Michael J. Fox is focused on optimism and gratitude as he discusses living with Parkinson’s disease in a new interview with Jane Pauley for “CBS Sunday Morning.”
The “Back to the Future” star, now 61, told the anchor that Parkinson’s “is the gift that keeps on taking,” and did not shy away from the more sobering effects of the incurable degenerative disease, which effects the nervous system and motor skills including walking and speech.
“I’m not gonna lie. It’s getting harder,” Fox said, adding, “Every day it’s tougher.”
His life with his family, and how living with Parkinson’s affects their day-to-day reality, will be covered in the new documentary “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” coming to Apple TV+ next month.
The actor, who first found fame as conservative Alex P. Keaton 35 years ago when the hit sitcom “Family Ties” premiered, explained in the interview that he recently underwent spinal surgery for a benign tumor, and has suffered two broken arms, a broken hand and broken bones in his face as a result of falls.
“(Falling) is a big killer with Parkinson’s,” Fox noted. “It’s falling, and aspirating food and pneumonia – all these subtle ways that (it) gets you. You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s.”
But the actor also mentioned that he’s had the disease for “30 plus years,” and that his “life is set up so that I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to.”
“I recognize how hard this is for people, and I recognize how hard it is for me, but I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff,” he told Pauley. “And I realize, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”
“If you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on,” he said.
“Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” will premiere on Apple TV+ on May 12.