When Patrick was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, he was given mere months to live. A lot of people upon hearing this prognosis, would accept their fate and might sink into depression. Not Patrick. Patrick rallied his strength and determination to live well with this disease and went on to live another 20 months. This is an astonishing long time given the fate of most people who have a similar condition. Patrick worked hard filming a new tv series, The Beast, and nursing his spirit at his beautiful ranch home. Patrick was very connected to nature, which no doubt gave him some additional strength to get through his battle, and was an avid conservationist.
I really enjoyed reading Entertainment Weekly's article on Patrick's life. Specifically how they talk about his courage to battle his pain without pain-killers so that he could continue to work as "competently" as possible without the mind-fuzziness that painkillers can create. This takes a huge amount of courage, strength, energy... I can't even imagine. I know what my life is like without pain killers, it's not pleasant nor easy. When I came off all my pain meds to try to conceive, each day I felt like I was in a train-wreck. It was exhausting physically and mentally for me. Its not that I am addicted to pain meds, quite the opposite, I would rather not have to take them period. But it's that I need them in order to function. In order to be a good mother who can keep you with her children and provide for them, I need to take pain medications to have some quality of life and be able to provide a quality of life for the others I am responsible for. I couldn't imagine Patrick doing all that he did without taking pain medications. However, it does show what great lengths he went through to be able to provide for his fans, to be able to honor his contract with the television series he was filming, and likely, to provide him with something to focus on during his battle other than "just his battle".
The closing line in EW's article, a quote from Patrick himself: “Dance is a metaphor for life,” Swayze told EW in 2005. “You’re born. You peak. Your physical body goes downhill, but your spirit stays intact.” is absolutely beautiful. This quote embodies what I've felt about Patrick's battle since he shared with the world his diagnosis. He had a great spirit which soared no matter what he faced. I can only hope that wherever Patrick's spirit is now, that he is dancing and free of the pain he must have endured. Rest in Peace Patrick, your spirit will be missed here on earth as you join the legion of super-heroes.