Celebrity

Alan Alda Staying Strong Despite Tragic Diagnosis

CBS

Alan Alda has been a huge name in Hollywood for decades now, thanks to his Emmy Award-winning run on M.A.S.H.

He played combat doctor Hawkeye Pierce in a way that made us all fall completely head over heels in love with him.

In an interview with CBS This Morning, Alda revealed some health news that has shocked his fans.

He explained that three and a half years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

"The reason I want to talk about it in public is that I was diagnosed three and a half years ago and I've had a full life since then," he said after revealing the news.

"I've acted, I've given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast."

"And I noticed that – I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast – and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it's probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that's not where I am."

He wanted to reveal the diagnosis so that people would know that he is still the same guy, just now he's got something else to consider.

He really doesn't want people to be sad for him, but he revealed that he was the one to ask for the scan.

"I asked for the scan because I thought I might have it. I read an article in the New York Times that indicating that if you act out your dreams, there's a good chance that might be a very early symptom when nothing else shows," Alda explained.

"I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, but what I was really was doing was throwing a pillow at my wife."

Alan Alda Mash
CBS

He wasn't experiencing any other symptoms at the time, but he wanted know whether or not there was a chance he had it. He knows that his case is lucky, in that his symptoms have not become severe.

He notices a few twitches here and there, but he has recently started taking boxing lessons and keeps himself busy.

"It's common for us all to go to the worst thought. But this is a disease that's different for everyone who has it."

He admits that it's different each day, but there is stuff he can do to help him adapt. "You know how I look at it? It's like a puzzle to be solved. What do I have to adapt to carry on a normal life. I enjoy solving puzzles."

"You find a way to do it."

Alan Alda
AP Photo/Richard Drew

He hopes that because he is well known, he can help others discover the things that science is coming up with to help.

His main challenge has been keeping it quiet, because he was always concerned that the twitch would be picked up when he was in movies.

Alda is staying extremely positive through this, and when the hosts pointed out that one million people in America are suffering with Parkinson's, he said, "I've joined a fraternity."

He plans to ttalk about it more on his podcast Clear + Vivid, so if you want more details check it out soon.

We wish Alan Alda the best, and hope he continues to solve this puzzle.

Source - CBS News / USA Today

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com