Michael J. Fox Opens Up About Recent Health Scares and Parkinson's Disease Battle

Michael J. Fox
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Michael J. Fox continues to stay positive amid his health struggles.

The 57-year-old Back to the Future star has been living with Parkinson's Disease for over 20 years, but in recent years he's also had a couple other health scares.  

Last April, Fox underwent spinal surgery unrelated to his Parkinson's, and in a new interview with the New York Times published on Friday, the actor revealed that he also recently fractured his arm.

"I was having this recurring problem with my spinal cord," Fox explains. "I was told it was benign but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving. Then all of a sudden I started falling -- a lot. It was getting ridiculous. I was trying to parse what was the Parkinson's and what was the spinal thing. But it came to the point where it was probably necessary to have surgery. So I had surgery, and an intense amount of physical therapy after."

"I did it all, and eventually people asked me to do some acting," he continued, adding that last August he walked into his kitchen to have some breakfast and "misstepped." "I went down," he recalls. "I fractured the hell out of my arm. I ended up getting 19 pins and a plate. It was such a blow."

When asked how he dealt with the accident, he states that he doesn't like to talk about things happening "for a reason," but he does "think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it."

"In my case, what was it that made me skip down the hallway to the kitchen thinking I was fine when I’d been in a wheelchair six months earlier?" he says. "It’s because I had certain optimistic expectations of myself, and I’d had results to bear out those expectations, but I’d had failures too. And I hadn’t given the failures equal weight."

Meanwhile, Fox doesn't let those incidents bring him down. He continues to work when he can and hopes to ultimately find a cure for Parkinson's.

"I still believe in a cure," he expresses. "For so long, Sinemet L-dopa [a brand-name version of the carbidopa-levodopa medication used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms] was the gold standard. That was all we had, and it gave relief but it only lasted a certain amount of time and led to dyskinesias and other side-effects. So it was important to find better treatments."

"There’s a new drug that’s been approved that’s like a rescue inhaler for when you freeze. Because freezing is a very real thing for Parkinson’s patients," he continues. "I could be sitting here with my foot on fire and a glass of water over there on the table and all I’d be able to do is think about how good it would feel to pour that water on my foot. Treatments for that can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Now, if we can prophylactically keep Parkinson’s symptoms from developing in a person, is that a cure? No. Would I take it? Yes."

ET caught up with Fox back in November, where he gave an update on his health, as well as shared how he and his wife, Tracy Pollan, keep their marriage strong.

Watch the video below to hear what they shared.


Michael J. Fox Just Got His First Tattoo at Age 57 -- You'll Never Guess What It Is!

Michael J. Fox and Wife Tracy Pollan On How They've Kept Their Marriage Strong (Exclusive)

Michael J. Fox On How He Stays Connected With His Four Kids (Exclusive)

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