From Patrick Swayze’s widow—the moving, New York Times bestselling account of grief, loss, caregiving, and moving on, with touching stories from their final months together.
When Lisa Niemi first exchanged vows with Patrick Swayze, she promised to be with her husband “till death do us part.” But how many couples stop and think about what that truly means?
Worth Fighting For is both a candid tribute to a marriage and a celebration of the healing power that each day holds, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Lisa shares the details of Patrick’s twenty-one-month battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, and she describes his last days, when she simply tried to keep him comfortable. She writes with heartbreaking honesty about her grief in the aftermath of his death and openly discusses the challenges that the years without him have posed. Her story is an emotionally honest and unflinching depiction of loss, but it is also a hopeful and life-affirming exploration of the power of the human spirit. “I tell you, I am a different person now,” she writes, “one who has been thrown into the fire and forged.”
Niemi's previous memoir, co-written with husband Patrick Swayze (The Time of My Life), appeared just after his death from pancreatic cancer, in 2009, and elaborates on his dancing and acting career (Dirty Dancing, etc.) and the couple's long, tight-knit marriage, since 1975. This work essentially delineates his sudden diagnosis in January 2008, and the tenacious struggle the two underwent to try to prolong his life sometimes with experimental treatment, as the cancer was aggressive and had no cure. A large tumor on his pancreas was blocking the drainage of his stomach, so that Swayze also had a hard time eating; because of the advanced nature of the disease, he was not a candidate for a "cyberknife" procedure or radiation, but he did finally qualify for a Stanford University trial study employing the new drug PTK, also called Vatalanib, along with an IV chemotherapy administered once a week. Yet the cancer continued its debilitating course, and as the news of his illness spread around the world, it created a deluge of well-wishers as well as importunate inquiries. Niemi writes movingly of trying to keep a positive outlook, staying organized with drugs, treatments, and foods for her husband, employing relatives as helpers and researchers, and, most of all, using the time she and Swayze had left together to enjoy and appreciate each other. It's a heartfelt account, both brave and honorable.
Lisa had remarkable strength, and should be incredibly proud and thankful that she had the most amazing love and life with Patrick. Patrick is to be admired for his undeniable tenaciousness in life and approaching death. A fabulous book, and a beautiful beautiful couple.