Oprah: That's profound.

Michael: So that night at the concert when the lights went out, I felt great because my pills had kicked in. Tracy and I were holding hands in the dark as the band was playing, and we were groovin'. I said to Tracy, "This is the difference in my life now, as opposed to a few years ago. A few years ago I would have said, 'God, I just want my pills to work until the lights go out—and after that I won't care, because no one will see me.' Now I say, 'I don't care if the pills aren't working when the band's not playing. But when the band comes on, I want to be feeling good so I can enjoy this!'" In fact, Oprah, I want to stop right now and take a pill.

Oprah: Okay. So Tracy, have you had to progressively adjust to Michael having Parkinson's?

Tracy: Absolutely. A lot of my adjustment has been dictated by Michael's point of view. He's so relaxed and so accepting of where he is, and that makes it easier for me, the kids, and everyone around him.

Oprah: Michael, when you take a pill, how does it help you?

Michael: It takes a while for it to work—like right now, I'll have to wait for the pill to kick in. Then suddenly I'll feel this energy on my left side, and my foot will start twisting around. Then the tremors will seem to push out through the bottom of my foot, and it's like my body and my mind are back together again. Then I'm good for another couple hours before I start tremoring.

Oprah: Are you comfortable sitting here talking to me?

Michael: I'm moving around a lot, but I'm comfortable. When you have Parkinson's, your body language lies. Before I went public about the disease, I'd read these interviews that journalists had done with me, and they'd write, "Michael was really nervous—he was pacing like a cat!" I wasn't nervous at all. My brain was just screwed up.

Oprah: Tracy, how did Michael first tell you he had Parkinson's?

Tracy: He just came home from the doctor and told me. Before he'd visited the doctor, we didn't think there was anything seriously wrong.

Oprah: During that time, were you still in that romantic stage of heightened delight in your marriage?

Michael: Kinda. We had a young baby....

Tracy: And up to that point, we hadn't had anything major happen. Before then, I had always been a horrible hypochondriac, and Michael had helped me through many fictional illnesses.

Oprah: Like?

Tracy: Everything! Elephantiasis—it ran the gamut.

Michael: Poor Tracy was always telling me, "I think I have this," and I'd say, "Look, you don't have that." And of course she'd always think she had an embolism on a Friday night....


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