I know it may sound kind of strange. I have never met Michael J. Fox or had any kind of communication with him, but it’s true. I feel incredibly grateful to him for getting me through a terribly difficult time, and continuing to help me without even knowing it.
When I was first diagnosed, it was a relief. I felt validated. I felt that now that I had a name for this awful condition, I would get treatment and things would improve. Well, the joke was on me. Soon afterwards, I began to feel worse. I felt down, hopeless and disappointed with myself.
All I could think about was how this was it for me now. I was to live with chronic pain, fatigue and a bunch of other equally horrible symptoms forever. I knew that I was lucky to have great support from my hubby, parents and sister, but I still felt such a deep sadness.
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At the time my mobility was starting to become affected, but I was still able to walk short distances as long as I held on to my husband and my stick.
One day, we decided to go into a nearby city to do some shopping and have lunch. The night before, something almost unheard of happened – I had a dream. Not only that, it was so vivid that I remembered it in great detail the next day.
In my dream, I was in a book shop and I came face to face with Mr. Fox. Well, his photo anyway. It was black and white and on the cover of his autobiography. Handsome too!
Now, I must have woken about then because I have no recollection of whether my dream-self bought the dream-book, but it was interesting to me because I don’t usually dream. Also, although I like Michael J. Fox, I have never been the obsessed fangirl type and had never dreamed about him prior to this night. All of these facts made me certain that the universe was sending me a sign. I truly believe that this type of thing happens when we most need it to. However, I had no clue what that sign was trying to tell me, and I had no idea that Michael had actually written a book in real life!
After I recalled my dream to my husband the next day as we were getting ready, we both proceeded to forget all about it and went shopping. Since I am slightly in love with books, we inevitably found ourselves browsing a lovely big book shop for literary treats. The hubster and I turned a corner and straight ahead of us was Michael J. Fox smiling at us from the black and white cover of his autobiography.
I’m sure you don’t need to ask if I bought the book!
The title of his book is “Lucky Man.” As I began to read it, I was at first caught up in the beautiful prose and the easy going humor of his writing. He discusses in detail his Parkinson’s diagnosis and how it affected himself and his loved ones. (I won’t reveal any specific details because I hope you will go on to read it yourself.) However, the way he and his wife came out of the other side with such grace and humility really touched my heart. Then I learned of the work they have done since with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. It’s truly an inspiring story.
Although we have two different conditions, it felt as though I was reading from the heart of someone who understood. Feeling like you’re not alone and that someone else gets it is such a gift when you are struggling and feeling like your soul will never stop hurting.
So, I owe Mr. Fox a heartfelt “thank you” because by sharing his words and his story, he showed me a way through the darkness.
If you haven’t read this wonderful book, I highly recommend it.
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Photo courtesy of The Michael J. Fox Show Facebook page