Facing inoperable cancer, Michael Landon plans to fight to stay alive but isn't afraid to die, the actor said in a magazine interview to be published Monday.
The 54-year-old star of "Bonanza," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven" was diagnosed in April with cancer of the pancreas and liver.Since then, Landon has been staying at his Malibu ranch with his third wife, Cindy, 34. The father of nine has been undergoing an experimental therapy that pits drug-dispensing bubbles of fat against the tumor in his pancreas.
Only 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients and 5 percent of liver cancer patients survive more than five years after diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society's "Cancer Facts & Figures - 1991."
The actor talked about cancer, his troubled childhood and his hopes for the future in the June edition of Life magazine. Here are some excerpts:
- On being diagnosed with inoperable cancer: "I'm not the kind of person who gives up without a fight. If I'm gonna die, death's gonna have to do a lot of fighting to get me.
"I want to see my kids grow up. I want to play baseball with Sean (his 4-year-old son). I want to know if Jennifer (his 7-year-old daughter) turns out to be as good an actress as I think she will be. I want to watch Chris, my 16-year-old, become a man. I love my wife, Cindy, very much and I don't want to leave her."
- On his personal treatment regimen, which concentrates on diet and vitamins rather than traditional chemotherapy: "Carrots are turning me orange. And every time I eat or drink, I swallow digestive enzymes to replace what the pancreas has stopped producing. And then, once a day, I take a tried-and-true remedy for intestinal irritation - a coffee enema. Organic coffee, I might add."
- On his childhood in New Jersey and his mother: "She did crazy things all the time. Like, she kept making dramatic attempts to commit suicide. I'm this little boy and I'd walk into the kitchen and find her with her head in the oven and the gas turned on."
- On his hopes for the future: "I believe in God, I believe in family, I believe in truth between people, I believe in the power of love. I believe that we really are created in God's image, that there is God in all of us. So I deal with the God I really know, and that's you.
"I don't want to die, and I'm going to fight like hell not to, but I'm not afraid to die."