In a recent interview with Jane Pauley on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Michael J. Fox spoke candidly about his battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The actor, who was first diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder in 1991 at the age of 29, revealed that living with Parkinson’s is “getting harder” and speculated about his mortality.
“It’s banging on the door,” Fox said when asked if he thinks Parkinson’s is “going to make the call for you.”
Who is Michael J. Fox? Michael J. Fox Opens Up About Living with Parkinson’s Disease: “It’s Getting Harder”
The 61-year-old actor, who created a Parkinson’s disease research foundation, went on to share that he’s broken several bones and undergone surgery as the disease has progressed.
“I’m not going to lie. It’s getting hard, it’s getting harder. It’s getting tougher. Every day it’s tougher. But that’s the way it is,” Fox said. “I had spinal surgery. I had a tumor on my spine. And it was benign, but it messed up my walking. And then, started to break stuff. Broke this arm, and I broke this arm, I broke this elbow. I broke my face. I broke my hand.”
When asked if he broke his bones falling, Fox revealed that falling is a “big killer with Parkinson’s.”
“It’s falling, and aspirating food, and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that get ya,” he said.
Despite the challenges he faces, Fox emphasized that he’s grateful for what he has and is determined to make the most of his life.
“You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s,” he said. “So I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. I’m not gonna be 80.”
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.
Symptoms can include tremors, limb stiffness, gait-and-balance problems, slowness of movement, and sleep disorders.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, symptoms “usually begin gradually and worsen over time.”
While most people with Parkinson’s develop the disease after 60, around 5% to 10% experience onset before 50.
Fox has been open about his daily experiences with Parkinson’s disease in the past, including in a November 2021 interview with AARP Magazine.
“Still, it’s hard to explain to people how lucky I am, because I also have Parkinson’s,” Fox told the outlet. “Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life — it isn’t the driver.”
Other celebrities who have publicly spoken about their Parkinson’s disease diagnoses include Ozzy Osbourne, who revealed his diagnosis in January 2020 during an interview with his family on “Good Morning America.”
“There’s so many different types of Parkinson’s,” Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife, said during the interview. “It’s not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. And it’s like you have a good day, a good day, and then a really bad day.”
Living with Parkinson’s disease can be a challenging journey, but Fox’s openness about his experiences can help raise awareness and support for those affected by the disease.
Despite the hardships he faces, Fox’s determination to make the most of his life is an inspiration to us all.