Jeff Bridges: Cancer was 'nothing' compared to COVID-19
Jeff Bridges has insisted cancer was "nothing" compared to COVID-19.
The 73-year-old actor contracted the virus while undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma - which he was diagnosed with in October 2020 - and recalled how he struggled to "fight" both diseases after his treatment had left his immune system "wiped out".
He told AARP - The Magazine: "I got this letter from the chemo place informing me I had contracted COVID. I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough. For me, cancer was nothing compared to the COVID."
The 'Big Lebowski' star was hospitalised for an extended period of time and praised his wife Susan Geston for being his "champion".
He said: "My wife Sue was my absolute champion. She really fought to keep me off a ventilator. I didn’t want to be on it, and the doctors didn’t necessarily want that. But Sue was adamant."
Jeff - whose tumour has now shrunk "to the size of a marble" - was "frightened" of going back to work and there were times during his illness that he didn't think he'd ever act again.
He admitted: "I didn’t think I’d ever work again, really. 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 it as a gift being presented."
The 'Crazy Heart' actor also recalled his early cancer symptoms and how his spouse had urged him to see a doctor after he "felt what seemed like a bone" in his stomach while "doing some exercises on the ground".
He said: “I’m hiking and feeling great. My shins really itch, and I think, Oh, I just got, you know, dry skin.
“Then I had night sweats, but thought, That’s just hot summer nights. It turns out those are lymphoma symptoms.”