Michael J. Fox, who has battled Parkinson's disease for decades, says the lowest moment in his life happened while he was recovering from an unrelated health issue.

In 2018, the 59-year-old actor underwent a risky spinal cord surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumour.

"I was heading for paralysis if I didn't get it operated on," he told People. A few months later, the Family Ties star, who had to learn to walk again, was alone in his family's New York City apartment when he fell and shattered his arm.

"That was definitely my darkest moment," he said.

"I just snapped. I was leaning against the wall in my kitchen, waiting for the ambulance to come, and I felt like, 'This is as low as it gets for me.'

"It was when I questioned everything. Like, 'I can't put a shiny face on this. There's no bright side to this, no upside. This is just all regret and pain'."

 

The usually buoyant Spin City star began to question his unflagging optimism.

"Parkinson's, my back, my arm … it still didn't add up to moving the needle on the misery index compared to what some people go through," he said. "I thought, 'How can I tell these people, chin up; look at the bright side; things are going to be great?'"

Fox revealed that he convalesced by watching game shows from the '70s and slowly regained his positive outlook.

"Optimism is really rooted in gratitude," he said. "Optimism is sustainable when you keep coming back to gratitude, and what follows from that is acceptance. Accepting that this thing has happened, and you accept it for what it is. It doesn't mean that you can't endeavour to change.

"It doesn't mean you have to accept it as a punishment or a penance, but just put it in its proper place. Then see how much the rest of your life you have to thrive in, and then you can move on."

These days, Fox says he lives a quiet life with his wife Tracy Pollan and their four children, son Sam, 31, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 25, and daughter Esmé, 19.

RELATED: Michael J. Fox describes diagnosis with Parkinson's

Michael J. Fox with his wife Tracy Pollan. Picture: Evan Agostini/AP
Michael J. Fox with his wife Tracy Pollan. Picture: Evan Agostini/AP

"I'm actually having a really good time," he said.

"People don't believe me, but I love life. I love being with my family. I love being with Tracy. I love that I don't do a lot of useless stuff that I used to do, because I don't have the energy or the time. I'm grateful that I went through a crucible there in my late 50s. I figured some of this crap out finally."

Fox's new memoir No Time Like The Future comes out on November 17.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission

 

Originally published as Michael J. Fox's secret health battle


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