Michael J Fox: ‘Every step now is a frigging math problem, so I take it slow’ https://t.co/pIEutwf2gC— Guardian Science (@guardianscience) November 21, 2020
Michael J. Fox recently sat down for an interview with The Guardian (via video chat) to talk about his life and career. A few major points:
- He is now 59 years old, which is considered to be the average age for a Parkinson's diagnosis. He has been living with the disease for 30 years.
- He had to undergo surgery in 2018 to remove a tumour on his spine, which was actually unrelated to Parkinson's. One day, when he was alone at home, he fell over and smashed his upper arm so badly it required 19 screws. The recovery from the surgery was extremely traumatic because Parkinson's made it difficult for his fragile spinal cord to cope with the aftermath, and he fell into a depression: “There is no way to put a shine on my circumstance,” [...] “Have I oversold optimism as a panacea, commodified hope? In telling other patients, ‘Chin up! It will be OK’, did I look to them to validate my optimism? Is it because I needed to validate it myself? Things don’t always turn out. Sometimes things turn shitty. My optimism is suddenly finite.”
- He says: “You don’t die from Parkinson’s, but you do die with it.” He can no longer perform basic functions, such as playing his guitar, writing or typing. In fact, he had to dictate his latest book to his assistant.
- On Trump mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a disability. “When you see your particular group mocked, it’s such a gut punch. It’s so senseless and cheap. There’s no way I get up in the morning and mock orange people."
- He felt "uniquely prepared" for lockdown: “All the virtual meetings and keeping 5ft away from people? I do that anyway." On his mother's 90th birthday, he was scared of knocking her over because his sense of balance was getting worse.
- On the future: “Some of those changes are hard. But as limited as I am in some regards, if you’d told me when I was diagnosed that I’d have this life now and do the things that I do, I’d have said, ‘I’ll take it.’ I can move around – it takes some planning, but I can move. I can think, I can communicate and I can express affection. What else do you want?”
His new book is called "No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality". The interview is long but worth reading.