2022.
2. Unable to work, Neill turned to writing as a distraction and authored his memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, which focuses on his life and career.
3. Despite the challenges, Neill remains optimistic and regards his journey as a dark but intriguing adventure.
4. The actor is currently in remission and emphasizes that his book is not centered around cancer but on his enjoyable and improbable life.