More than a year after Patrick Swayze succumbed to pancreatic cancer, his wife still shudders at the thought of how the media tossed gasoline on her tragedy by fabricating tales of the star’s condition.
Interviewed on The Stupid Cancer Show, Lisa Niemi recalls the heartbreaking 22 months she spent helping Patrick fight for his life after his July 2007 diagnosis.
“They were pretty much killing him off every other week,” Lisa, who was married to the Dirty Dancing star for 34 years, tells hosts Matthew Zachary and Lisa Bernhard of the tabloids.
“I was giving him tearful goodbyes, he was lapsing, and they were showing photos of his father and sister’s grave with an arrow pointing to where Patrick wanted to be buried—which was not true.
“This was like every other week. Here they are putting on this national- and international-level kind of news, and it wants to rob you of that hope.
“The news tries to rob you of that hope. And hope is the most precious thing you have to hold on to.”
Lisa, an actress and dancer who co-starred in 1987’s Steel Dawn and 2003’s One Last Dance with Patrick, after choreographing John Travolta in 1980’s Urban Cowboy, also opens up about coping with the one-year anniversary—Sept. 14—of Patrick’s passing.
“Frankly, it was really hard. And a lot of these anniversaries, it’s more the anticipation of it coming that’s the worst thing. The actual day is not so bad.
“This one was a little harder than that. It just kind of made it all fresh. It just made it feel like I lost him only yesterday or last week.
“But I have to say, about a week later I’m starting to come back again.”
She also recalls getting through this past year without Patrick.
“I could go out and function, but I would pay for it later,” says Lisa, whose memoir, The Time of My Life, was published last year, and who currently serves as a spokesperson for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
“I’d be knocked out for a few days. When I repainted my bedroom, I had to move everything out of my bedroom and I’d carry one thing out, and then I’d have to sit and rest for 20 minutes.
“Not that I won’t be at some point again, but for the most part I’ve gotten past that kind of being knocked down.”
Click here to hear Lisa Niemi Swayze’s full interview.
Click here to learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.