Award-winning actor Alan Alda — who disclosed in June he has been living with Parkinson's disease (PD) for several years — sat down and chatted with Michael J. Fox for the Season Two premiere of Alda's "Clear + Vivid" podcast, available to download here.
In this casual conversation about their individual experiences with Parkinson’s, Michael and Alan swap stories about the similarities and differences in their shared disease, including anecdotes about acting out dreams as a symptom of PD. (Read a recent "Ask the MD" blog on this topic for more information on REM sleep behavior disorder.)
The actors (and friends) also talk about how they disclosed their diagnosis with family and friends and tactics for managing symptoms. A key personal philosophy held by both Michael and Alan is to live in the present. Michael elaborates:
"What I don't do — what I think the key is, and I sense that you don't do this either, because I think it's deadly, is to project. Is to think about where it's going. It's okay to understand where it is today, but I don't have to spend a whole lot of time where it's going to be tomorrow."
Alan also discussed the importance of bringing awareness to the disease to change public perception:
"So many people have said to me, especially in the beginning, 'I'm so sorry.' Well, that's nice I appreciate that, but I can hear that it's coming from a place of belief that the world has just come to an end. The world might come to an end eventually, but it hasn't come to an end yet."
Finally, Alan and Michael talk about the Foundation's work in Parkinson's clinical research. Spoiler alert: Alan may be the newest study volunteer to join Fox Insight, The Michael J. Fox Foundation's online clinical study. (Learn more at FoxInsight.com.)
Download the free podcast to listen to the entire conversation by clicking here.