Oprah: Tracy, was there ever a time when you said, "This isn't what I bought into"?
Tracy: Definitely, but that was more of a day-to-day thought rather than a stepping back to say, "Whoa, this isn't what I want in my life."
Oprah: That's because you knew you would always be with him.
Michael: Through it all, we've loved each other....
Tracy: And that love never died. We had a solid foundation to begin with.
Oprah: Michael, I read that there was a time when you knew Tracy had bought in for the long run.
Michael: There were a lot of questions I was afraid to ask Tracy, like "Does it scare you that I'm sick? Do you not love me because I'm sick?" I didn't ask her those questions.
Oprah: You were saying to yourself, "Why would she want to be with me?"
Michael: Yes, but nothing Tracy was doing was showing me that she didn't want to be with me.
Tracy: Any time I would say to myself, "This isn't what I bought into," it wasn't about Michael being sick. It was about his doubting and the behavior that came out of that fear.
Michael: Once I got a doctor and really started thinking about my situation, it was like boom!—a second honeymoon.
Oprah: The truth will set you free every time.
Michael: In a sense, I kind of went away to deal with the Parkinson's myself. And though I was present in our everyday lives...
Oprah: You withdrew.
Michael: Right. I just took my carcass back into my cave and scratched at it for a bit, and when I popped my head up again in 1994, Tracy was like, "I've been waiting for you." That's when we decided to have more kids—and then we got twins. It was as if we were being told, "Listen, don't worry about loss and timing. That will be taken care of."
Oprah: Michael, I've read that your children call you Shaky Dad. How much do they know about the disease?
Michael: When our oldest child, Sam, was about 4, we started playing a game where I showed him how to short-circuit my tremors—if you occupy yourself with an activity, it stops the shaking for a certain amount of time. If Sam saw my "wiggly hand," he'd grab my finger and thumb so he could stop it. He'd then count to five and let go before grabbing it again. So we had a connection, which has continued. He's a frighteningly bright kid, so now we talk about the disease in specific ways. He probably knows more about it than I do.
We Hear You!