During a recent appearance on Chris Jericho’s “Talk Is Jericho” podcast, Dean Malenko commented on his battle with Parkinson’s disease, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On dealing with Parkinson’s disease: “What happened was I’m 60 years old, so they say that usually around 60 is the age that you start to get it. I got it about six or seven years ago. About a year ago, I was at Starrcast in Chicago, and I was asked to do a Q&A session with Tony Schiavone. I got a little nervous and a little scared because I was going to be out in front of people. I haven’t really been in front of crowds a lot, of course at work, but that’s a different environment. But you get nervous sometimes because you don’t want people to know what you got, you’re trying to hide it.
“Parkinson’s is a very difficult thing to cover up. It looks like you’re freezing cold, or you’re drinking, and I don’t want people to think that. That’s one of the reasons why I asked you to do this [podcast]. That day when I started talking, I realized the microphone was really light. What I mean by that is things that are very light, like silverware, if there’s no weight to it, I will shake more. It’s very interesting the way all that works. So, I had the people there to get me a stand, so I didn’t have to use my hands. I almost felt like Stevie Wonder leaning in on the piano. I just blurted out, ‘Damn Parkinson’s.’ And a couple of people caught it. It got onto social media and ran a little bit, but nothing really big.”
On the emotional and physical toll it takes on him: “Parkinson’s is one of those things where it’s a very odd disease. There’s no cure for it, and the secret is to try and find things that will slow the progression for it so you have a quality of life. My family knows about it, they have been extremely supportive. My kids don’t make a big deal about it. We have fun with it. My wife will never let me feel sorry for myself, which is really easy to do. You go through a gamut of emotions when you have it. You’re pissed off at the world. It’s the why me? What am I doing it? Then you get upset when you try to button your shirt, and you can’t do that. But I’m on pills and medication and that has been really helping as of late. It first started out with my left hand trembling, and I went to a couple of different doctors. There is no blood test, no urine test, nothing that actually says you have Parkinson’s.”
On how he approaches everyday life with Parkinson’s: “One thing I noticed was when you’re walking, one arm doesn’t swing, which is usually my left. That’s a big sign of Parkinson’s. When you are clicking your middle finger and thumb together, you are off timing. It was always my left hand, never my right. When you put all these things together, it’s pretty much, yeah, you have Parkinson’s. I was at three different doctors that acknowledged it at the same time. So, it’s been a little bit of a difficult ride. The hard part is just trying to live every day. I compare having Parkinson’s to having a roommate that never leaves. Because every morning you wake up, you have this other person with you.
“They’re not going to let you get out of bed easy, they’re going to make you shake, and it takes over your body. It can be crazy at times, but I am getting used to it. I have really tried to just laugh things off. If I’m shaking, my 15-year-old will put her hand on me and she will start shaking. Just have fun with it because there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m not going to get rid of it. It’s always going to be there. Hopefully, with modern medicine going forward, they can slow this down at one point. If not, I will deal with it whenever.”