Sun. May 28th, 2023

Patrick Swayze died lower than two years after he was identified with pancreatic most cancers, a jolt that put the highlight on a illness that grows silently and might kill rapidly.

The actor’s spouse, Lisa Niemi Swayze, was by his aspect till his dying in 2009 on the age of 57.

She says she nonetheless feels his presence day-after-day.

“His voice is in my head. He feedback on what I’m doing. After I want a bolstering up or one thing’s happening, I can ask him in my head, and I hear precisely what he’s saying, which is usually, ‘Come on, lady, get actual,’” Niemi Swayze, 66, tells

“Simply because any person’s gone doesn’t finish your relationship with them. We spent 34 years collectively, and that’s at all times going to be part of my life and who I’m.”

The couple married in 1975 when she was 18 and Swayze was 23.

Patrick and Lisa Swayze on their marriage ceremony day. (Courtesy Lisa Niemi Swayze)

Fame got here later when he turned the star of “Soiled Dancing” and “Ghost.” His most cancers prognosis in late 2007 shocked the world.

Niemi Swayze continues to lift consciousness concerning the illness with the Pancreatic Most cancers Motion Community, giving her help for occasions such because the group’s PurpleStride, a fundraising stroll happening on Saturday, April 29.

“I nonetheless care and I understand how powerful Patrick’s and my journey was with this,” she says. “Most cancers might have taken him, but it surely didn’t beat him. And I’m persevering with his combat for him.”

Niemi Swayze, who remarried in 2014 and lives on a horse ranch in Florida, shared her story with

What had been Patrick’s first signs?

He got here to me and he mentioned, “Do my eyes look yellow?”

He had some digestive issues — ache that wouldn’t go away.

Nevertheless it was largely the yellow eyes that despatched us to the physician. He mentioned, “Oh, we’ll go in subsequent week.” However I assumed, “Yellow eyes simply doesn’t sound regular. We have to go tomorrow.” We went to the physician and the second he checked out him and noticed what was happening, he despatched us instantly for a CT scan.

Then we had a grueling 24 hours to attend whereas we received the experiences again. It was a very powerful time. Your life simply activates a dime.

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Had you and he ever heard of pancreatic most cancers?

I didn’t know a lot about it, however he did.

He had an endoscopic process to confirm it. The docs had given me the information, however Patrick was nonetheless fairly drugged up from the process, and I didn’t be ok with saying something to him.

I wakened within the hospital room, and the physician was sitting in there speaking to him. As quickly because the physician left the room, he checked out me and mentioned, “I’m a useless man.”

Quite a lot of docs at the moment simply mentioned, “Sorry, put together your self for the top.” However after all, that wasn’t what we had been going to do.

We referred to as ourselves practical optimists. There’s at all times a miracle, at all times the one that breaks by. I mentioned, “Why not you?”

We fought it for so long as his physique may. It was a tricky journey, but it surely was value it. Whenever you love somebody and so they’re on this Earth with you, each second is valuable. Each little bit of combat we did was value it for that additional time.

Patrick and Lisa Swayze. (Courtesy Lisa Niemi Swayze)

How did Patrick determine to go public along with his prognosis?

I feel Patrick would have most popular to have stored his battle very personal.

He went out and shot a complete TV collection when he was preventing pancreatic most cancers, which was extraordinary as a result of he was placing in 14 hours a day, 5 days per week and getting chemo on the weekend. As we are saying in Texas, he was kicking butt and taking names. Simply wonderful energy and perseverance.

As soon as folks came upon about his prognosis, it was actually thrust into the highlight. It has introduced quite a lot of consideration to this illness that actually wants nice consideration. It has one of many lowest survival charges, the therapy may be very, very troublesome. There’s no significant early detection, which is one thing that actually has to alter.

Patrick fought a really powerful and lengthy battle. If his battle has helped anyone else, it could be an absolute honor for him.

What’s your recommendation to caregivers?

I’m a reasonably powerful gal. I’m from a protracted line of Finns, and we’re very powerful and we are able to hold in there.

However on the similar time, because the caregiver, if I had been doing it once more — and it’s very laborious since you care a lot — you’ve received to care for your self, too.

Discover a strategy to give your self breaks and nourish your self. If any person came visiting and was watching him, I’d go to TJ Maxx and store for 2 hours. I’d go purchase my $12 shirt and take a look at and I used to be good to go.

It’s fantastic in the event you’re capable of discuss to any person, particularly people who find themselves going by an identical scenario as you. There will be quite a lot of anger and existential angst, significantly on the affected person.

I discuss to girls who’ve been by the identical factor and their husbands received extraordinarily indignant — it was actually troublesome. I’d encourage somebody to take one another’s palms, look one another within the eye and undergo it collectively.

As a result of for Patrick and myself, it was so clear that nothing else mattered besides the love that we had between us.

Patrick and Lisa Swayze. (Courtesy Lisa Niemi Swayze)

How are you doing at this time?

It’s been fairly a journey being with out him as a result of we just about spent all our grownup life collectively.

I felt like I used to be 17 years outdated yet again and studying find out how to reside once more as a result of I’d by no means not been a part of a pair. It was a really troublesome transition. It’s like shedding an arm and a leg and having to learn to stroll and performance yet again whilst you’re in terrific ache.

I are usually a don’t-mind-about-me-I-can-handle-it sort of individual, and that doesn’t work nicely while you’re coping with actually extraordinary traumatic occasions.

What’s your recommendation about discovering love once more after shedding a partner to sickness?

Be open. I can’t inform you what number of widows say, “I’m by no means going to get married once more. I’m by no means promoting this home.” And you realize what? You do it while you’re prepared and never a second earlier than.

An individual wrote in to me mentioned, “Whenever you’ve been in a profitable relationship or marriage, how may you not need that in your life once more?”

After I fell in love with Albert (DePrisco), I used to be speaking to certainly one of my different widow pals and I mentioned, “I like Albert, but it surely has nothing to do with my love for Patrick. It doesn’t have an effect on that in any respect.”

Love doesn’t cease simply because somebody has left this Earth. It’s nonetheless there.

This interview was edited and condensed for readability.

This text was initially printed on

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