Michael J. Fox has opened up about a series of recent health scares in an emotive new interview.
The Back to the Future actor revealed to The New York Times that over the course of the last year, he has experienced a series of spine problems that resulted in him needing both an operation and physical therapy.
“I was having this recurring problem with my spinal cord,” Fox said, adding that doctors informed him he could have reduced feeling and mobility difficulties.
“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.”
The actor has suffered with Parkinson’s Disease since 1991 and was diagnosed with the illness at just 29-years-old. His Parkinson’s foundation has raised over $800 million for both research into, and increased awareness of, the disease.
Fox went on to reveal that he needed surgery for the health issue in the last year, followed by extensive physical therapy. “I did it all,” he explained of his therapy. He felt able to act again until a fall left him with a serious arm fracture.
“Last August, I was supposed to go to work. I woke up, walked into the kitchen to get breakfast, misstepped and I went down. I fractured the hell out of my arm. I ended up getting 19 pins and a plate. It was such a blow.” The actor added that despite the difficulties of the last year, he was remaining optimistic by new treatment options for the disease.
Fox then went on to outline his frustrations with the current US government, especially in regards to Donald Trump’s treatment of a disabled reporter.
He said: “Trump is not sitting around thinking about Parkinson’s…But one thing that angered me is when he mocked that reporter. That was a stab to the guts. Not just for me, but for people I know and work with, who try so hard to overcome other people’s atavistic aversion to anybody that moves differently.”
Fox concluded his interview by detailing a new book he is writing, inspired by his health experiences over the last year and the self-doubt the illness caused.
“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. I realised that the understanding I’d reached with Parkinson’s was sincere but risked being glib.
“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 realised: Wow, it can get a lot worse. Being in a position where I couldn’t walk and had health aides 24 hours a day, was I still prepared to say, ‘Hey, chin up!’ Parkinson’s, it’s a strange test.”
You can make a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation here.