I particularly liked his comments that reinforce my oft-repeated saying that “I have two diseases: Parkinson’s disease and John Schappi’s disease.” (This is an adaptation of a comment I first heard from the moderator of my PD support group, who is a 25-year Parkinson’s survivor.)
I think the same concept applies to everyone dealing with ailments. Yes, Parkinson’s may be a bit more idiosyncratic than most diseases. But I don’t believe there’s any condition where “one size fits all.” Drugs and rehabilitative therapies can create as many individual, specific results as there are people who use them. For that reason, it’s vital we assume active roles in managing our own health care.
Getting back to Michael J. Fox…. He became famous — and beloved — playing Alan P. Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties. His other successes include the Back to the Future trilogy, and his award-winning lead role on Spin City, from which he retired in 2000. That same year, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has become one of the world’s leading organizations in the search for a cure.
I highly recommend his memoir, the New York Times bestseller, Lucky Man.
Finally, here’s what Michael said in a recent interview about coming to terms with the disease:
I don’t look at life as a battle or as a fight. I don’t think I’m scrappy. I’m accepting. I say “living with” or “working through” Parkinson’s. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it. I look at it like I’m a fluid that’s finding the fissures and cracks and flowing through.