Mon, 4 Mar, 2019
Michael J Fox opens up about recent health struggles: "To get to that place is pretty dark"
Michael J Fox has opened up about his recent health struggles. The actor and comedian, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, revealed his new health problems in an interview with The NY Times.
“I was having the recurring problem with my spinal cord,” said the 57-year-old.
“I was told it was benign but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving. Then all of a sudden I started falling – a lot. It was getting ridiculous. I was trying to parse what was the Parkinson’s and what was the spinal thing.”
Fox revealed that he was heading for work in August 2018 when he fell and fractured his arm, resulting in him getting 19 pins and a plate to repair the bones.
While the Back To The Future star did not believe that these medical struggles happened “for a reason”, he said: “I do think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it. 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?”
Michael J. Fox attends the 2018 Fan Expo Canada at Metro Toronto Convention Centre on August 31, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
Fox is currently working on a book about his health journey. “I realized that the understanding I’d reached with Parkinson’s was sincere but risked being glib,” he said.
“I’d made peace with the disease but presumed others had that same relationship 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.'
“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.”
Upon finding out his diagnosis at the age of 29, Fox took up numerous jobs in comedy films that turned out to be critical and commercial flops.
“I was so scared,” he said. “I’m fine now but back then I wasn’t in the ‘I’m fine now.’ I was in the ‘I’m going to be bad.’ That thinking didn’t allow me to trust that I could make a decision without worrying about time restrictions or financial pressures – which were inflated in my head.”
Fox said he only began to accept his disease in 1994 and went public with it in 1998. He went on to open the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, in 2000.