For over three decades, Michael J. Fox has been facing the challenges of living with Parkinson's disease. In a recent interview with Jane Pauley, the actor opened up about the difficulties he has faced and his outlook on life.
The Harsh Reality of Parkinson's Disease
Fox candidly shared with Pauley: "It's tough, having Parkinson's... It's getting harder every day, but that's just the way it is." He added, "You don't die from Parkinson's, you die with it.
I'm not going to be 80. I won't be 80." Despite the difficulties, Fox has found a way to maintain a positive outlook. He stated, "I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff, and I realize, with gratitude, that optimism is sustainable.
If you can find something to be grateful for, then you find something to look forward to and you carry on."
A Setback on the Path to Recovery
In his journey with Parkinson's, Fox has faced additional setbacks, including a surgery to remove a benign tumor on his spine that disrupted his mobility and caused him to "break" other parts of his body, including his arm, elbow, face, and hand.
This is why he now uses a wheelchair. He also spoke about the "big killer" of Parkinson's disease, which is falls, as well as food aspiration and pneumonia.
Hope for the Future
Despite the challenges, Fox remains optimistic about the future of Parkinson's research and treatment.
He shared, "In five years, they will be able to tell if you have it, they will be able to tell if you're ever going to get it, and we'll know how to treat it." Since his diagnosis at the age of 29, Fox has become a leading advocate for Parkinson's research and education.
In 2000, he founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help raise awareness and fund studies.
A Happy Man, Despite the Challenges
In a 2021 interview with AARP magazine, Fox shared that he is not afraid of death. He stated, "I'm really open with people about medication.
When they ask me if I will get rid of Parkinson's disease in my lifetime, I tell them that I am 60 years old, and science is demanding. So - no." He added, "I am a truly happy man. I don't have a morbid thought in my head - I'm not afraid of death. Not at all."