Michael J. Fox says Parkinson’s disease is ‘getting harder’

Michael J. Fox says Parkinson’s disease is ‘getting harder’

Michael J. Fox says Parkinson’s disease is ‘getting harder,’ can’t imagine living until he’s 80

The beloved actor discusses his health struggles and his mortality in a frank interview set to air on CBS Sunday Morning.

Author Maureen Lee Lenker

Michael J. Fox doesn’t have any illusions about the challenges of Parkinson’s disease.

The beloved actor, 61, was diagnosed when he was just 29. On this weekend’s episode of CBS Sunday Morning, he sits down with Jane Pauley to talk about the increasing obstacles that come with the disease he ages.

A preview clip shows the frankness with which Fox faces his situation, admitting that things are getting worse. “It’s banging on the door,” he says. “Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna lie. It’s gettin’ hard, it’s gettin’ harder. It’s gettin’ tougher. Every day it’s tougher. But, but that’s — that’s the way it is.”

Fox, a longtime advocate for Parkinson’s research through his own foundation, has been an immeasurable force for awareness and positivity. His foundation has played an instrumental role in identifying a biogenetic marker that could help with early diagnosis and treatment. But even Fox can’t deny his own mortality.

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He reveals to Pauley that he had spinal surgery for a benign tumor, which affected his walking and has led to a slew of problems, including two broken arms, a broken hand, and broken bones in his face.

“[Falling] is a big killer with Parkinson’s,” Fox says. “And aspirating food and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that get ya… You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s.” He adds, “I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it… I’m not gonna be 80.”

Except for hiding his diagnosis in early days while he was still at the peak of his career, Fox has been remarkably open about living with Parkinson’s. He lays his story bare in the new documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, coming to Apple TV on May 12.

In both the CBS Sunday Morning interview and Still, Fox showcases the one thing no disease can diminish: his optimism. “I can be optimistic as long as I’m grateful,” he told EW during a recent interview about the documentary. “And I can be grateful if I really think about it because I wouldn’t have had the rest of my life if it weren’t for so many things that Tracy [Pollan, his wife], chief among them, came in and intervened in. And it sounds hokey, but to this day, if I can find one little thing to be grateful for, I can be optimistic about it.”

Fox’s full CBS This Morning interview will air April 30 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

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