Life After Patrick: Remembering My Husband, Patrick Swayze

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Handling Stress

LHJ How did you handle the stress?

LN You've got to recharge your batteries so you can be there for the person you're caring for. It's important to take breaks. When we had visitors, I'd go out for lunch or run errands, just to get out of the room. I knew I was going to be there for the long haul.

"He refused to accept limitations. Cancer wasn't going to tell him how to live his life."

My instinct was to handle everything by myself -- that's how I was raised. But you need to have people you can vent to. I had a couple of girlfriends I could call at 3 in the morning -- not that they'd always pick up, but just leaving a message helped me defuse the panic.

LHJ How did Patrick manage to outlive his prognosis for so long?

LN He was a tough son of a gun. But we also had such good luck -- every time we turned around, we were getting mini-miracles. He got into a clinical trial and responded well to the experimental chemotherapy. When that stopped working, he had success with other chemos. When he had a procedure to fix one problem, they found another that would have made him sicker and fixed that, too. When he got a bad infection, we just happened to be right near the hospital. Our timing was always impeccable. Or maybe it was that so many people were praying for him. It just seemed like angels were watching over us.

Continued on page 4:  Seeing the Positive


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