Beloved actor Michael J. Fox has been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1991, but he was recently hit with yet another health scare that brought him to his knees.
Last Friday, Fox opened up about his latest health scare in a new interview in which he also said that he had gotten used to life with Parkinson’s after all these years.
“I’d developed a relationship with Parkinson’s where I gave the disease it’s room to do what it needed to do and it left me areas I could still flourish in,” Fox said.
However, Fox was hit with a new health challenge last year that greatly tested his positive outlook on life.
“I was having this recurring problem with my spinal cord. I was told it was benign but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and have difficulty moving,” Fox said. “Then all of a sudden I started falling — a lot. It was getting ridiculous.”
The Back To The Future star went on to say that he was “trying to parse what was Parkinson’s and what was the spinal thing.”
“But it came to the point where it was probably necessary to have surgery, so I had surgery, and an intense amount of physical therapy after,” Fox said. “I did it all, and eventually people asked me to do some acting. Last August I was supposed to go to work. I woke up, walked into the kitchen to get breakfast, misstepped and I went down. I fractured the Hell out of my arm. I ended up getting 19 pins and a plate. It was such a blow.”
Though the health scare was difficult, Fox still managed to draw some positives from it.
“I try not to get too new age-y. I don’t talk about things being ‘for a reason.’ But I do think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it,” he said. “In my case, what was it that made me skip down the hallway to the kitchen thinking I was fine when I’d been in a wheelchair six months earlier? It’s because I had certain optimistic expectations of myself, and I’d had results to bear out those expectations, but I’d had failures too. And I hadn’t given the failures equal weight.”
These days, Fox is doing much better. While he still acts from time to time, he has devoted much of his life to his foundation that has raised over $800 million for Parkinson’s research. He’s also working on a new book about his health challenges last year.
“My health issues last year brought me to places where I started to say, ‘was it false hope I’d been selling? Is there a line beyond which there is no consolation?’ For me to get to that place is pretty dark,” Fox confessed. “I realized that the understanding I’d reached with Parkinson’s was sincere but risked being glib. I’d made peace with the disease but presumed others had the same relationship with the disease when they didn’t.”
“Then when I started to deal with the effects from the spinal surgery, I realized: wow, it can get a lot worse,” he continued. “Being in a position where I couldn’t walk and had health aides 24 hours a day, was I still prepared to say, ‘Hey, chin up!’ Parkinson’s, it’s a strange test.”
God bless this man, and may he continue to be strong as he fights these health issues!