I don’t go too ga-ga over celebrities.
I enjoy a good movie… and I love to tap my toe to a happy tune… but I don’t exact turn to the stars of stage and screen for life advice.
But every now and then, a celebrity story comes out and grabs my attention – and that’s exactly happened with the news of Alan Alda’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.
On its own, that’s not an earth-shattering headline. If you’re of a certain age (like I am), you’ve heard a few stories about the stars of our generation struggling with this disease – not the least of which being Neil Diamond and Linda Rondstadt.
But Alda – famously the star of the acclaimed TV show M*A*S*H – isn’t announcing his retirement. In fact, at age 82, you might say that he’s busier than ever – now adding “podcaster” to his multi-hyphenate credentials.
As someone who’s managed Parkinson’s disease for over a dozen years myself, I was interested to find out how THIS celebrity keeps going… especially when the disease has caused OTHERS to step away from the spotlight?
The actor – also known for his roles in The West Wing and The Aviator -- says it’s because he caught it early.
And I’m sure that’s part of it. I know I wish I’d known earlier. I wish I’d gotten more ahead of the game to prevent developing PD in the first place.
But my guess is that when “Hawkeye” was diagnosed three and a half years ago, he didn’t let this progressive disease scare him into stopping.
As he told CBS This Morning last week, he takes boxing lessons three times a week – an exercise that’s been shown to help PD patients, as I’ve previously shared with you right here in eTips.
But Alda’s physical activity doesn’t end there. He adds, “I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to Sousa music because marching to music is good for Parkinson's."
And that’s exactly right – find whatever works for you to stay active. March to the beat of your own drum!
Now, ol’ “Hawkeye” is still in the very early stages of Parkinson’s, which is mostly detectable at this point via a twitch in his thumb. That means that everything he’s done since his diagnosis… and everything he continues to do… will help stave off the progression of the disease.
He didn’t go into his treatment plan when he announced his diagnosis to the world – so we don’t know if he’s taking any drugs or trying out any of the new-fangled gadgets out there like I am.
I hope that he’s considering some nutritional approaches and looking for ways to reduce his toxic exposure and detoxify anything that’s already in his body. I’ve found that to be an incredibly important step toward managing my own Parkinson’s.
But he’s really on to something with how active he’s staying – which would be impressive for ANYONE at his age, Parkinson’s or no Parkinson’s!
As Alda urged followers of his Twitter account (paired alongside a video of him juggling!), “If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!”