Michael J. Fox has never let his devastating Parkinson’s disease diagnosis get him down. In fact, he told AARP Magazine that his diagnosis has led to him living a much fuller life.
The 55-year-old actor revealed that it freed him to deal with and change his life. It prompted him to take a long hard look at the way his life was going and he made changes to make living with Parkinson’s easier.
“I like to say, ‘My happiness goes in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.'”
Fox claims that going public about his diagnosis is what caused him to live a happier life. He was no longer hiding his illness. He admitted his faults and debilitating diagnosis; Michael added that doing that was liberating.
“It was empowering to have people understand what I was going through,” Fox explained.
“I immediately felt better.”
Michael shared that what he’s learned is that exercise gives you a more positive outlook on life, and he believes that “physical motion creates intellectual motion.”
Even after all these years battling Parkinson’s disease, Fox hasn’t lost his sense of humor. He believes his optimism and sense of humor are the key qualities that help keep him grounded in the midst of a long battle with the debilitating disease.
Fox explained that he hates it when people accuse him of giving other people with Parkinson’s false hope.
“To me, hope is informed optimism,” Michael said.
As for living with Parkinson’s, Fox said there are times he finds his involuntary movements “hilarious.”
“Just the other morning I come into the kitchen. ‘Oh, good, coffee. I’m gonna get some! No, wait – I’m gonna get some for Tracy,’ — who’s at the table with the paper,” Fox said.
“I pour a cup — a little trouble there. Then I put both hands around the cup. She’s watching. ‘Can I get that for you, dear?’ ‘Nah, I got it!’ Then I begin this trek across the kitchen. It starts off bad. Only gets worse. Hot java’s sloshing onto my hands, onto the floor…”
The Back To The Future star persisted and believed that he could make it to the table with the cup of coffee.
“… And Tracy’s watching calmly, going, ‘Darling, why don’t you [expletive] let me get it?’ ‘I’m almost there, babe!’ Of course, by the time I reach the table, the cup’s all but empty. ‘Here’s your coffee, dear — enjoy!'”
To Michael, the situation may be funny, but he acknowledged that many people may read about his experiences and think it’s incredibly sad that he cannot even pour himself a cup of coffee without spilling it.
Fox added that the biggest part of living with Parkinson’s is mental, not physical pain, ET Online reported.
“My visible symptoms are distracting, but none of them hurt,” Michael said.
“You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition. It was easy for me to tune into the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”
According to Us Weekly, one of the most moving experiences Fox has had after his Parkinson’s diagnosis was a phone call from boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who passed away in June, 2016.
“Muhammad Ali called me at home,” Michael remembered.
“And in this raspy, paper-thin voice, he said, ‘Ahhhhh … Michael, now that you’re in it, we’ll win this fight.’ What could I say? Sitting there alone listening to Muhammad Ali, this giant — I was welling up, almost openly weeping.”
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]