I remember, maybe you remember seeing Michael J. Fox when he was an exceptionally good-looking, successful actor in TV series "Family Ties,"and "Spin City," and became an international star in the "Back to the Future Trilogy," "The Hard Way," "Doc Hollywood," "The Secret of My Success," "Bright Lights, Big City," and "The American President."
Wham! Fate, bad luck (whatever you call it) hit him.
Age 29, in 1991 Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, an incurable, progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. He didn't disclose his condition to the public till 1998. He partly retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened.
These photos indicate how it changed the way he looked.
In January, the New York Times said, "Fox has had a remarkably successful second act. After going public with his Parkinson's diagnosis in 1998. he's raised 800 million to combat the disease. He's written three best selling books, despite Parkinson's physical limitations, has performed important roles in a string of hit TV shows, and has a famously happy family life."
Now, at 57, Michael says, "I'd developed a relationship with Parkinson's where it left me areas I could still flourish in."
That changed last year. He developed a spinal problem that required surgery and extensive rehab. He largely recovered, only to fall at home in August and fracture his ankle. He says, "Those setbacks brought places where I wondered was it false hope I'd been selling? Is there a line beyond which there is no consolation?" Dealing with when he couldn't walk, had health aides 24 hours a day--Michael remembers asking himself if he was still able to tell himself, "Hey, chin up!"
"Yes"was his answer.
Friends, readers, grab what you can from this. Michael J. Fox sees each day through lens of optimism, and takes on a day with--not just hope--but a very strong, exceptionally strong flow of positive thoughts.
He says of his life, "If the worse I've had is as bad as it gets,it's been amazing."
NEW! ... Emily Frankel and John Cullum offer lively, provocative video commentary on YouTube once a week. Click image above to go.
HOW I GOT HERE
I'm a writer, writing things that haven't brought me fame, but continue to involve me, inspire me to find an audience.
I started out as a modern dancer, contemporary, but balletic. I didn't want to be a swan, or a barefoot dancer. I wanted to dance to the music that thrilled me as a child, and made me want to be a dancer.
I began writing in the truck my first husband, Mark Ryder and I bought, in order to carry our set, props, and costumes for a long one-night-stands tour -- eighty-eighty performances in eighty-eight cities.
We were performing "Romeo and Juliet" nightly, but our marriage was breaking up. Every day while our stage manager drove us two-hundred miles or so to the next booking, I'd type a detailed description of last night -- what we did well, what we argued about, and a travelogue about the town, and comments from the people at the nightly party.
Recovering from the trip and the divorce, I sent my "car book" to a friend who said -- "Em, it's great, but ..." And that became rewrites, and another book. Then, my marriage to actor John Cullum, and then a play that got produced, and another book, big hopes because a famous agent loved it. The title and concept changed five times -- now it's been published, finally, as "Somebody, Woman of the Century." You can buy it, or read about it and my other five novels on Emily Frankel.com