Wednesday, April 08, 2009

April 8, 2009 - Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox was the guest on Monday’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I watched it a day later on our DVR.

Fox, of course, is a Parkinson’s Disease survivor. I found him inspiring. Take a look and see for yourself:

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I was struck by the fact that Michael kept his 1991 diagnosis secret for seven years. Undoubtedly, that was a tough time for him. He was one of the hottest talents in Hollywood, but he was leading a secret life as a chronic-disease patient. The knowledge of his slowly-worsening situation was hanging over his head.

Fox tells how he went a little crazy during those years – drinking too much, that sort of thing. But then, he came to a point where he grew comfortable with his diagnosis. He stopped fighting it. He learned to go with the flow. I wonder if that coincided with his going public with his medical situation?

It’s always tough to live a lie. Little by little, it tears you up inside. I’ve never regretted going public with my cancer diagnosis, as soon as I was sure that’s what it was.

I could relate to these words of his: “Once you accept it and fix it in space and say, ‘This is this and it’s not anything else and it’s not going to go away any time soon, and you're going to have to deal with it’ then you open up to all the stuff that’s around it and say, ‘Wow, this gives me an opportunity to help people out, this gives me an opportunity to look at things in a way that I might not have looked at them before...’”

Fox even gave voice to the cancer survivor’s mantra, at one point: “It is what it is.” How many times have I heard people with cancer say that?

Note it, and move on.

There’s a kind of strength that comes from facing our life-situation honestly, and trying to live as resolutely as we can in the present. It does little good to pine for our pre-diagnosis days, nor does it help us to obsess about the future. The art of living with a chronic disease lies in living in the now.

Accept it. Fix it in space, as Fox says. Admit, “This is this and it’s not anything else and it’s not going to go away.” Then, go searching for the blessings that are still around: and there are many.

Thanks, Michael. You’re a great example for all of us.


Ronni Gordon said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's good to be reminded about all of the things that he (and you) point out. It's so easy to get caught up in looking back and in worrying about the future. Practice, practice!

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Pastor,
Thanks for this post. I'm sure I'll reread it a few times this week.
Wishing you a peaceful, meaningful and joyous holiday.
With hope, Wendy