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‘It’s Been A Struggle But I’m Happy’: Michael J. Fox Remains Positive Despite Trials

Michael J Fox/Instagram

‘It’s Been A Struggle But I’m Happy’: Michael J. Fox Remains Positive Despite Trials

By Movieguide® Contributor

Michael J. Fox is opening up about a year filled with injuries that compounded his health struggles, but he chose to remain positive. 

Fox first received his bombshell Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1991. The disease leaves him vulnerable for other injuries and illness. In 2018, he underwent spinal cord surgery and broke his left arm. 

Yet 2022 presented even more challenges.

“I broke my cheek, then my hand, then my shoulder, had a replacement shoulder put in and broke my [right] arm, then I broke my elbow,” Fox told People. “I’m 61 years old, and I’m feeling it a little bit more.”

Though the injuries are not specifically related to Parkinson’s, the disease affects his balance, which led to the falls. 

Fox is typically a very positive person, but the actor admitted his year of recovering from injuries impacted his normally sunny outlook. 

“I was never really a cranky guy, but I got very cranky and short with people,” he explained. “I try to nip it in the bud. I always think of these aides who work with me. And I often say to them, ‘Whatever I say, just imagine I said “please” at the beginning and “thank you” at the end. Just take a second and absorb that I might have said that if I was more myself, but I didn’t, so I apologize.’ “

However, now that he is back to 100%, Fox says his outlook on life has improved.

“Just now,” he says, “I’m coming through where the last of my injuries are healing up; my arm is feeling good. Life is interesting. It deals you these things.

“The whole mission is: Don’t fall down,” he laughed. “So whatever works to not fall down, whether it’s a walker or a wheelchair, a cane, a guy with a belt around my waist holding onto it — I use all those tools.”

As his strength has returned, Fox is relying on these tools less and less; he walked unassisted across the stage for an appearance at New York Comic Con. 

“I’m just getting to where I’m walking steadily again,” Fox shared. “I think it’s cool to walk by myself. It is. It’s fantastic.”

Fox and his family — wife Tracy Pollan and their four children, Sam, 33, twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, 27, and Esmé, 21 — are continuing to take things one day at a time as they support each other.  

“It took me a while to get that it wasn’t just about me,” Fox explained. “If I break my arm, I’m dealing with my broken arm. But if you’re the person who lives with and loves and supports the person with the broken arm, you’ve got to do everything.” 

He continued, “My youngest [children] never knew me without Parkinson’s. Sam was 2 or 3 when I was diagnosed. So they never knew anything else. And there’s a certain latitude you have to give someone who has Parkinson’s. You can choose how nice to be and how much to do — and how much to know not to do. That’s all about empathy.”

Fox is glad to turn the page on this difficult year, but is grateful for the joy he finds in his family and friends. 

“It’s been a struggle, but I’m happy,” he shared. “I say that because I hope on some level people can find happiness in spite of what they’re going through.”