This picture was taken for Time Magazine several years ago by Ben Baker. It was inserted into an article regarding Fox’s fight for research for Parkinson’s.
I was looking up articles on Fox, always fascinated with him as I watched him grow and go from Family Ties to Back to the Future to now – living and breathing a disease that changed his life. And mine.
MJF was diagnosed at the age of 30 and while I was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 45, it actually began at 31 or before, when it was misdiagnosed as Lupus, with the possibility of it “becoming a more definitive diagnosis of something else”.
Looking at this picture of Fox, I see myself so clearly. Looking like a normal 47 year old human being, yet in a corner with a disease, a diagnosis, a turn in the path that was unexpected. You are young and yet you feel so much older than you look and at the same time, you can look so much older than you feel. At least in your head!
Michael’s hand holds him balanced as he sits on the floor. As I look at his hand, I see stiffness, rigidity and a hand that has a mind of its own. It looks like a hand that has been a victim of a stoke to me, but as far as I know, he hasn’t had one of those. He has Parkinson’s Disease and his hand looks like mine feels.
I sometimes feel lost in a corner, lost in the world with a disease I’m not quite sure what to do with . A disease that leaves me sometimes wanting to hide in a hole. Tired, hurting, uncertain – wanting to find refuge where someone might understand for supports sake and not pity. Looking for a corner where a friend might be found.
I look at this picture of Michael and I see strength and determination. Qualities I hope to possess. The quality of strength that endures and fights and a determination that presses on and never quits or gives up. A calm and gentleness that says “I understand” and determines that to quit is never an option.
And yet, the tiredness that comes with Parkinson’s Disease is obviously evident in this photograph. A tiredness that says the pain is real. The medications are tiring. The fight is draining.
The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s all there. In that picture. The picture of a thousand thoughts. A thousand feelings. A thousand words.