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Patrick Swayze’s widow opens up about the star’s fight against cancer

This Morning: Dr Zoe explains symptoms of pancreatic cancer

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This year would have been Patrick Swayze’s 70th birthday, which cut Lisa deeply. Remembering back to a “beautiful day” when the couple were walking on their ranch in New Mexico, Lisa recalls Patrick grabbing her hand. “His eyes glistened and he said, ‘I want to live,'” Lisa told Good Morning America.

“I know that everybody else out there that is dealing with this disease, and their families, feel exactly the same.”

In the heartbreaking chat on November 28, 2022, Lisa thinks back to Patrick’s “gruelling” battle with cancer.

Lisa described the 22 months from his diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer to death as “tough”.

While Patrick put up a “determined fight” against the deadly disease, he “did not want to become the poster boy for cancer”.

“I used to always say, particularly with the kinds of roles that Patrick liked to play, he always liked to be the hero,” Lisa added.

“I always said, ‘You give him a sword, a cape and a horse and he’s a happy man.’

“But I tell you what, when it came to him fighting his illness, this disease, you really saw he really was a hero.”

Diagnosed in January 2008, Patrick died the following year in 2009 at the age of 57; and 34 years of those, he was married to Lisa.

“Just because Patrick passed on… didn’t mean that fight was over, and I was carrying that on for him,” Lisa said about raising awareness of the signs of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer signs, as confirmed by the NHS:

  • The whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow (jaundice), and you may also have itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • A high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo
  • Pain at the top part of your tummy and your back, which may feel worse when you’re Eating or lying down and better when you lean forward
  • Symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated.

“Grief really sucks,” Lisa shared. “And [it’s] very difficult to deal with.”

“As time goes on, it never goes away. It’s kind of like a wound and it heals over, but there’s always that scar,” she added.

“And it may not be as visible, but it’s always there and you never know when it will raise its head again.”

While this year was particularly triggering for Lisa, she has an optimistic viewpoint on having a loss that can still pierce your heart 13 years later.

“I’ve learned to take the good with the bad,” Lisa began. “And, you know, the bad parts are the price of having a wonderful, great love.

“And I’ll take that any day of the week. I’d do it all over again.”

Lisa fondly remembers Patrick as a “truly courageous, humble, loving, determined [and] strong” person.

Patrick Swayze starred as the leading man in Dirty Dancing, which is showcasing on Saturday, December 3 on Channel 5 at 6.20pm.

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