Oprah: Were you frightened when you first told the world you had Parkinson's?
Michael: By the time I announced it, I had gone through seven years of dealing with it—of running from it and then stopping running from it. Once you're diagnosed you have the feeling you're predictable, because doctors can predict your prognosis. I hated being predictable, right down to the point where some Swiss woman I'd never met, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross [author of Death: The Final Stage of Growth], could say I would go through five stages of grief—denial, anger, negotiating, depression, and acceptance. And in the first seven years, I went through all five of those stages. When I made my disease public, I was ready.
Oprah: Now that everyone knows you have Parkinson's, are you ever overwhelmed by people's compassion?
Michael: Since September 11 everyone has been watching footage of people picking up strangers on the street and carrying them through the smoke and hearing about the firemen who walked into those buildings. While I've been just as blown away by this as everyone else, part of me has been thinking, I've known this side of people for years. I've seen this level of compassion and selflessness. I've seen it shown to myself and to others.
Oprah: Do you have any regrets, Michael?
Michael: What am I going to do with regrets? I only have so much time in the day. Regrets are like the word should. The only application of the word should is to say that it should not exist. The only worthwhile use for regret is to say, "In the past I did something I didn't like, and now when I'm in a similar situation, I'm going to make a different decision."
Oprah: You should write a book!
Michael: I'm thinking about it!
Oprah: Thank you both for your time.
Tracy: Thank you, Oprah.
We Hear You!