Sam Neill first noticed he had swollen glands while promoting Jurassic World Dominion last March. After consulting a physician, the actor was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer.
His course of treatment began with chemotherapy, which did not work. Neill, now 75, said he began taking a new chemotherapy drug and, after a long road, is now cancer free. He will, however, need to receive the drug monthly for the rest of his life.
“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments,” Neill said in an interview with The Guardian. “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.”
The revelation comes as the actor gets ready to publish a memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, a book that came about as he sought to fill the downtime between cancer treatments.
“I found myself with with nothing to do,” Neill told The Guardian. “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?’
The answer was writing. He started putting down short vignettes as a way to pass the time.
“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.”