“It’s knocking on the door,” Fox, 61, said of the disease. “It’s getting harder. It’s getting harder. It’s getting harder every day, but it is what it is. Who do I see about it?”
Fox, an Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at the age of 29. He was filming “Doc Hollywood” and sought medical advice for a tremor in his pinky finger. He didn’t Make it public He had been ill for many years.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and debilitating disorder that causes uncontrollable jerks and turns, tremors, slurred speech, and difficulty with balance and coordination. As the disease progresses Nerve cells in the brain Weakening, or dying, is more common in men, although researchers don’t know why. Actor Richard Lewis, 75, recently announced he has Parkinson’s disease.
A clip from the documentary shows Fox tripping and falling hard on a New York City sidewalk. A passer-by checked on him. His response: “You knocked me off my feet.”
Fox said he had surgery for a benign tumor in his spine that “messed up my walk,” and he has less stability in his legs.
“Now I break things,” he said. “This arm and this arm, this elbow. I broke my face. I broke my arm falling down.
Falls, he noted, are “a big killer” of people with Parkinson’s. He also noted that there is a risk of food cravings and pneumonia.
“All these subtle ways get to you,” he said. “You don’t die of Parkinson’s disease. You die of Parkinson’s disease. I will not be 80 years old.
In 2000, Fox received the Michael J. Fox started the Foundation, which supported more ambitious research in the field. In April, researchers announced a major breakthrough, a test method that could identify patterns of a protein that could be used to diagnose Parkinson’s much earlier and reduce the number of people misdiagnosed with the disease.
The research stems from the Fox Foundation’s Parkinson’s Progress Markers Initiative, which has followed more than 1,100 volunteers with and without the disease for more than a decade.
“It changes everything,” Fox said of the research. “Where we are now, in five years we can tell if they have it, if they’re going to get it, and we know how to conduct it.”
Interviewed by Fox early in his career, Pauly noted that the disease has taken a visible toll. “Every time I look at you, I can see that it took a little bit too much,” she told him.
“For 30 years,” he replied. “Not many of us have had this disease for 30 years. It absorbs. He has Parkinson’s disease. For some families, this is a dream come true. It’s a living hell. You have to deal with facts that are beyond the comprehension of most people.
Despite the challenges of living with Parkinson’s, Fox noted that she has advantages that others don’t.
“I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with these things,” he said. “With gratitude, hope is constant. If you find something to be grateful for, you can find something to look forward to and move on.”
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