Celebrity

Michael J. Fox Undergoes Spinal Surgery

Troab

For over two decades, Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox has been an active advocate for Parkinson's disease.

The actor was diagnosed with the progressive disease in 1992, when he was just 29 years old, but he did not reveal his health setback to the public until 1998.

"It was pretty scary," he told David Letterman. "I was 29 years old and so it was the last thing I expected to hear. I thought I'd hurt my shoulder doing some stunt because I had a twitch in my pinkie. And the doctor said 'You have Parkinson's disease.' He said, 'The good news is that you have 10 years of work left'. That was 22 years ago and I’m still working."

He continued, "I just knew I was going to have to make adjustments and I didn't know what I was gonna have to adjust to. But to be corny about it, once you accept it and you learn about it and you realize you're part of a community and you realize you're in a position to do something and to make a difference and to help, well then it's just like, quit your b***hin’ and get on with it."

Michael J. Fox holding an Emmy Award
Rolling Stone

Fox has done a number of things to help stop Parkinson's and end the stigma surrounding it. He's launched his own foundation to raise awareness and funds, and recently helped debut shoes with self-tying laces for people suffering from the condition.

Sadly, his condition has taken a toll on his ability to continue working in Hollywood at the same capacity as he used to, so the former A-lister removed himself from the limelight.

After Fox's diagnosis, he mainly worked as a voice-over actor in films and TV shows like Stuart Little, Clone High, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

In the late 00s, he made a huge comeback with his recurring role as Louis Canning on the TV drama The Good Wife.

Michael J. Fox
AOL.com

In 2013, Fox starred in a sitcom titled The Micahel J. Fox Show, which was inspired by his life and life-altering diagnosis.

Despite getting nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, the show only lasted for one season.

After wrapping up both of his shows, Fox took another break from the spotlight, but when he re-emerged, fans became concerned about his well-being.

He made a rare appearance at the 2016 U.S. Open final and made headlines for looking noticeably frail. He still took the time to pose for photos alongside his wife, Tracy Pollan.

Michael J. Fox at the 2016 U.S Open
Express.co.uk

The following year, he finally gave an interview with AARP, and shared updates about the state of his health.

However, it certainly wasn't what people were expecting to hear.

"The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can't stop laughing at my own symptoms," Fox said.

Fox clarified that he understands what his struggles look like to other people, but he wants people to stop taking pity on him because he feels great. Making light of his debilitating condition is how he copes.

Michael J Fox
The Wrap

But now, just a year after his interview, Fox has suffered another major health set back.

After cancelling two upcoming appearances at the the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in Canada, the actor's spokesperson, Leslie Sloane released a statement about Fox's health.

The actor reportedly went under spine surgery, and is said to be currently be in recovery.

“Michael J. Fox recently underwent spinal surgery unrelated to his Parkinson’s. He is recovering, feeling great, and looking forward to getting back on the golf course this summer,” Sloane told Fox News.

Aside from confirming that the operation isn't related to his Parkinson's, no other details about the risky procedure have been released.

Fox is just the latest celebrity to undergo spinal surgery.

Abby Lee Miller's emergency surgery

Last week, after experiencing "excruciating neck pain," Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller was rushed to a hospital, where she had to undergo emergency spinal surgery.

“If we didn’t do something, she was going to die. Her blood pressure was bottoming out. She was not doing well,” Dr. Hooman Melameds told People.

Abby Lee Miller
ET Online

Dr. Melamed and his team spent nearly five hours attempting relieve the pressure on her spinal cord. They had to remove parts of several vertebrae during the procedure.

They initially believed that there was an infection in Miller's spine, however, subsequent test results revealed something much worse.

Turns out, the reality TV star has non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of cancer.

“We’re getting an oncologist involved and we have to figure out what the next steps are as far as chemotherapy or radiation or more spine surgery," Dr. Melamed explained. "Depending on the tumor type, depending on the sensitivity of the tumor – it just depends the type but I feel more than yes, she will undergo chemotherapy or radiation.”
Abby Lee Miller
Life & Style

Since going under the knife, Miller has been recovering in the ICU, and said to have regained some of the sensation she lost.

Still, Dr. Melamed told the publication that only time will tell whether or not she'll be able to walk again.

As for her cancer prognosis, it's not looking too good because "there's a chance this can spread to any part of the body."

Abby Lee Miller
Splash/ Life & Style

“We don’t know where the source is," Dr. Melamed admitted. "Any tumor that spreads anywhere is automatically Stage 4, but we have not determined the stage yet.”

He added that Miller seemed "encouraged," when they last spoke, and is "optimistic now because she's feeling like she can move her arms."

This is the second time in two weeks that Miller has been hospitalized. Shortly after she was released from prison, where she was doing time for fraud charges, her thyroid condition flared up, and she had to be rushed to the emergency room in Los Angeles.

Miller was living in a halfway home and preparing for job counselling as well as a TV comeback when her health took a hit.

We're wishing both Fox and Miller a speedy recovery!

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.