Michael J. Fox continues to face new health challenges during his 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The Back to the future star said People magazine that over the past year, “I broke my cheek, then my hand, then my shoulder, I had a replacement shoulder, and I broke my [right] arm, then I broke my elbow. I’m 61 and I feel it a little more.”
Fox admitted, “It got worse,” from where he was in 2020 — and this time was no picnic. At the time, in addition to the challenges he faces with the neurodegenerative disorder – including tremors, stiffness, cognitive issues and mood swings – he underwent risky surgery to remove a benign tumor from his spinal cord. His recovery included learning to walk again. As he got back to his feet, he fell and fractured his arm, requiring another surgery to insert 19 pins and a plate.
“I arrive where the last of my wounds is healing; my arm is fine,” said the Family ties and spin the town alum said of his current condition recovering from injuries on top of injuries. “Life is interesting. It gives you these things.”
Fox, who has raised more than $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research through his Michael J. Fox Foundation, said his “entire mission” now is: “Do not fall. So anything that works so I don’t fall, whether it’s a walker or a wheelchair, a cane, a guy with a belt around my waist holding it – I use all those tools.” He was proud to be able to walk unaided onto a stage for his recent reunion with Back to the future co-star Christopher Lloyd earlier this month. He said, “I just got to where I walk regularly again.”
The article notes that while Parkinson’s disease, which Fox was diagnosed with in 1991, is affecting his movements, his new injuries don’t necessarily mean his disease is progressing any faster. It was bad luck in some cases – for example, he contracted an infection after surgery for his broken hand. Then, not being able to use her hand led to falls. It was a trip – and a trip that shook his optimism.
“I was never really a grumpy guy, but I got really grumpy and short with people,” Fox said. “I try to nip it in the bud. I always think about these helpers who work with me. And I often say to them, ‘Whatever I say, imagine I said ‘please’ to the beginning and “thank you” at the end”. Just take a second and absorb that I could have said that if I was more myself, but I didn’t, so I apologize.
He said it had been difficult for his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan.
“It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t just about me,” he said. “If I break my arm, I take care of my broken arm. But if you are the person who lives with, loves and supports the person with the broken arm, you have to do everything.”
But his optimism still shines despite his challenges.
“It’s been a struggle, but I’m happy,” he said. “I say this because I hope that on some level people can find happiness despite what they’re going through.”
Fox is featured on the cover of the magazine’s Kindness issue. Pollan, with whom he shares four children, told the outlet that even during his toughest days, Fox is “one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
Fox officially retired in 2020, saying not being able to speak reliably was a game-breaker. The good wife The actor said the decision was made after he couldn’t remember his lines while filming on the set of Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland.
“I couldn’t focus on one line,” he said. “I didn’t fight. I couldn’t do it, so I didn’t do it anymore.”
That said, you will continue to see it. He is working on an AppleTV+ documentary due in 2023 about his life. He will also receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar for outstanding philanthropic efforts, at the Governors Awards on November 19.
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