Legendary actor and one of America’s national treasures just announced some devastating news.
Award-winning actor Alan Alda has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “I’m not angry,” he said.
“It hasn’t stopped my life at all. I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now,” Alda said as he made the announcement Tuesday on CBS This Morning.
The actor, who had prominent roles in M*A*S*H and The West Wing, said he wanted to inform people of the diagnosis he received three and a half years ago so that they are aware there are things they can do if they find out they have the disease.
Alda also said that he decided to tell the public about his neurodegenerative disorder because during recent television appearances:
“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.” He added: “That’s not where I am.”
Alda later posted a video of himself juggling, with the words, “If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!” He said he takes boxing lessons three times a week, plays tennis, and he marches to Sousa music.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is “a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement,” with symptoms beginning gradually, “sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand.”
“I’m doing great. You might be surprised to hear that. I haven’t said in public until now, that I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” Alda shared. “The reason that 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. I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast.”
Though no other symptoms presented themselves, Alda stuck to his guns and got his doctor to order a scan.
“I didn’t have any symptoms! The doctor said, ‘Why do you want a scan, you don’t have any symptoms?’ And I said, ‘I want to know if there’s anything I can do, I want to do it before things start to show up,'” he recalled. “Months later, [there was] a little twitch in my thumb.”
The actor even cracked a joke.
“I take boxing lessons 3 days a week, play singles tennis twice a week, and take a mild pill – all Dr. recommended. I even juggle a little,” he wrote. “And I’m not entering dementia. I’m no more demented than I was before. Maybe I should rephrase that. Really, I’m good.”
Watch the video below for more details:
Sources: AWM, Mayo Clinic