Michael J. Fox is opening up about living with Parkinson’s Disease. In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Fox revealed that life “is getting tougher. Every day it’s tougher.”
Now, 61 years old, Fox believes he can see his future. And he admits he doesn’t think he will I’ve to see his 80th year.
Michael J. Fox Admits Life Is Getting ‘Tougher’ With Parkinson’s
“My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to,” Fox told host Jane Pauley before she asked if Parkinson’s will “make the call at some point.” Fox heartbreakingly replied, saying, “Yeah, it’s banging on the door.”
“Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna lie. It’s gettin’ hard, it’s gettin’ harder. It’s gettin’ tougher. Every day it’s tougher. That’s, that’s the way it is. I mean, you know, who do I see about that? …”
Fox also opened up about additional health issues he faced head-on in addition to living with Parkinson’s. “I had spinal surgery. I had a tumor on my spine.”
Fox went on to share that it was because of that back surgery that he has been photographed using a cane to get around. While the tumor was thankfully “benign,” he shared that the surgery “messed up my walking.”
The actor has also dealt with several broken bones, revealing that he’s fractured his arm, elbow, hand, and face as a result of falling. Fox revealed that falling is “a big killer” when it comes to life with Parkinson’s.
“It’s falling … and aspirating food and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that gets ya. You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s. So — so I’ve been — I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. … I’m not gonna be 80. I’m not gonna be 80.”
As Mamas Uncut previously reported, Fox was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he was just 29 years old. Fox was just newly married to his wife, Tracy Pollan, whom he met on the set of Family Ties a few years earlier.
Back in June 2022, he also opened up more about the symptoms he lives with on a daily basis. Fox, at the time, shared that Parkinson’s has left him with tremors, speech difficulty, and muscle rigidity. Additionally, and perhaps the most surprising of them all, Parkinson’s has also left him without his sense of smell.
According to Fox while this symptom may surprise many people, it’s actually a fairly common thing to experience for those battling Parkinson’s Disease. Now, he relies on his memories from childhood to recall different smells from his past.
“I remember the smell of pine, just after Christmas, in this apartment building I lived in. It had balconies, fire escapes, and everyone would put the trees out there for New Year’s before they got picked up, because you couldn’t put them on the road. And the whole place smelled like pine. It smelled like a pine forest.”
According to Medical News Today, “an impaired sense of smell is one of the earliest clinical features of both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. There is an overall reduction in the sense of smell, particularly affecting the individual’s ability to identify and recognize odors.”
While this particular symptom of Parkinson’s disease often goes undiagnosed until additional, more obvious, symptoms of Parkinson’s reveal themselves, researchers are hoping this discovery will aid in early diagnosis for future patients.
As a result of Parkinson’s affecting his memory and his ability to memorize lines, Fox ultimately stepped back from acting. And while Fox has become a legendary actor over the years, he admits he didn’t panic when the disease got in his way of doing just that.
“I didn’t freak out. I just went, ‘Well that’s that. Moving on.’ A key element of this process is memorizing lines, and I can’t do it,” he said. “So, I go to the beach.”
Now, Fox is focusing on different interests, including writing and his foundation. While he can no longer physically write or type, he dictated his last book to an assistant.
“My short-term memory is shot,” Fox told People. “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing,” he said. “Luckily, I really enjoy it.”
On his foundation’s website, Fox opted to keep his diagnosis a secret for several years while he continued to live his life in the spotlight. According to The New York Times, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has “the most credible voice on Parkinson’s research in the world.”
It is also the “world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s drug development.”
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.