- Actor Jeff Bridges just celebrated his 72nd birthday. In a recent post and update on his website, he shared a couple of fun sketches and a heartfelt poem by his late mother that capture his dedication to enjoying every day that’s given to you.
- Bridges’ has had many a health battle over the last couple of years including his lymphoma, now in remission, and his intense experience with COVID-19.
- Reaching milestones during or after a cancer battle is huge. These events – like getting engaged or reaching another birthday – may mean even more than they did previously, so it’s important to take them all in and celebrate all that you’ve overcome.
The star of The Big Lebowski took to Instagram and his website to share a couple of fun sketches and a poem in honor of his birthday over the weekend.
Read MoreView this post on Instagram
“Yeee Ha!! I’ve been born! I’m alive! Ha Ha… with you guys!” one sketch of a face with a speech bubble reads.
He also included a poem entitled Birthday that his mother, the late and great actress Dorothy Bridges, wrote that perfectly captures Bridges seemingly unceasing ability to cherish the every day.
“Don’t count the years, my love, they do not show / The quality of how your life is spent. / Don’t place false value on what mirrors know, / The beauty love reflects is truer meant. Don’t long for youthful times that used to be, / Or mourn dreams that never did come true. / The past is best used as a memory. / An every day can build new dreams for you. / Don’r thrust aside the honor of your age, / Nor make acceptance difficult and glum. / Relentless ticks the clock, despite your rage, / So live with pride in what you have become. / Dear heart, the love that fills our life so much / Creates a magic age that time can’t touch!”
Bridges’ Cancer and COVID-19 Battles
Bridges broke the news of his cancer diagnosis in October 2020 via social media. He announced his lymphoma diagnosis saying, “I have a great team of doctors, and the prognosis is good.” He also thanked his followers for their “prayers and well wishes” and threw in a friendly reminder to vote.
He continued to inform fans about his health with various posts on social media and updates under the “Latest” tab on his website. Then on Sept. 13, 2021, Bridges gave two very important updates.
“The 9” x 12” mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble,” Bridges wrote announcing that his cancer was in remission.
He also shared the news that he had a harrowing battle with COVID-19 that was, thankfully, “in the rear view mirror.”
“Covid kicked my ass pretty good, but I’m double vaccinated & feeling much better now,” he wrote.
In another entry posted that day that was originally written on March 28, 2021, he shared more details about his experience with the virus.
“On January 7th I get a letter, from the place where I”m getting my chemo infusion for the cancer. The letter tells me I may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus at their joint,” Bridges wrote. “Soon after, my wife Sue and I share an ambulance to the ICU. We both got the ‘Rona.”
He goes on to share that while his wife spent five days in the hospital, he was there for five weeks.
“The reason I’m there so long is because my immune system is shot from the chemo. My dance with Covid makes my cancer look like a piece of cake,” Bridges wrote. “This brush with mortality has brought me a real gift… It’s a matter of opening ourselves to receive the gift. We, (I) often want some other gift that life isn’t giving us. I mean, who would want to get cancer & covid? Well… it turns out I would. I would, because I get to learn more about love, & learn things that I never would have if I never got it.”
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that begins in the white blood cells called lymphocytes. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, about 90,390 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with lymphoma in 2021 – 8,830 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma and 81,560 cases of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
You might be at a higher risk for lymphoma if you:
- Have been infected with the HIV or Epstein-Barr virus
- Had an organ transplant
- Have a family history of lymphoma
- Have been treated with radiation or chemotherapy drugs for cancer in the past
- Have an autoimmune disease
We don’t know the specific type of lymphoma that Bridges has, but it’s important to note there are more than 40 different types of the disease. Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are the main two sub-categories with the latter being more common. The type of white blood cells linked to the disease determines the distinction. If doctors are unable to detect the Reed-Sternberg cell – a giant cell derived from B lymphocytes – then it is categorized as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
People with lymphoma do not always have symptoms, but common ones are:
- Swollen glands in your neck, armpit or groin
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling tired
- Swelling in your stomach
Reaching Milestones as a Cancer Survivor
Reaching milestones during or after a cancer battle is huge. These events – like getting engaged or reaching another birthday – may mean even more than they did previously, so it’s important to take them all in and celebrate all that you’ve overcome.
Chrissy Degennaro is a cancer warrior determined to keep enjoying these precious milestones. She has been battling a rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma for 14 years, and was first diagnosed when she was just 36 years old with a 2-year-old son. When she was given her diagnosis, she almost expected to not be able to see him enter kindergarten. But thanks to 27 rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, a CAR-T cell trial and two CAR-T cell transplants over following 14 years, she’s able to keep making memories with her family.
“You know, I do live one day at a time,” Chrissy previously told SurvivorNet. “Now, maybe I can go a week, a month, but things are looking pretty good. I’m able to be here for more milestones for my son, for more holidays, more birthdays. I do feel like I have had another chance at life.”