Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox’s horror health battle


The Back to the Future star, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, detailed the impact of his spinal cord injury to the New York Times.

“I was having the recurring problem with my spinal cord,” the 57-year-old comedian and actor said.

“I was told it was benign, but if it stayed static I would have diminished feeling in my legs and difficulty moving.”

Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox speak on stage at a benefit for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Picture: Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

Fox, who shot to fame in the ’80s, said the issues were “getting ridiculous”, and at one point, he was trying to differentiate which symptoms were coming from his Parkinson’s and which were from his spinal ailment.

“So I had surgery and an intense amount of physical therapy after,” he said.

“I did it all, and eventually, people asked me to do some acting.”

But then his health took a sudden turn for the worst.

“Last August, I was supposed to go to work. I woke up, walking into the kitchen to get breakfast, misstepped and I went down.

“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 setback, Fox said he tried not to get too “New Age-y.”

“I don’t talk about things being ‘for a reason’,” he said.

Fox in Back to the Future.

Fox in Back to the Future.Source:Supplied

And with his wife of many years, Tracy. Picture: Peter Kramer/Getty Images

And with his wife of many years, Tracy. Picture: Peter Kramer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“But I do 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?

“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.”

Now Fox is on the mend, he’s working on a new book.

“My health issues last year brought me to places where I started to say, ‘Was it false hope I’d been selling? Is there a line beyond which there is no consolation?’

“For me to get to that place is pretty dark.”

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

Life With Parkinson’s Disease7:23

A moving portrayal of life with Parkinson’s disease and the extraordinary strength and love one family found to cope with the disease. Courtesy: Parkinson’s NSW.



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