Jeff Bridges says his cancer is in remission, but he contracted COVID-19 at a chemo treatment and was close to death.
Nearly a year after going public with his lymphoma diagnosis, the 71-year-old Academy Award winner shared that he's "in remission" and his tumor, which he said was "9 x 12," has shrunken to the "size of a marble."
However, Bridges shared something that he didn't reveal in his last health update at the start of the year. On Jan. 7, he received a note from the facility where he was receiving chemotherapy that said he may have been exposed to COVID there. It ended up that he was — and gave it to his wife, Susan Geston — and they both shared an ambulance to the hospital where they were placed in the ICU.
"Sue spends 5 days in the hospital. Me? 5 weeks," The Big Lebowski star wrote on his website, noting that his much longer stay was because his "immune system was shot from the chemo. (Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and it starts in white blood cells, which play an important role in the immune system by fighting infections and other diseases.)
"My dance with COVID makes my cancer look like a piece of cake," he said. It included moments of "tremendous pain," which he said he scream-sang to get through it, admitting he got "close to the pearly gates."
He said the "brush with mortality" brought him a "real gift" though. It helped him learn "more about love" and things he wouldn't have "if I never got it."
Nine months later, COVID is now "in the rearview mirror" and while it "kicked my ass pretty good," he's now double vaccinated and "much better now. I heard that the vaccine can help ... long haulers. Maybe that's the case of my quick improvement."
He also shared that he's been working with a therapist to get off oxygen assistance, which he needed when he walked around until recently. (The sound of the machine reminded him of Darth Vader, he noted.) However, he set the goal of being able to walk one of his three daughters down the aisle without oxygen — and was successful.
He was also able to share a father-daughter dance with her without the oxygen assist — and shared a sweet clip of it.
Bridges said he's excited to get back to work on FX's The Old Man and also shared a sneak peek clip from that.
His post ended with his signature sign-off, urging people to "be love."