Michael J. Fox is revealing how he overcame health setbacks in the years after his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
The 59-year-old actor detailed his journey to positivity following his health struggles, which “led him to question his signature optimism,” in a People interview published Tuesday. Fox first publicly talked about the nervous system disorder in 1998.
The “Back to the Future” star opened up about almost “heading for paralysis” after discovering a noncancerous tumor, which he had removed in 2018. The tumor “was constricting the (spinal) cord, so they had to be very careful in removing it so they wouldn’t do further damage,” he said.
Shortly after undergoing surgery, Fox reflected on what he called his “darkest moment”: He said falling in the kitchen and breaking his arm was “as low as it gets for me.”
“I just snapped,” he said. “It was when I questioned everything. Like, ‘I can’t put a shiny face on this. There’s no bright side to this, no upside. This is just all regret and pain.’ “
He said he jumpstarted his journey to “reclaiming his positive outlook” during his bed rest in a way that is common for many: watching TV (more specifically, ‘70s game shows).
“Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance,” he said. ”Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn’t mean that you can’t endeavor to change. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place.”
Fox now jokes that he has “a 60-year-old man’s optimism” as he continues to battle Parkinson’s.
“My life now is quiet, and I’m actually having a really good time,” Fox says. “People don’t believe me, but I love life. I love being with my family. I love being with Tracy. I love that I don’t do a lot of useless stuff that I used to do, because I don’t have the energy or the time. I’m grateful that I went through a crucible there in my late 50s. I figured some of this [expletive] out finally, and it didn’t haunt me into my ’70s and ’80s.”
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