Jeff Bridges gave fans an update on his battle with lymphoma after first revealing his diagnosis in October 2020.
The 73-year-old actor spoke to the AARP magazine in an interview published Tuesday and said his cancer, which was once a “9-by-12 inch tumor,” has shrunken “to the size of a marble.” However, he said that he’s still dealing with long-term recovery issues from his tough bout with the coronavirus.
“It was slow at first, as they worked to find the right chemo cocktail for me,” Bridges said. “I got this letter from the chemo place informing me I had contracted COVID [in January 2021]. I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough.”
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“For me,” he added. “Cancer was nothing compared to the COVID. I remember the doctor saying to me, ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.’ But I didn’t get it anymore. I just didn’t know how to do that. I was in surrender mode.”
“I’d say to myself, ‘Everybody dies, and this is me dying,'” Bridges continued. “And I’d hear myself go, ‘Oh, well, here we are, on to the next adventure.'”
Bridges got his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma into remission in September 2021 and then was treated with “convalescent plasma” which contained COVID viral antibodies.
“A lot of getting better was a matter of setting really small goals,” the actor said. “At first they’d say, ‘How long can you stand?’ For a while, my record was 45 seconds before I’d collapse. And then they were saying: ‘Oh, look, you’re standing for a minute! That’s so cool, now can you walk 5 feet?'”
“I didn’t think I’d ever work again, really,” he added. “So at first I said, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ But eventually that became, ‘Maybe I can.’ I have to admit that I was still frightened of going back to work. Then I began to think of my recovery as a gift being presented.”
“So cut to two years after taking that break,” Bridges continued. “I come back to work, and, man, it was like a dream, as if we’d just had a long weekend or something. I was seeing all the same faces in the cast and crew. Very bizarre. Everybody showed such dedication and hung in. We finished it. I appreciate that.”