The Jurassic Park star, 76, told Australian Story he started planning to write the note to his son Tim, daughter Elena and grandchildren after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin blood cancer.
‘I didn’t know really how long I had to live,’ the actor said.
‘And I thought yeah, I should probably write something down for my children and my grandchildren because I may not be here in a couple of months and it would be good for them to have a sense of me and and some of the things that I’ve done.’
Neill also revealed he started taking a new experimental drug to fight off his angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma after chemotherapy failed to work.
Sam Neill has revealed the emotional letter he wrote to his children as he battles stage-three blood cancer
Despite the promising news, Neill knows it won’t last forever. He’s been told by his doctors that one day the drug will stop working – which he says he is ‘prepared for’.
‘I’m not in any way frightened of dying. That doesn’t worry me. It’s never worried me from the beginning, but I would be annoyed,’ he added.
‘I’d be annoyed because there are things I still want to do. Very irritating, dying. But I’m not afraid of it.’
Neill said he found out last year he had cancer during his first trip back to New Zealand, after lockdowns made returning home to see his family virtually impossible for two years.
Symptoms of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma can include having a high fever, night sweats, skin rash, and autoimmune disorders.
His son Tim told Australian Story his dad had been back in New Zealand for barely an hour when a doctor phoned with the awful news.
‘When he hung the phone up and we sat down, and we had a little bit of a cry together. It was supposed to be a happy day. He didn’t get to stay,’ Tim said.
The Jurassic Park star, 76, told Australian Story he started planning to write the letter to his son Tim, daughter Elena and grandchildren after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin blood cancer
Sam continued: ‘I was in really a fight for my life. And everything was a new world and a rather alarming world.
‘I had three or four months of reasonably conventional chemotherapies which are, brutal.’
Tim went to visit his dad as he underwent chemotherapy and was horrified when he saw how weak he was.
‘I was shocked, and I broke down and I could barely hug him. He was just, you know, bones and skin. And then he was giving me a hard time for being upset about it and saying I was stressing him out, but I was going, “What are you talking about, Dad?”‘
Just when they thought Neill’s health might be improving, he received even worse news: The cancer was back and it was more serious this time.
‘I thought yeah, I should probably write something down for my children and my grandchildren because I may not be here in a couple of months and it would be good for them to have a sense of me and and some of the things that I’ve done,’ he said. Pictured with son Tim Neill
Neill was eventually put on an experimental cancer drug, which thankfully started to work.
He has been in remission for 12 months now, but admits he is ‘prepared’ for the fact that it will eventually stop working.
‘I know I’ve got it, but I’m not really interested in it. It’s out of my control. If you can’t control it, don’t get into it,’ he said of the disease.
Neill now has infusions every two weeks and will do so for the rest of his life or until the drug stops working.
The sessions are gruelling, ‘very grim and depressing’, he said.
Neill said he found out last year he had cancer during his first trip back to New Zealand, after lockdowns made returning home to see his family virtually impossible for two years
Neill first disclosed the news of his illness in his memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This, where he writes in the first chapter that he is ‘possibly dying’.
In an interview with The Guardian in March, the actor said: ‘The thing is, I’m crook. I may have to speed this up. 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 also told the BBC that he began writing his memoir as a distraction and to ‘give me a reason to get through the day’.
The book looks back on the New Zealand actor’s 50-year career on screen, as well as his sudden illness.
‘I thought I need to do something, and I thought, “Shall I start writing?”‘ he told the BBC.
Neill has started taking a new experimental drug to fight off his angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma after chemotherapy failed to work
‘I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing.
‘A year later, not only have I written the book – I didn’t have a ghostwriter – but it’s come out in record time,’ he said proudly.
And about the literary effort he also said he ‘never had any intention to write a book’.
Sam explained, ‘But as I went on and kept writing, I realised 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 star was married to Japanese makeup artist Noriko Watanabe from 1989-2017 and they share two kids – Elena, 32, and Tim, 40.
Sam’s most notable role is Dr. Alan Grant, who he portrayed in the Jurassic World franchise most recently in last year’s third installment.
Sam also revealed he has been in remission for 12 months thanks to an anti-cancer drug, but admits he is ‘prepared’ for the fact that it will eventually stop working
Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com