Jeff Bridges Has a New Lease on Life After Cancer
- After facing non-Hodgkin lymphoma and a case of Covid-19 that left him in the hospital for months, actor Jeff Bridges says he has a new sense of gratitude.
- The 72-year-old actor said being on “death’s door” made him appreciate his life, work, and family that much more.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer of a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system.
- For aggressive types of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a chemotherapy combination known as R-CHOP is often given.
“I am left with an aftertaste from the whole experience,” Bridges said. “It smacks of the preciousness of life, of gratitude for all that I’ve been given. With my relationships, and my family, I have so much to be thankful for.”Read More
After all of the struggle, like so many cancer survivors, Bridgers was left with a renewed appreciation for life.
“I’ll be honest. I didn’t know if I was going to make it,” he told Esquire. “I was on death’s door there for a while in the hospital … When I finally went back to work, after a two-year hiatus, it was the most bizarre kind of thing. It felt like a dream. I came back after all that time, and saw the same faces [while shooting The Old Man], the same cast and crew. It was like we had a long weekend. I gathered everyone and I said, ‘I had the most bizarre dream, you guys.’ I was sick and out, but all that feels like a gray mush now.”
Living with gratitude after cancer
Like Bridges, many cancer survivors find themselves with a different and more appreciative outlook on life after going through treatment. However, many medical professionals will tell you, anecdotally, that living with gratitude can make a huge difference while going through treatment as well.
Dr. Zuri Murrell explains how living with gratitude can lead to a healthier mindset.
“Patients who do well with cancer, they live life with that kind of gratitude,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal cancer surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation. “…They’re grateful, not for cancer, but for an opportunity to know that life is finite … they appreciate it for one of the first times ever because they know it may not be forever that they get to do this.”
What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
The cancer Bridges was diagnosed with, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, begins in a type of white blood cell called the lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system. There are a few different subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After someone is diagnosed, their doctor will need to determine if it is indolent (slow-growing) or aggressive, and if the lymphocytes being affected are B-cells or T-cells. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Treatment depends on what subtype a person has.
“For patients with indolent lymphomas, sometimes patients may not require therapy at the time of diagnosis, if they’re asymptomatic or have a low burden of disease, whereas patients with more aggressive lymphoma would require initiation of treatment,” Dr. Jennifer Crombie, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation.
When a patient has an aggressive type of lymphoma, “We do treat patients with chemotherapy,” Dr Crombie said. “That’s the standard of care — and our most common regimen that we use for patients is something called R-CHOP.”