The late Patrick Swayze left behind a powerful memoir that will give his fans a window into the nightmare of what life was like once the actor found out he had pancreatic cancer.
“When my doctor at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles said the words ‘pancreatic cancer,’ a single thought popped into my mind: I’m a dead man!” Patrick said in an audio clip from “The Time of My Life,” which he wrote with his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, and hit bookshelves on Tuesday.
“I just stared at him in shock. I had gone in for a simple gastrointestinal procedure, then all of a sudden — surprise! You could be dead before springtime!” he continued. “Fear sliced through me. What the f*** had just happened? I had been so excited about the upswing my life was on. Now it all seemed like a cruel joke. I couldn’t be dying…I had too much to live for! I just couldn’t face the idea that life as I’d always known it was over, that there was a disease inside me that would grow and mutate and eventually kill me. I didn’t know where I would find the strength to deal with it.”
The actor — who will be remembered in a private memorial service on Sunday at Sony Studios in Los Angeles — also revealed his wife’s devastation with the diagnosis.
“After the surgeon left, she just broke down and cried, she crawled into the hospital bed with me and buried her head in my neck said, ‘I can’t do this buddy, I can’t do it - you can ask me for anything else, but just don’t ask me to do this.’ I held her tightly and we wept together,” Patrick said in another except from his memoir.
The late actor also delves into his feelings of despair and resentment surrounding his cancer diagnosis.
“Once the shock wears off, it’s hard not to sink into bitterness, to feel that you’ve been singled out in a way that’s not fair. For me, that initial shock quickly turned to self-criticism and blame. Did I do this to myself? What could I have done differently? Is it my fault?” he continued. “I was trying to find some way to accept what was going on and a funny thing happened – I just couldn’t. I wasn’t ready to go, and I was damned if this disease was going to take be before I was good and ready.”
Patrick was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in January 2008 and underwent chemotherapy, while continuing to work a grueling acting schedule, playing FBI agent Charles Barker in the A&E drama “The Beast.” He passed away on September 14.
Swayze was 57.