Monday, June 18, 2012

Follow Up Read-Worth Fighting For by Lisa Niemi Swayze

Back on March 1, 2010 I blogged a book review for the audio recording of Patrick Swayze's autobiography, The Time of My Life. I was very  moved listening to Patrick's story, especially knowing that he had recorded his memoirs in the final weeks of his life.

Two years later and almost 3 years after Patrick's death from pancreatic cancer, his wife Lisa has written her story of Patrick's fight against cancer and their life together. Once I started reading Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward, I couldn't put it down and finished it within a few days. Lisa's honest and emotional retelling of Patrick's diagnosis, his strength during the brutal treatments, his final TV series (The Beast, filmed here in Chicago in 2008) and his last days is inspiring but very sad.

Lisa was Patrick's wife of over 30 years, his business partner and in the end, his full time caregiver. Upon Patrick's diagnosis, he was given weeks to live but lived for 20 months, largely in part to the sheer will of his spirit and the dedication to his medical care from doctors in California and Chicago. But it was Lisa who learned how to care for him, how to research new treatments, and how to keep him comfortable. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the evolution of their marriage from lovers and partners to fighters, their only goal was to keep him alive.

What I wanted more of...the Moving Forward portion of the book. There is only one chapter written after Patrick's death and a short Epilogue, not nearly enough on how Lisa is doing or in fact how she is coping without her partner of 34 years. Maybe it's too soon. Maybe that will be in yet another book. Until she is ready to share those stories, this book tells of the 2 years they fought cancer together and like their first book is a true love story.

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