Michael J. Fox and Parkinson’s: Foundations of Disability II

Michael J. Fox is an actor who has been fighting a 22 year long battle with Parkinson’s disease. In the article in Rolling Stones magazine Fox announced that he is continuing his acting career with a family sitcom about himself as a TV news anchor who has Parkinson’s. Many question if and how he will be able to handle taking on this big of a job while struggling day to day with symptoms that can be very restrictive. Fox is taking on the challenge head on and proving everyone wrong.

He wants to show everyone that having this disease isn’t going to stop him from doing what he loves, and that if anything having this disease has made him a better. Fox has taught his 3 kids everything they need to know to guiding the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which has so far raised more than $350 million toward continuing research for a Parkinson’s cure. Although he is funding research for the cure, he isn’t doing all of this to be cured himself. He mentioned that he wouldn’t wish for his life to have been any different -“I just don’t tell myself that I can’t do it,” he says. “Then I just do it. A show is easier to regulate than life. There’s no surprises, really.

You know what you have to do in a given day, and you rest and medicate accordingly. I’m shocked at how much easier this is than I thought it would be. ” (Hiatt, pg. 1) Although he’s handling his disease well now, when he was first diagnosed that was not the case. He had issues dealing with everything that had hit him and he turned to alcohol for an escape for quite some time. 2 Luckily, he found himself and started back on the right track with his wife and children. Looking for an escape from reality is such a common thing, especially in our world today.

We are constantly hearing stories of people getting caught with drugs, drinking while driving, smoking, etc. Dealing with new information like being diagnosed with Parkinson’s is very difficult. With all of the social negativity about people with different types of diseases it puts an extra burden on the experiencer’s back and makes them feel as though they aren’t “normal”. It was mentioned in the article that a man who had Parkinson’s never came out of his house, and I think this sadly happens a lot more often than we even realize.

Pity is something that is so prevalent in today’s society and we often find ourselves feeling bad for others, although we don’t even know if they feel bad about it themselves. In time, I think pity begins to make most people begin to feel bad for themselves even though they didn’t before. People who have these diseases don’t need people to feel bad and pity them because all that does is make it worse. “People look at me,” he says, “and have fear and sadness in their eyes, which they think they’re seeing reflected back at them. They wouldn’t see what I’m really feeling, which is, ‘I’m OK! ” (Hiatt, pg. 2) Fox sums up exactly what I’m sure so many people feel like each day.

The sense of this all stems from something that I really loved about Fox’s article, how he stated that everyone thinks they don’t want their own problems until they’re faced with someone else’s and they realize that 3 maybe their life wasn’t so bad after all. “The point is, we all have our bag of hammers. We all have our own shit. It’s like the parable about this circle of people and everyone takes their worst problem and puts it in the middle and they all get to choose one to take back – and they all end up choosing their own. ” (Hiatt, pg.1).

This point struck me in that it is so true, and if people could sit back and realize this maybe they would be a lot more grateful for the life they live. To learn from your mistakes and struggles and turn your problems into lessons and something that can make you a stronger and better person, like Fox did so himself. “Mike has always had a dark side. It’s one of the things that makes him so funny. And those ghosts and those demons are part of what he overcame in getting sober and turning himself into an even bigger saint than he was in America’s eyes. ” (Hiatt, pg. 4).

Fox has taken his positive outlook on his situation and disease and put that energy into doing what he loves and never giving up. He chose to learn from his disease and how to cope with his symptoms in a way that became comfortable to him. It’s important for people to take from this article that people with different types of diseases like Parkinson’s don’t hate their life and just because they have a disease doesn’t mean they are any different from each and every one of us. They should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin enough to come out of their house, without having anyone look down upon them or pity them.

Fox said “Because I wouldn’t have gone through what I’ve gone through and I wouldn’t have had the experience I’ve had, and I can still do my shit. ” (Hiatt, pg. 5) I think this article perfectly 4 stated his experiences and struggles with Parkinson’s disease and how he was able to get where he is today. The symptoms continue day by day, but so does his strive to still do what he loves and that is what’s most important. References Hiatt, B. (2013). Michael J. Fox: The Toughest Man on TV. Rolling Stone.

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