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Michael J. Fox On Living With Parkinson’s: ‘I Broke This Elbow. I Broke This Hand’

Michael J. Fox details what life has been like with Parkinson’s disease and the related health challenges that come with it.

“I broke this shoulder — had it replaced,” he told Variety in an interview published Thursday. “I broke this elbow. I broke this hand. I had an infection that almost cost me a finger. I broke my face. I broke this humerus. And that sucked.”

The “Back to the Future” star, who previously discussed the shortened life expectancy of people with Parkinson’s disease, is currently promoting “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” — a documentary about his career by Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim.

The actor was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 but kept it a secret. He has since founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation and amassed over $1 billion in funding. Fox told Variety he’s “still happy to join the day and be a part of things.”

“I just enjoy the little math problems of existence,” he said. “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.”

Fox said “being optimistic” means hoping not to “break as many bones tomorrow.” People with Parkinson’s face an increased risk of death from falling or pneumonia, among other medical issues, according to Fox’s foundation.

Michael J. Fox attends the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research gala at Cipriani South Street on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York.
Michael J. Fox attends the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research gala at Cipriani South Street on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York.

Michael J. Fox attends the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research gala at Cipriani South Street on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in New York.

The disease can be revealed by a mere tremor of the hand and “affects the nervous system,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It can cause muscle stiffness, impaired speech and uncontrolled movement.

While the actor took small parts in the last two decades in shows like “Scrubs” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he officially stopped acting in 2020. Guggenheim reportedly spent a year with Fox to observe and interview him for the upcoming documentary.

“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’s transition from Hollywood star at the height of his celebrity to philanthropist has been impressive. He even joked about it on “Curb” but never minced his words.

“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,” he said. “I won’t win at this. I will lose. But. There’s plenty to be gained in the loss.”

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