Thursday, March 1, 2012

Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss and Moving Forward; Lisa Niemi Swayze


Author:  Lisa Niemi Swayze
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Edition: hardcover
Source: Library
Date Completed: 3/1/2012
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

Ever since I first found out Patrick Swayze had pancreatic cancer, I began to read everything that I could find about his life, and his illness.  I totally enjoyed the book he and Lisa wrote: The Time of My Life, which told the story of their 34-year marriage, and touched somewhat of his battle with cancer.  Having lost (2) loved ones to pancreatic cancer, I've witnessed first-hand how awful and just how hopeless everyone feels when a loved one gets the diagnosis Swayze received.  Swayze's battle was a long and hard fought one, lasting (21) months from the time he was diagnosed with Stage IV in January of 2008. He died in September of 2009.

In this book, listed under biography / autobiography, Lisa Niemi Swayze details her husband's cancer battle, his debilitating on-going treatments, and constant changes in treatment plans when one plan was no longer working.  We not only learn about what Patrick went through, but what it was like for Lisa, a dedicated caregiver, to watch the man she loved for 30+ years to become weaker and weaker and no longer even resemble the man she had spent her life with. The details about the illness were very painful to read at times, especially what his final weeks and days were like.  When things were at their worst, she speaks of the strength that comes to you in situations like this that you never imagined you possessed.  Her courage and commitment to him during his illness, is testament to the power of the human spirit.

Her story seems brutally honest, as she shares with the reader the happy times they had, surprises along the way, and other personal facts that I hadn't be aware of before.  She also details the rocky periods of their marriage when her husband's drinking was out of control, they separated, and she was uncertain as to whether their marriage could even he saved.  Especially touching was the epilogue where is writes about her life one year and eight months after Patrick's death; it seemed very heartfelt. This book is not for everyone, but I was very happy I read it.

"I tell you, I am a different person now.  One who has been thrown into the fire and forged."

26 comments:

  1. This sounds like an incredibly heart wrenching read. I would for sure have to be in a certain frame of mind to read this.

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    1. I would not recommend that someone with a terminally ill loved one reads this until after their loved one has passed. TMI, perhaps.

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  2. I've always been a big fan of Patrick Swayze's. I imagine one day I'll read this although not quite yet. I never knew him and yet through all the years of watching him in movies it made his death such a loss. Great review Diane - very heartfelt.

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    1. It was a great loss of a man way to young (my age)...:)

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  3. Hi Diane,

    That's two people off my blog roll who have read the book this month and both with very similar thoughts about it.

    http://notesoflife.co.uk/2012/02/worth-fighting-for-the-review/

    The interesting thing to me, was the total diversity in the cover art of the two copies of the book. Whist yours seems to show his wife thoughtful and solitary, Nikki's copy shows the traditional 'togetherness' of the husband and wife pose.

    Only you know which might be the most appropriate I guess, as this is definitely one book that I shan't be adding to my reading list, as I seldom, if ever, read memoirs.

    Nice reviews from both of you though and I enjoyed reading them.

    Hope that you are continuing to feel a little better and I hope that you have a good weekend.

    Yvonne

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    1. Yvonne, this book is definitely not for everyone. I think it might help someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. It is funny how the covers differ between countries.

      I'm not good as new yet, but feeling better than earlier in the week; thanks for the well wishes. Have a good weekend as well.

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  4. I don't think this is the right time for me to read this book. My mother-in-law is battling stage III lung cancer right now.

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    1. Kathy, nope, I'm not recommending this to anyone who currently has a loved one with cancer. After it may help though.

      So sorry about your MIL.

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  5. I so loved Swayze, and was so upset when I learned that he was ill. I would love to read this book and see how Lisa dealt with all that went on. I think that it would be helpful to my mother whose husband is losing the battle with cancer right now. Thanks for the great review on this one. I am thinking of a way I might gently suggest this book to my mom.

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    1. This might be a better book for your mom to read after her husband passes....IMO So sorry she has to deal with this terrible situation.

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  6. I really want to read this book. I've lost two loved ones to pancreatic cancer and I always admired Swayze and his wife's strength in the face of such a horrible disease.

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    1. OMG Meg, so sorry you too have lost loved ones to the terrible disease.

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  7. This must have been so hard for you to read! I read some shorter magazine articles about the two of them during his illness, but this sounds very inspirational.

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    1. I'm fine to read it now as it's been 23 years that my moms been gone and 2.5 for my brother.

      It's a good book for someone to read after the fact, as it makes you realize you are not alone.

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  8. Sounds like a great book, but I think it would make me too sad. Thanks for the review :)!

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  9. I did not know she had written a book, sad I'm sure, we miss him.

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  10. Wonderful review, Diane. We recently watched Dirty Dancing and I thought about his illness. This book sounds very touching.

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  11. I think this is one that I would like.

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  12. I think I would find this to be a difficult read but I do like reading how loved ones survive great loss and come out the other side. The quote from the epilogue is wonderful.

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  13. Wow - I did not realize they were married for that long - for a media industry professional their marriage is unheard of - and what a beautiful picture of love they had - thank you for this touching review

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  14. They are one of the few Hollywood couples that seemed like they had a real marriage. What a difficult time for both of them. I'm sure she feels quite lost.

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  15. I don't think I could read this. I think it sounds good but it would just make me too sad and I don't have the energy for that right now!

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