AUSTIN (KXAN) - The beginning of this season's The Michael J. Fox Show on NBC marks a milestone for people with disabilities.
Fox has been battling Parkinson's Disease for two decades.
His decision to return to a demanding work schedule is inspiring a lot of people - including many here in Austin.
Like the character he plays on his new show, Fox's decision to go back to work was not his alone.
To what extent is this series a case of art imitating life from the standpoint of the family wanting dad out of the house?
"To my surprise they were like, don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out," Fox said. "We were waiting for this!"
It's a sign of how Fox and his family have adjusted to life with Parkinson's disease, something reflected in his new series about a TV news anchor with the condition.
"I think it's cool to do a show about a person with a disability who's absorbed it into their lives as most people with disabilities do," he said.
The average age of the onset of Parkinson's is in the mid-60s.
"Parkinson's Disease is more of a syndrome," said Dr. Robert Izor, Neurologist and affiliate member of NeuroTexas Institute at St. David's HealthCare. "Nobody knows what causes Parkinson's disease. There are several genetic defects that have been identified that can increase your risk for developing it. There are certain toxic exposures that can increase your risk for developing it."
"I never forget I have it, said 64-year old John Carchedi. "It is always with me."
Carchedi, from Georgetown, was diagnosed with Parkinson's 11 years ago and says recent surgery is helping in fight against the disease.
"That's what I noticed right away, the tremor was gone."
"I don't think Parkinson's disease has to be a depressing illness," Izor said. "It's a challenge. But it's certainly one in most patients that we can find ways to really maximize their quality of life, and that's what our goal is."
Fox remains an inspiration for Parkinson's patients, shooting 22 episodes of his new NBC series.
"I don't waste as much time, running around," Fox said. "It takes a lot of energy but it's a great experience. I'm just loving it. I can't believe that I still get to do this."
To find out about some of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, check out the links below:
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