Actor Jeff Bridges Has Had Quite the Comeback
- In the beginning of 2021, actor Jeff Bridges was dealing with both cancer and Covid-19, even saying he felt he was at “death’s door.”
- This year has been a triumph for the actor, as he fought to get his strength back, get back on set, and even landed a Golden Globe nomination for his role in The Old Man.
- Bridges was being treated for lymphoma, which is blood cancer, at the time that he was diagnosed with Covid. Because his immune system was weakened from the cancer treatment, the virus hit him particularly hard.
The series tells the story of Dan Chase (played by Bridges), a former CIA member who checked out and is now being hunted by an assassin. It has been praised by critics and fans alike, but the show had to deal with multiple disruptions in the filming schedule: first Covid-19 and then Bridges’ own health struggles.Read More
Bridges’ Cancer DiagnosisAfterwards, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and began chemotherapy treatment. While the treatment was working well, he was also diagnosed with Covid-19 in January 2021 — and because the cancer treatment had weakened his immune system, he ended up spending months in the hospital. 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.”
Bridges on Recovery
Earlier this year, Bridges experienced another triumph: he had recovered enough from his cancer battle as well as his time in the hospital to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. But the end result did not come easy.
His youngest daughter Hayley was married over the summer, and Bridges told the Independent he was determined to get his strength back enough to give her away — but he had to work with a trainer everyday to get there.
“The first goal was how long can I stand up,” he said, “and my record was 45 seconds, that’s how long I could stand up. And then it was, how many steps can I take? Oh good. Now I’m going to walk down the hall — all this with oxygen, of course.”
Bridges, after putting in the work, said “it turns out I not only got to walk her down the aisle, but I got to do the wedding dance.”
What is Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is blood cancer. The two most common types of this disease are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that affects infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. And there are more than 40 different types of lymphoma.
“Lymphoma is split up into a number of different categories,” Dr. Elise Chong, a medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet.
“The first distinguishing breakpoint, if you will, is non-Hodgkin lymphoma versus Hodgkin lymphoma,” she added, “and those sound like two different categories. But non-Hodgkin lymphoma comprises the majority of lymphoma, and Hodgkin lymphoma is a single specific type of lymphoma.”
Hodgkin lymphoma has distinctive, giant cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. The presence of these cells, which can be seen under a microscope, helps doctors determine which of the two lymphoma types someone has.
There are a few other important differences between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma to note. For one thing, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is much more common. And you’re more likely to be diagnosed with it after age 55, like Bridges. People usually develop Hodgkin lymphoma at a younger age.
It should be noted that another difference between these two types of lymphoma is that non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more likely to spread in a random fashion and be found in different groups of lymph nodes in the body, while Hodgkin lymphoma is more likely to grow in a uniform way from one group of lymph nodes directly to another.
These two different types of lymphoma behave, spread and respond to treatment differently.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff