Jeff Bridges is a survivor.
So far the actor has beat both advanced cancer and a severe case of Covid-19.
In a new cover story for AARP magazine, Bridges said he was on a pandemic break from his series “The Old Man” when he “was doing some exercises while on the ground and felt what seemed like a bone in my stomach.”
His wife Susan Geston suggested that he get checked out, he said, but Bridges was hesitant to go to the doctor’s because he wasn’t in pain.
“I’m hiking and feeling great. My shins really itch, and I think, Oh, I just got, you know, dry skin,” Bridges recalled. “Then I had night sweats, but thought, That’s just hot summer nights. It turns out those are lymphoma symptoms.”
The 73-year-old now says he had a 9-by-12-inch tumor which he began chemotherapy treatment to battle.
Then Covid hit him hard (in part because the chemo had wiped out his immune system) which led to a five-week hospitalization.
“Cancer was nothing compared to the Covid,” he said.
Initially, Bridges said, he was willing to accept that he was old and dying. Then he began to lean into the stoicism he learned portraying Dan Chase, his role as a former CIA operative on “The Old Man.”
“For me, in that hospital bed, the obstacle was death. And that was the way. I kept thinking, Here’s the problem, you know? Here’s the challenge,” he said. “I asked myself, ‘How are you going to go about it?’ And I thought, I’m a dancer, man, and I’m a musician. I’m going to jam with this situation, you know?”
Now, Bridges said, his tumor has shrunk “to the size of a marble,” he’s recovered from Covid and filming Season 2 of “The Old Man.”
“I didn’t think I’d ever work again, really,” he recalled. “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.”
FX’s “The Old Man” is streaming on Hulu.
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