Michael J. Fox Details the Many Struggles of Living With Parkinson’s Disease: “I Won’t Win At This”

Michael J. Fox has been an open book when it comes to his battle with Parkinson’s disease – most recently evidenced by the release of his Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie. The documentary premiered on May 12 and the 61-year-old legendary actor has been hard at work promoting and marketing it. 

Ahead of the release, Fox sat down with Variety writer Brent Lang for an interview about his life with Parkinson’s, which goes beyond what many people imagine. In fact, he shed some light on the many indirect struggles and health issues he experiences as a result of his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

For example, the disease is robbing him of his balance and it results in the actor falling frequently. As if he doesn’t have enough to deal with already, the falls further result in bodily injury – in the form of broken bones in his shoulder, elbow, hand, fingers, humerus, and even the face. “And that sucked,” he said. 

Michael J. Fox also discussed the lack of privacy he receives as a result of having aides and other medical personnel around him constantly – which he finds difficult to live with. He even exhibits signs of depression as he struggles to grapple with some of the things that are happening behind the scenes. 

“I have aides around me quite a bit of the time in case I fall, and that lack of privacy is hard to deal with. I lost family members, I lost my dog, I lost freedom, I lost health. I hesitate to use the term ‘depression,’ because I’m not qualified to diagnose myself, but all the signs were there,” he explained to Variety.

Over the past few years, Michael J. Fox has lost both his mother, Phyllis Piper (d. September 2022) and father-in-law, Stephen M. Pollan (d. January 2018). He was also forced to say goodbye to his dog, Gus, who passed away in April 2021. Gus was a 120-pound mutt who had been with the couple for 10+ years. 

On Mother’s Day (May 14), Fox and his wife, Tracy Pollan, welcomed a new puppy into their lives – his name is Blue. He shared a photo of the adorable little pup on Instagram and was met with a resounding amount of love and support – especially from those who know how devastated he was after losing Gus.

Michael J. Fox is striking a healthy balance between being optimistic about the future, but also realistic about what he’s going through. He tries to stay upbeat and does his best to enjoy life as it comes, but admits that the disease is kicking his butt and it’s the type of disease that eventually takes over. 

“I just enjoy the little math problems of existence. I love waking up and figuring that stuff out and at the same time being with my family. My problem is I fall down. I trip over things and fall down and break things. And that’s part of having this,” he said – adding he tries to not let it bring him down mentally. 

He was asked how he feels about people calling him a hero, which he feels honored by – calling it a ‘nice way’ of letting him know that people are moved by his ‘acceptance of things.’ He appreciates that people are taking notice of his commitment to make a difference for those living with Parkinson’s disease. 

“But no matter how much I sit here and talk to you about how I’ve philosophically accepted it and taken its weight, Parkinson’s is still kicking my ass. I won’t win at this. I will lose. But, there’s plenty to be gained in the loss,” Michael J. Fox concluded in his interview with Variety. Don’t forget, his documentary is out now!