Jeff Bridges says his tumor has shrunk significantly, but recovering from COVID has been a longer and more complicated process.
Talk to AARP For the magazine’s latest cover story, Bridges gave an update on his cancer treatment and explained how he reasoned about returning to work after his battle with COVID-19.
The actor, who confided in the magazine a few days before filming the second season of The old man, shared that his health has largely returned and that the nine-by-twelve-inch tumor he once had in his stomach has shrunk considerably during his treatment. (The actor publicly announced that he was diagnosed with lymphoma in October 2020 and shared in September 2021 that his cancer was in remission.)
“I was doing these fight scenes for the first episode of The old man and I had no idea I had a 9 x 12 inch tumor in my body,” Bridges shares, before noting that her tumor has since shrunk “down to the size of a marble.”
Where he has encountered the most problems with his health is in his COVID-19 recovery. Bridges was being treated for his cancer at the same time he contracted the virus, a tricky situation for someone whose immune system was already struggling. The recovery process, he said, is still ongoing.
“A big part of getting better was setting very small goals. At first they said, ‘How long can you stand?’ For a while my record was 45 seconds before I collapsed. And then they were like, ‘Oh look, you stay up for a minute! That’s so cool, now can you walk five feet? “, He recalls.
The actor, who previously shared that he contemplated his own death as he battled two illnesses, also wondered – if he survived – if he could work again.
“I didn’t think I would work again, really,” he told the magazine. “So at first I said, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ But eventually it became, ‘Maybe I can.’ I have to admit that I was still afraid to go back to work.
What ultimately changed, he said, was the same kind of offbeat perspective that carried him through his COVID episode. “I started to view my recovery as a gift,” he said.