Actor Jeff Bridges was worried he'd never work again after battling lymphoma and COVID-19, the Daily Wire reported. The 73-year-old actor revealed details of his ordeal in an interview published Tuesday in AARP magazine.
The "Big Lebowski" star underwent cancer treatment in 2020 after doctors found a "9-by-12 inch tumor" caused by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Bridges' cancer went into remission in September 2021, and his tumor was reduced "to the size of a marble" as he continued his arduous road to recovery.
"It was slow at first, as they worked to find the right chemo cocktail for me," Bridges recalled. "I got this letter from the chemo place informing me I had contracted COVID [in January 2021]," he continued.
"I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough," Bridges said.
However, lymphoma "was nothing compared to the COVID," the Academy Award-winning actor said. "I remember the doctor saying to me, 'Jeff, you've got to fight. You're not fighting,'" Bridges continued.
"But I didn't get it anymore. I just didn't know how to do that. I was in surrender mode," he continued.
"I'd say to myself, 'Everybody dies, and this is me dying,'" Bridges went on. "And I'd hear myself go, 'Oh, well, here we are, on to the next adventure.'"
However, Bridges made it through the virus after doctors used convalescent plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient. The treatment helps boost immunity by providing natural antibodies to the virus, according to the National Institutes of Health.
After surviving his bout with COVID-19 and enduring cancer treatments, Bridges had to work to regain his strength. "A lot of getting better was a matter of setting really small goals," he recalled.
"At first they'd say, 'How long can you stand?' For a while, my record was 45 seconds before I'd collapse," Bridges said.
"And then they were saying: 'Oh, look, you're standing for a minute! That's so cool; now can you walk 5 feet?'" the actor said of his rehabilitation.
"I didn't think I'd ever work again, really," Bridges added. "So at first, I said, 'Well, we'll see.' But eventually, that became, 'Maybe I can,'" he realized.
"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," Bridges said.
Bridges has had a stellar acting career and made a name for himself with the rough-and-tumble characters he created. The actor, famous for his role in "True Grit," possesses exactly that as he has endured so much and lived to tell about it.