Michael J. Fox says he has broken several bones in the past few years, one of the indirect effects of his Parkinson’s disease.
Fox pointed to each bone he’s broken in the past few years in an interview with Variety.
“I broke this shoulder — had it replaced. I broke this elbow. I broke this hand. I had an infection that almost cost me this finger. I broke my face. I broke this humerus,” Fox said. “And that sucked.”
Fox, 61, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29, and he said he now has more medical support than he has before.
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“I have aides around me quite a bit of the time in case I fall, and that lack of privacy is hard to deal with,” he said.
Fox said his health issues in recent years pulled him into a dark time, similar to when he was first diagnosed. He said it was the people closest to him that was able to help: “My family pulled me out.”
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended and uncontrollable movements, according to the National Institutes of Health. The symptoms begin gradually and can eventually affect the ability to walk and talk, according to the NIH.
The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, muscle stiffness, slowness of movement and impaired balance, which can lead to falls, according to the NIH.
Fox officially retired from acting in 2020 because he was struggling to remember his lines, Variety reported, but the “Back to the Future” actor was recognized in November with an honorary Oscar for his advocacy work with Parkinson’s disease.
“I’ve won more awards and had more nominations since I announced my diagnosis,” Fox said. “It may be that people feel bad for me, but I prefer to look at it as an acknowledgment for continuing to have a legitimate career.”
Fox also starred in a documentary about his rise to stardom in Hollywood and 1991 diagnosis, “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” which premiered Friday on Apple TV+.
In the documentary, he opens up about his wife Tracy Pollan’s reaction to his diagnosis. “‘In sickness and in health,’ I remember her whispering,” he said. “No one outside of my family knew.”
Fox and Pollan have been married since July 1988 and share four children together: Sam, 33, Aquinnah, 28, Schuyler, 28, and Esmé, 21. Fox said he remains optimistic about his future and that there are reasons to be grateful for his life.
“I’m still happy to join the day and be a part of things,” he said. “I just enjoy the little math problems of existence. I love waking up and figuring that stuff out and at the same time being with my family. My problem is I fall down. I trip over things and fall down and break things. And that’s part of having this. But I hope that, and I feel that, I won’t break as many bones tomorrow.”
Still, Fox balked at people who call him a hero: “It’s just a nice way of people letting me know they are moved by my acceptance of things and by the way that I’ve tried to make a difference.”
“But no matter how much I sit here and talk to you about how I’ve philosophically accepted it and taken its weight, Parkinson’s is still kicking my ass. I won’t win at this. I will lose,” Fox added. “But, there’s plenty to be gained in the loss.”