The last 10 years of my life, which is really the stuff of this book, began with such a loss: my retirement from Spin City. I found myself struggling with a strange new dynamic: the shifting of public and private personas. I had been Mike the actor, then Mike the actor with PD. Now was I just Mike with PD? Parkinson's had consumed my career and, in a sense, had become my career. But where did all of this leave me? I had to build a new life when I was already pretty happy with the old one. I'd been blessed with a 25-year career in a job that I loved. I had a brilliant, beautiful, funny, supportive wife and an expanding brood of irrepressible kids. If I had to give up any part of this, how could I possibly protect myself from losing all of it?
The answer had very little to do with "protection" and everything to do with perspective. The only unavailable choice was whether or not to have Parkinson's. Everything else was up to me. I could concentrate on the loss—rush in with whatever stopgap measures my ego could manufacture. I could rely on my old friend from the '90s, denial. Or I could just get on with my life and see if maybe those holes started filling in themselves. Over the last 10 years, they have, in the most amazing ways.
Published on March 31, 2009